Friday, June 29, 2012

Sixteen months and counting

One of the best things about having a blog is that you can go back to the memories you have written, be it yesterday, a week ago, a month ago, a year ago, or even several years ago. And yes, I suddenly thought of checking what I wrote a year ago.

This was my first entry for June 2011, Four months and counting. If I'm going to rewrite the title now, it's going to be "Sixteen months and counting" (which I just did). Time's so fast! It's been sixteen months already since I arrived here. Digging in to that blog entry, I listed the things that I must do in the remaining one year and eight months and now I already got through that one year. So, here's the list and let's see what I've done:

  • explore other parts of South Korea by having some out-of-town trips once a month
Explore it is! I feel like Dora the Explorer! Haha! So far, so good! I've explored many places within and outside Daegu. Daegu: Herb Hillz, Palgongsan, Daegu Stadium, Apsan, Downtown shops, areas around the university, Chilgok. South Korea: Juwangsan, Andong, Gyeongsangbuk-do, Ulsan, Busan, Yeosu, Seoul. Yey! More places to explore!

  • do some sports, swimming on top of the list for the month of July
I did swimming last year and now I'm also doing it. Level 3 for the month of July. But I'm still having difficulty in freestyle, especially the breathing part so good luck to me. (This reminds me that I should go to the pool tomorrow morning for some practice.)

  • meet new friends, be it Korean or other foreigners
Well, I got to meet new friends although not that many I should say. Foreigners which aren't Koreans, I got to meet them in my Korean Language classes. But the one foreigner that I got really close to was Aurora. She's just so much fun to be with. And last year, we're like this. For the Korean friends, aside from the undergraduates in our lab (YongGu, SunUk, GyuTae, SoonHyuk, YeonJin, BuBae, EunShil, ISeul, WonCheol, KunTae, XiaoHan), I also got to know the other undergraduates from other labs, (EunHae, RaamI, Miri, EunByeol, NamU, HyunJin, HwaCheon, etc.)

  • update my blog regularly by posting once a week
This is difficult! Really, really difficult, especially if the busy schedule doesn't permit me to write and there aren't any special things or things worthy to be written. But at least I'm able to post every month. Haha! I guess that would do.

  • start managing my finances well and allot part of my allowance for savings
Another difficult thing. My finances keep on growing, but the savings? Oh savings, where art thou? Must really be serious in saving some money. 

  • go to Forever21 in Seoul
Wasn't able to do this when I went to Seoul. Maybe next time. But fact is, I am not so excited with Forever21 anymore because I am already loving the shops in downtown. 

  • discover more stores and best buys in downtown
Speaking of downtown. Yes I did! I can be a tour guide already, I mean a shopper's guide, to anyone who wants to shop in downtown!

  • have a glimpse of Korean Fashion Week
This, I haven't and still don't know how to get to.

  • be an English tutor to Korean kids
Yay! Finally, finally! Even as a kid, I know I'm not into teaching but last May I took the plunge. I am teaching two sets of students. The first is a sibling tandem, older sister and younger brother, and the second is a mother and a daughter. Well, they're not really kids but what's important is I enjoy teaching them.

So there, I got 5 out 9. Not bad! This weekend, if I find time to reflect, I might be able to make a new set of list again. Hmmm. =)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

My New Haven in Korea

I have finally decided that I should move on with my life. Enough of my dramas!

So this afternoon I explored some other parts of downtown. I went to the subway and look where my feet took me! Kyobo! Finally, finally! I've been here in Daegu for 1 year and 4 months already but today's my first time in Kyobo. Had I known it was just there, in that part of the subway where I usually just pass by, I would have spent my Sundays in that wonderful place. Geez!

my new haven here in Korea
Kyobo is a bookstore with not only Korean books but also English and other foreign books. I've been dying to read a good book for ages! And Kyobo just have everything that I need.

these treasures make my heart leap with joy
The first book that I picked from the shelf was Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I've heard about it before and it's even one of the favorite novels of Ms. Ai, my teacher in Humanities1 (Literature and Arts ) Class but I haven't gotten a chance to read it. There are also other books like Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, the various works of Paulo Coelho, and many other best selling novels. So many to choose from but I'm eyeing The Unbearable Lightness of Being as my first purchase.

Hey You, Goodbye

This is getting harder each passing day. Why am I so emotional? Why do I feel so attached? Well in fact, I don't even know if he feels the same way.

Last night was his last night in Korea. He went in the lab in the afternoon and we worked on some email. In my mind I was hoping we would have dinner together but  he told me needed to meet his aunt and cousin for dinner. So yeah, I got no dinner invitation and had dinner all by myself. Before he left, he said goodbye but also told me he'd be returning in the lab in the evening because he still needs to clean his desk. All I said was, "See you later." Evening came and I went back in the lab, sat in my chair, and stared in front of my laptop thinking about how I'd say goodbye to him. Thirty minutes. One hour. One hour and a half passed. It's almost 9 and he hasn't returned yet. I just decided to go home. When I was in the hallway, the lights were on in the Undergrads' Room and I thought maybe he already arrived. I knocked and opened the door but he's not there. To my dismay, I just walked with a heavy bag and a heavy heart thinking I would not be able to see him anymore...

But surprise, surprise! I suddenly saw him walking towards my direction! All I ever felt during that moment was happiness and I thanked God for letting me see him even for the last time. He asked me if I'm already going home and I said yes. He's holding something and while giving it to me he said so many thank you's, Thank you for helping me...Thank you for this...Thank you for that... And my answer? I smiled shyly and said, "It's nothing." And now I wish I could have said something better. Oh, I'm really bad at close encounters.

He gave me a papingsu (a Korean summer dessert). A big one! I consider that the best papingsu I've ever seen so far. I just don't know if I said, "Let's eat this." but I just heard him saying, "You eat this with your friend." And we said our goodbyes to each other. Ahhhh! I hate myself! I'm good at imagining things but when I'm already in that position, I become speechless, starstrucked, or I tend to say nonsense things. Grrrr! So, I just went  to the lab of my friend.

We decided that instead of eating the papingsu by ourselves, we'd better go to him and just eat together. So there, we ate together, the three of us plus another friend. Had some fun conversations like telling him he should breathe the air hard when he gets off the plane because there's something special about breathing the air of a foreign country for the first time. All in all, our conversations were filled with laughter.

Then, we said our final goodbyes.

Late at night, I received a facebook friend request from him. I told him he'd better sleep and have some beauty rest. On a serious note, I wished him a safe flight and told him there's a new world waiting for him and he should just enjoy every moment of it while he's there and added that I'm just a facebook away. I slept still thinking of him. Woke up at 10:30 in the morning and read his reply  that was sent at 6AM saying he'll never forget the help that I gave him and he also wished me to be happy during my stay here in Korea. I wanted to tell him he's one of the reasons why I feel happy...

But of course, I did not say it. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Reality Bites

The problem with me is I'm getting too emotional on this. And it's not doing me any good. What's worse, I can't even confide it to anyone here, even to my friends. So I'm just keeping it all to myself. But  I guess writing them here eases my emo state a little bit. It's my blog after all. Other people can probably read it but it's impact will not be the same with the impact it'll have on the people I know personally.

So going back, I just can't help but think of him. I already miss him even though he hasn't left yet. I don't know if I'll still see him tomorrow. I'm supposed to be writing a scientific article today but my mind is just clouded of thoughts of him. All I know and sure of right now is this: I like him. But just when I realized I like someone, something goes wrong - either he's gay (this was a handsome and talented guy I fell head over heels with several years ago) or he needs to go to the other side of the world (the present one). And also, I'm just not sure if he's feeling the same way as I do. It's hard to know because sometimes we have these interesting, hour-long conversations; but at other times, when we pass each other on the hallway, there's no Hi or Hello, not even an eye contact. It's weird. There's a big chance that I'm the only one who has feelings for him, maybe he just sees me as a mere acquaintance. And reality check, I suddenly remember one of our talks, I told him, "Oh, maybe you'll have a girlfriend in the US, an American." He said, "I don't want. I want a Korean." BOOM!

By the way, his future girlfriend is a lucky girl. He's a keeper. He has the looks, doesn't smoke, not a heavy drinker, and a hardworking student. As for me? I'd like to imagine he sees me as someone special, that our friendship would blossom into something deeper but that would be living in a dreamland. I'd better open my eyes and move on with my life. But one thing that will never change is this, I will always be thankful I've met him.

Six Months

I will never forget what he said this afternoon, "I hope to see you in December." And I just answered (laughing like what he said was a joke), "Yeah, if I'm still here Korea!" 

But deep in my heart, I would really like to say this: Yes, I hope so too.
Six months. How long can that be?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Leaving on a jet plane

Today I am just so happy for my friend. He finally got the stamp of approval for his US visa! Yey! And in just a few days, he'll be heading to Missouri for his internship. A few months back, he was just mentioning it to me, like he's just planning to apply but now everything is all set, he'll just have to wait for his flight.

But in all these things, great effort and preparation was definitely involved. From the needed documents to passing the interview in the US embassy. The first interview didn't go well and he got the wrong documents. He was given another chance, a second interview. And last Friday, he showed me the questions and his answers and we both reviewed it. I gave him some points on how to improve this or that answer and told him to practice in front of a mirror and just be confident during the interview. He's interview was scheduled this afternoon. From Sunday until today (before learning that he passed the interview), I was kind of nervous on what the result will be. In my mind I was thinking He needs to pass because if not, what will happen? It's like everything will just be wasted. And thank God he passed the interview! Unfortunately, his friend didn't make it. That's a sad one. He's going to be the only one going to the US. But then again, he said it's okay; the fact that he's the only Korean with no other friend to talk to will enable him to speak English all the time.

Six months. He'll be staying in the US for six months. It's kind of long but time flies so before we know it, he's already coming back here in Korea. But I'm just not sure if I'll ever see him again because by that time, I am already finish with my Master's and will be returning to the Philippines. But I really do hope and pray we'll see each other again.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Three Weeks, Three Places

On the third Sunday of May, I was in Busan. And on the week that followed, in a Friday, I found myself in Yeosu. And on the coming week, I spent my Sunday in Seoul. Three places in different parts of South Korea in just a matter of three weeks. Whew!






Aside from the beauty of Korea, there's another thing that really caught my attention: Koreans value what they have, their resources, their land, their country. And that trait is something that every person, every citizen should possess.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It's never too late to learn something

I'm not a sporty type of girl. Ever since I was a kid, I never joined any games/sports competition. I was one of those thin, weak, easy-to-get-sick type of kids. I even considered PE as the worst subject. My childhood was kind of spent in a physically inactive state. Poor me! But I was still the typical child who wants to play with other kids; chinese garter, play-and-tag, agawan base, kablit unggoy were some of the games we played in the school grounds or in the street in front of our houses. I guess I just wasn't inclined into sports. But in high school, I was forced to play some sports because it's required in PE. I did volleyball, badminton, table tennis, and even basketball. I wasn't the best but I must say I did okay (uhm maybe nearly good? hehe)  and enjoyed volleyball, badminton, and table tennis but basketball isn't my thing. College came and viola, since students can choose their PE subjects, I picked the easy ones: Stretching, Asian Dance, and Philippine Games. Yeah, I did not have a single sports class. But one thing that I really wanted to learn was swimming. Guess what? I first learned how to swim two years ago. I was twenty three years old. Maybe the saying It's never too late to learn something is true after all.

And now, I've decided to enroll once again in a swimming class. I'm very lucky because KNU's swimming classes are not very expensive. Last summer I also joined some swimming classes: Level 1 (for beginners) and Level 2 (intermediate). But I wasn't able to finish Level 2 so now I'm going to continue it. Teehee!
my swimming stuff, all set
My schedule is every Tuesday and Thurday (one hour each). I was absent last week so I had my first session this week. Good thing everything went well. We started swimming with a kick board, then the freestyle stroke, which I still need to practice more (especially the breathing part), and the back float, which I couldn't do last year but now I'm starting to learn it.

And in just a few hours, I'll be heading to the pool for my the second session. Uhm, I'm kind of nervous. Waaah! But as Samunim told me the other day, "Fighting!!!"

New haircut, Aztec Healing Clay, and Empties

Hi everyone! Just a little update. I've never gotten a haircut since I left the Philippines last July. It's been 7 months alrea...