Unbelievably, it came. It came the way Christmas came despite the Grinch’s best efforts at keeping it away. It came like the downward plunge part of the roller coaster, where the build-up seems to last forever as tick-tick-tick your way to the top and then suddenly you are plunging downhill and the whole thing is over in a matter of seconds.
Friday was both our final day in Korea and (because of the time difference) our first day in America. We somehow made it through our long trip back to America with our 4 suitcases full of everything we’ve collected over these years. But before we left, we said good-bye to some of our favorite places and some of our favorite people.
We went to Busan, our favorite Korean city, and said good-bye to the water, and the skyline, and the beach, covered in fully-clothed Koreans hiding under umbrellas.
We ate our last bingsu and our last bulgogi and mandu and (mercifully) our last kimchi.
We went to the noraebang (like a private karaoke room) for the last time and I bellowed out a painful rendition of Colors of the Wind while my friend Josh performed an interpretive dance.
We sold, donated, or threw out all of our things. And we said goodbye to the friends we’ve made who will now be scattered all over the wide world, to Canada and India and South Africa, and good old Kansas, USA.
We said good-bye to our steaming hot apartment, our twin-sized bed, and our wallpaper with silvery butterflies.
We said goodbye to the cutest children and the pushiest elderly people in the world.
We said good-bye to city living, to daily cultural misunderstandings, to the background noise of screeching buses and old people spitting in the street and unintelligible Korean chatter.
We said goodbye to our home.
We said Hello.
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