Hyunwoo and I left for the airport around 8am (my flight was set to depart from Incheon at 10:30am), but perhaps we should have left a bit earlier... Although the transport from the hotel only took 10 minutes, the airport itself was packed -- so many people everywhere!
Even with checking myself in via my e-ticket, I still had to wait in such a long line to check in my luggage... After the luggage was checked in, Hyunwoo and I grabbed some food (we hadn't eaten breakfast yet). We had a few more minutes together before it was 9am and I had to start heading towards the security checkpoint. Although it was hard to leave him, I knew that he would be back in the U.S. only a week from then and we would see each other then.
I was a bit nervous going through this process at the airport by myself again, used to Dulles' layout, but not Incheon's for Departures. But, security and immigration were easy enough - most of my time was spent waiting in lines, however...
Passing through immigration, I found the "duty free" section of the airport and shopped for some last-minute gifts (like shot glasses for my brothers, which I couldn't seem to find anywhere in Korea). Then, I exchanged the remainder of the money I had brought with me and waited to board my flight back to the U.S.
The flight was long and uneventful, again... I couldn't sleep, so I found myself listening to music, watching TV, and playing video games for the majority of my time. Once we landed, I shuttled to Arrivals, grabbed my luggage, breezed through customs, and entered the main terminal where my parents were waiting for me.
It was strange to be back in the U.S.
First and foremost, I didn't have to speak Korean anywhere. I didn't like that -- I wanted to be challenged some more. I can't speak Korean in my hometown because no one in my family and not many friends would understand me. Besides, I was due to move back in to my University this coming weekend... At least there I have some friends (and a boyfriend, of course) who I can practice with.
I also immediately missed being a foreigner. I missed observing native Korean culture and feeling like an outsider. I missed learning. Here, in the U.S., I was part of an American culture that wasn't necessarily "appealing" to me because I could not learn from it. Perhaps this is why I feel the need to live somewhere else in my life - I want to learn, whether about another language or culture.
Once I arrived back home, it was like I had never left. Memories of Korea had already started to fade and "the real world" was setting back in... It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I wish there was some way that I could experience it a second time... But, all I can do is hope that I can return to Korea in the near future.
Maybe some day soon...
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Thank you all for reading my blog and listening to my adventures and stories, it means a lot to me. It was almost therapeutic to talk about my wonderful experiences and I know that I will look back on these one day and attempt to relive them. Maybe I can revive this blog if I travel to Korea a second time~~
Thank you again.