Another busy weeks passes by me with little time for reflection on what will soon be the end of my first year in Korea. Between trying to arrange my work Visa for my new job, arranging flights for my trip to South East Asia, searching for new teachers to replace me and Jessica (a favor I am doing for my school), and trying to get to see all of my friends before I move to Seoul, there has been little time to stop and think. However, I did manage to go on a few hikes around the mountains of Gimhae bring back fond memories of all the hiking I did my first exploratory summer here.
So far it seems that my flight plans are pretty much in order. I will be meeting Patrice, my old friend from San Diego, in Busan on the night of the 25th of February. The 26th is my last day at work and she will get a chance to meet all of my students during the good-bye party. Thats assuming that she is capable of getting out of bed in the morning since she will be extremely jet lagged, I imagine. She is flying into Seoul and must somehow manage to make her way from Inchon Airport, on the extreme Western side of Seoul, to Seoul Station, at the center of the city. How she is going to manage crossing the second largest city in the world in new country, being her fist time traveling abroad, I don’t know. A brave girl indeed but she does seem pretty confident and a lot more Koreans speak English in the North, especially near Seoul. The foreign information booths will be her friend!
Together we will cross the East Sea into Japan. We have not worked out our destinations in Japan yet mostly because neither of us car all that much. I would like to see Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I would also like to see Tokyo, the most densely populated city on earth, but it is quite a bit further north than we really have time to go (and also quite a bit more expensive than we would care for as well). After about 3-4 days there we will take our leave and I will show Patrice around the rest of Korea. We are both pretty keen on seeing some of the less visited historical sites in the North and South East of the country.
On the 6th of March both I and Patrice will take our leaves, her returning to the states to get back to her job and I to Hanoi, Vietnam to meet Andrew (Spike) whom I went to both high-school and college with. Andrew has done most of the planning thus far for Vietnam because its mostly his vacation and I have been too busy with other projects at the moment to worry much. He has given us one week to explore Northern Vietnam and another for the South. I’m pretty excited about this since it should make for a leisurely pace. After my whirl-wind tour of what seemed like the entire continent of Europe taking place in a scant five weeks and am looking forward to a my relaxed an in-depth view of SE Asia. Andrew will be flying out of the South at which point I am planning to continue on to Cambodia and Thailand.
Cambodia, being a small and less developed country, will be given a week to explore. I am particularly excited about seeing Anchor Wat! After that I have given myself and additional two weeks to explore Thailand before having to be in Bangkok for my flight home to Seoul. Should be quite a trip if you ask me! I hope that I have budgeted enough money for all of this! Even on vacation though I tend to be a tight ass so everything should work out financially I imagine. I had not planned being down there that long originally but since the new job does not start until the 27th of April I may as well live it up.
When I get back to Seoul on the 15th of April I will still have about two weeks before the job starts. This should be more than enough time to find an apartment and get settle in before my first day. My new director was very nice to allow me to move into a place early, although I will have to pay my own rent until our contract together actually starts. Still this should not be too big of a deal since rent in Korea tends to run anywhere from $300-$400 a month depending on location. I can’t imagine that the place I am living in right now costs more that $300 a month considering it size!
Depending on how much I am able to see and also how much I feel like there is still left to see and experience after I leave, I may return to SE Asia on my upcoming cross China bike trip. However, that trip is still more than a year from now and I do not have enough foresight to begin speculation on where the winds will be taking me then.
I hope these words reach everyone in good spirits and high hopes. I am sure I will have some more to say in the near future as I continue to try and come to terms with yet another move. Ones of these days maybe I will meet someone who will settle me down somewhere for longer than a few years at a time. I just cant for the life of my imagine when that might happen!