I have been in Seoul for about 28 hours now!
The 15-hour flight felt endless, but I already love being here. Disclaimer: I am severely jet-lagged, so please excuse any incoherence you may find in this post.
The night before I left for Korea, I barely slept. I thought I was feeling relatively fine about everything, but then this piercing stomach pain hit me right when I lay down for bed, belying my anxiety. (Fortunately, the pain subsided during my flight.) I didn’t realize how heavy the dread in my stomach was until it lifted completely when I connected with my driver at the airport and made my first friend.
No, that friend wasn’t the driver (though he seemed nice enough), but another Fulbrighter who happened to land at the same time as me and who now lives right across the hall from me. I am so thankful for her friendship!
I mean, I guess we just met yesterday, but I’ve already consulted her numerous times about how to get stuff to work in my apartment, we went out for dinner together yesterday, and then we had a long deep conversation this afternoon (I LOVE those). It’s almost like having a roommate. :)
Today my big adventures were..
taking the subway to the Fulbright building (which included having to find the subway station) and buying some groceries (which included having to locate a grocery store). I can already tell how much better my Korean is than last time I was here, which is exciting. (The people I asked for directions could understand what I was saying perfectly! I couldn’t understand a lot of what they said, but that’s okay – baby steps.) And I have already noticed how much people look at me when I’m on the street or on the subway. It’s definitely a weird sensation to get so much attention, though I suppose I’ve had similar experiences in more homogenous areas of the US.
I’ll post pictures of my apartment once I tidy up a bit more. It’s cute.