Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hello Vancouver!

Got into Van around noon.. the total flight time equalled about 16 hours.. I flew west, to Hong Kong, where I went through a tirade of additional security checks and got some of my makeup thrown out (though they didn't find my toothpaste in the bottom of my bag... if I were a terrorist, my explosives would be in the toothpaste tube, not the tiny lipgloss tube).. then I flew east, passing Korea and Japan again, before ending up home. (Mental note: shop around at other travel agents next time, to find a more direct route!)

The 'reverse culture shock' I was anticipating hasn't really occured! Rather, it's just plain GOOD to be back. The multicultural airport, English everywhere, and the laidback westcoast vibe. There's a lot more construction here than when I left, and the roads are long and winding. So far all I've really seen though, is Moolz's place, which seems 1000000 times bigger than my place in Manchon. When I left, they were deciding on the colour schemes for their new house, and I gotta say, back then I never thought red and cream would go together so strikingly. But it works! They really did an amazing job designing and furnishing this place. I just stepped out on the balcony, and it's amazing how cold it is here.. 14 degrees! Best of all, it's eerily, gloriously quiet and dark. No yowling cats, none of the banging and shrieking and laughing I'd normally hear late at night at 1050-99 Manchon 3-dong. The noise was comforting, as it brought a sense of community, and I really do miss all the nice shopowners on my street (I only said bye to one of them, but I'm sure she'll tell the rest on my behalf). But I think I prefer the quiet overall. And I can smell the trees. Mmmm, fresh air.

Overall, I'm very happy with my year in Korea. I accomplished everything I set out to do there. I read several books on business and careers have a clearer idea of what I want to accomplish, and started scrapbooks of ideas. I paid off my entire student loan, and saved enough $ to get a car here, which will make living in Van MUCH easier. I learned enough basic Korean phrases to get by on a daily basis, and learned to read Hangul. I learned how to party really, really hard. I proved to myself I can survive in a third world country alone (yes, I recently found out that Korea actually has official third-world status - but mainly so that it can recieve international tax breaks and government grants). I enjoyed my job for the first time in my life, and gained valuable leadership skills. I travelled all over Korea, and to Japan, Malaysia and Thailand. I acquired a whole new wardrobe, and got to observe and absorb fashion trends in a distant country. And best of all, going to Korea has made me appreciate Vancouver all the more.

I nearly wept eating some of Moolz's homecooked Chinese food just now. And this is just the beginning...

(^ 2nd last night partying in Korea!)

(^ Gangwon rafting trip) More pics of rafting here.


Anonymous andrea said...

welcome back!

11:36 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

Welcome home!

10:43 PM  

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