For those of you who have enjoyed the detailed account of my life in Korea and want to continue hearing about my life in South Africa (though I am sure that it won't be quite as entertaining or interesting), I have put up a new blog. You can find it here.
Hello my wonderful friends and followers

There has been a bit of a hiatus in my blogging and there is good reason for that. You see, I am no longer in Korea. I have returned to the homeland that is South Africa and will be residing here once more for at least the next two years (I am dreading the itch that I believe should start sometime after 6 months of being home - the itch to leave Cape Town having already set in.) In any case, I thought that I would finish off my Korea blog with this copy of my final mass e-mail detailing my last few weeks in Korea. Some of you may have read it from my facebook account, but for those of you who didn't, here it is.

Greetings one last time family and friends.

I didn't think it would be right to end off my year in Korea without one final e-mail detailing the happenings of the last two weeks of my time there. And so, here I am, sitting comfortably in my Cape Town home and writing about my final two weeks in Kimchi-land.
The countdown of my final days in Korea started a few months ago, but it only started feeling real about two weeks ago when I had some of the girls over to rummage through my things. The intention was to give away a large amount of the clothing and appliances that I had accumulated over the year, but it turned out that was everyone else's plan as well, and I ended up taking one or two items without really getting rid of very much.
The next week was a fairly relaxing one. I didn't have to go in to work, and spent my days visiting friends and starting to pack up my apartment. Day by day my time in Korea was drawing to a close and I kept finding more and more things that needed to be done, from packing my suitcases to sending off boxes to paying my final bills and more. By the time my last weekend rolled around, I was on my last legs, but as my friends keep telling me – there'll be time for sleeping when we die. And so, my last weekend in Korea commenced.

I had decided weeks before that a single party to say goodbye to everyone just would not do, since there were so many people to say goodbye to and I wanted to give the friends that I had made over the last year more than just a passing “Hi and bye” as I ran off to the next group. Instead, I decided to do dinners throughout my last week so that I could indulge in all of my favourite Korean foods and get a chance to say some proper farewells. After the first farewell dinner, we all headed over to Buzz bar where a night of partying commenced. It was a very emotional evening as it was the last time that I would see many people and everyone was on the verge of tears. In fact, everyone got rather teary-eyed at one point or another during the night as confessions of love and trust were thrown around and promises of visits were made. At some point after midnight, everyone made their way to a noraebang (singing room) where we all sang our hearts out and we left shortly before the sun started coming up.

A full day was ahead of me on Saturday as I started recalibrating my list and crossing off things that I had accomplished over the past week. Which wasn't very much. I made my way to Chungdae earlier than usual and sat down with a large group of my friends to a kalmegi feast that involved side dishes of soups, eggs, kimchi and more before heading off to quiz. I wasn't participating this time around as I had asked to make a round since it would be my last quiz – my round was on movie, song and book titles that contained the word “last” (e.g. Last of the Mohicans or Last Christmas).

The rest of the week passed by in a flurry of lunches, dinners and goodbyes with a wedge of school desk-warming stuck in the middle. I had to go to school on Tuesday to pack up my desk, but was grateful to find that I was allowed to leave after lunchtime. I had to come in again on Thursday, but it was only a brief visit to hand out the gifts that I had bought for my co-teachers and to go to lunch with one of the other teachers in the school who expressed her regret that she hadn't been able to talk to me throughout the year. After lunch, I made my way to the bank, phone shop and internet shop to close all of my accounts and then went back home to finish the packing that I had barely started.

I woke up early on Friday and the day started with a final goodbye breakfast at Amy's apartment which, both fortunately and unfortunately, had to be a quick one as she had to go to school. It was fortunate, as I still had a ton of things to do including some final packing and a lot of cleaning, but it was unfortunate as it meant only having a rushed goodbye with one of my best friends in the country. By the time we parted ways, we were both bawling and it was a rather embarrassing walk back to my apartment with everyone staring at me as though I was truly starkers (as in raving mad). I did a little more packing over the next few hours before having to meet up with Jess for our final goodbye lunch (at which more tears were shed) and by the time I got back to my apartment, I didn't have very much time to finish everything up. My replacement was moving in on Saturday and everything had to be spick and span for her arrival. So there was a ton of wiping, washing, sweeping, vacuuming and sorting to do and only a few hours to do it in. My co-teachers were coming to pick me up at 4:30 for a compulsory staff dinner and everything had to be finished by the time they arrived. By 4pm, almost everything was done and dusted and I was taking some time to relax before packing the final bits and bobs away when the doorbell rang.
My co-teachers must be early, I thought, opening up the door.
They were as it turned out, but that wasn't the only surprise. They had brought the new tenant with them along with the double bed that needed to be put together in the room. And so, the few minutes that I had intended for relaxation ended up being spent showing her around my apartment and teaching her how to use things like the cable and how to turn on the heat while a man bustled around my apartment trying to piece the bed together and my co-teachers stood outside watching the scene. After half an hour, I was told that it was without a doubt time to go and I tried to locate the last of my belongings in the chaos that had become my apartment before saying goodbye to it and making my way to the staff dinner.
After an hour and a half of speeches that were entirely in Korean, no food and about two dozen attempts at stifling my yawning, it was time to head to the bus terminal to catch a bus heading for Incheon, where I would be spending my last night in Korea in order to get to the airport on time come Saturday morning. About five minutes into the drive (to the bus terminal, not to Incheon), I realised that I had left a crucial component of my computer behind, and I had to go back to my apartment to fetch it. We might have still made it to the terminal on time if my co-teacher hadn't had to stop for petrol, but there was no helping it – I missed my bus and had to wait an extra hour and a half to catch the next one.

Fifteen minutes before it was supposed to arrive, I was patiently waiting for the bus in the parking lot. Twenty minutes later, when it still hadn't arrived, I started feeling a bit worried.
What if the bus had left me behind?
What if it had been cancelled?
With each bus that came and left without me on it, my tensions rose. Of course, after a year of arriving on time, this would be the day when the bus would be delayed. Thankfully, it wasn't delayed too long and by 9pm (only half an hour later than expected), I was on my way.

I arrived in Gimpo just after 11pm and started making my way to the subway station. On my way there the handle of my hand-luggage broke and I was left trying to awkwardly carry that along with my laptop bag, camera bag, giant handbag filled with goodies and dragging my 22.5kg bag along behind me. I was making my way along, obviously struggling, when a woman approached me and offered to carry my bag for me. As I was worn out by this point, I gratefully accepted and we started walking. A short while later we came across her boyfriend. He grabbed some of my other bags and together we made our way onto the subway towards Incheon. After a few moments of silence, the man turned to face me.
Where are you staying?”
Here,” I said, quickly digging into my bag and pulling out the address of my hotel on in Korean along with a phone number. He took out his phone in turn and I watched as he dialled the number and started spewing out incomprehensible Korean. After a few minutes, he hung up and turned to look at me. He opened his mouth to speak, but then closed it and took out his cellphone once again, A few moments later he handed it to me and motioned that the call was for me.
Hello,” I said uncertainly, not having the faintest clue who this could be.
Hi!” The man on the other end sounded friendly. “The man you are sitting with? He is my brother.”
I looked at my new companions and their concerned faces and smiled at them, attempting to be reassuring even though I had no idea what was going on.
The hotel says you must take a taxi. But my brother wants to take you to your hotel. Is that okay?”
Is that okay?”
Sure...” I look at the two of them and smile and nod as though this makes perfect sense even though I have just realised that I may be putting myself into a huge amount of danger. The man on the other end of the line hangs up and I hand the cellphone back to his brother. At the next stop, we all get off with the two of them carrying most of my stuff and we make our way to a street corner where the man goes to find his car. I was suddenly extremely nervous and had decided to make my way back to the subway station alone when the car rode up next to us and the man climbed out and started putting my stuff into the boot and back seat.
You know where the hotel is?”
Uh huh.”
You are sure?”
My friends are waiting for me there.”
I climbed into the car, not quite knowing what else to do – they had all of my stuff, so I couldn't make a run for it – and before long we were driving along the highway in the direction of the airport. Ten minutes, I decided. If we hadn't arrived at the hotel in ten minutes, then I was going to make a run for it. Five minutes later, we pulled up on a sidewalk, and, low-and-behold, there was my hotel! They carried my bags in, gave me big hugs to say goodbye and good luck and were on their way, leaving me absolutely gobsmacked at Korean hospitality.

Saturday morning dawned and I made our way to the airport, dragged down by my luggage. I arrived there and immediately made my way to the check in counters to stand in the steadily lengthening queue.
After a short wait it was my turn.
The woman took one look at my Alien Registration Card and informed me that I needed to report to Immigration immediately, as the card had expired three days earlier.
I found immigration without too much problem and was informed that I had overstayed my welcome.
But, since I was leaving in any case, it wasn't too much of a problem.
All I had to do was show her my ticket.
Which I hadn't been given.
Back to the check-in counter I went and was given my printed ticket to give to immigration.
Back to immigration to show them the ticket and get a stamp in my passport and then I could return to check-in to confirm that everything had been sorted out.
Phew... what a relief, I thought.
Now I could head through security and relax for a short while before boarding my flight. Off I went to the security clearance.
Excuse me, mam.”
Oh no.
Can you please place your bags on the scale?”
Hand luggage - 9kgs, a little over the allowance.
And the next one.”
But... the website said that they wouldn't be weighed!”
On the scale, please.”
On the scale.”
Hand luggage + Handbag – 15kgs.
Please go to the check-in counter. They will tell you what to do.”
Back to the check-in counter I went, and they were not impressed to see me. By this point, I was on the verge of tears with the idea of missing my flight looming in the fore of my mind. After a few moments of arguing with one of the flight attendants, he decided that dealing with me wasn't worth the extra few kilos and sent me through security with an dismissive wave of his hand.
Through security I went without any more trouble and made my way to the boarding gate where I had about five minutes to breathe before we were being instructed to board the plane. Into the line I went and came very close to getting through without issue until, moments after I had walked through the door, I was called back.
I think you should check that,” he said, pointing at my hand-luggage.”
Oh, don't worry,” he reassured me. “No charge. Just for security.”
And so my hand-luggage was labelled and sent off to Cape Town and I was left 9kgs lighter and a great deal happier.
Onto the plane I climbed and found my seat, where I settled in quickly and was dozing within minutes. That is until the person in front of me sat down.

My impression of him was negative from the start when the first thing he did upon reaching cruising altitude was to put his seat back as far as it would go, right on top of me.
It didn't get any better.
Excuse me, sir. What would you like to drink?” I was patiently awaiting my turn.
Pepsi.” The flight attendant starts pouring it. “Actually, Seven Up.” He throws the half-poured drink out and starts pouring a new one. “Actually, Pepsi.” A new drink is drawn. “No, Seven Up.” Finally his mind is made up and the flight attendant starts heading towards us.
Sorry, can I have some food?”
Sir, can I get to the other passengers first?”
Just a roll?”
Let me serve everyone else and I'll get back to you.”
Now it is our turn and I eat my meal and start settling down again. I am on the verge of sleep when I hear: “Excuse me?”
Yes, sir?”
Why is there no B?”
I open my eyes and see my confused face mirrored on another flight attendant's.
Excuse me?”
Why is there no B? The seats just go A to C. Why no B?” I roll my eyes at the question. How is she supposed to know? She says exactly this and goes on her way, and I try to settle down once again, but within minutes, he is asking the same question to another flight attendant. By the end of the flight, he had asked the question about five times and received exactly the same answer each time.
And then, most frustratingly of all, as we were coming to land, he calls one of the attendants over to take a photo of him and the person sitting next to him. Which wouldn't have been so much of a problem if it had been one photo, but he kept insisting that they weren't good enough and so I had a flash going off in my face every few seconds.

I had nine hours to kill in Kuala Lumpur which I spent saying goodbye to some friends who had been on my flight and spending time chatting to some of the Saffas who I knew were going to be on my next one. Time ticked by really slowly, but it was finally time to board for the flight to Cape Town and, an uneventful eleven-and-a-half hours later, we were touching down and I was finally home!! If there was any doubt that I was back home, it was qualmed as soon as I tried to change my foreign currency and had to wait in a line for half an hour only to be told that they didn't take my denominations. It was further confirmed when I arrived home to find that the internet was dead – it has been since Wednesday and still is as I am writing this.

And so my Korean sojourn has come to a close. It has been a good year, and I hope that you have enjoyed sharing it with me. Hopefully I will be seeing all of you very very soon!

1:14am. What the hell am I doing awake at 1:14am. I should be passed out by now, having given in to the soothing calmness that is sleep. But no. I am wide awake. Why? In one word - stress.

I have this tendency to overthink, overplan, overanalyse and overargue every situation and it has the tendency to drive me absolutely bonkers. It leads to symptoms like mood swings, bitchiness, pulling out of my hair and, most noticeably, lack of sleep.

What do I have to stress about, you may ask? 11 days. I have 11 days to pack my life into boxes, suitcases, duffelbags, backpacks and handbags before packing myself onto a plane, leaving the friends that I have accumulated over the last year, and returning to the country of my birth where I have no job awaiting me.

In order to deal with this formidable task, I have compiled a list of things that I need to do over the next few days to help me try and relieve my stress. I thought I would share it with you.

  • Pack
  • Send boxes home
  • Clean my apartment for the new tenant who is arriving on the day that I leave
  • Send money home
  • Arrange to have all of my last paycheques sent to my SA account
  • Do photo shoots
  • Return my cellphone
  • Have goodbye dinners
  • Attend a goodbye lunch with staff members
  • Attend a goodbye dinner with staff members
  • Go to school for two days
  • Give goodbye presents to my co-teachers and principals
  • Buy the last few gifts for people in Cape Town
  • Pack up my desk at school
These activities will not necessarily be done in that order. Of course, the intention of writing them down was to help me relax - having a plan sometimes does that - but all it has ended up doing is providing more stress as I need to plan my days in accordance with these plans and not everything goes according to plan, as you well know. Life gets in the way sometimes and when I have a strict schedule to stick to, it is all too easy for small things to stress me out. Small things like unexpected dinners or cancellations. And thus I end up here - wide awake at 1:25am, dying to fall asleep but unable to stop my mind from running wild.

Sorry for the rant. I didn't know what else to do. I just needed to get this off my mind.
I decided that Grant's last weekend in Korea could not be spent merely lounging about and we decided to take advantage of my two days off and head to Busan on Friday morning. Still reeling from my failure as a tour-guide in Seoul, I was determined to do a better job in Busan. Though I had been there twice before, I had never really taken in some of the more popular sights, opting instead for relaxing on the beach and looking at fish. This time, I decided, I was going to do Busan differently. I wanted Grant to walk away from Busan with something more than just a suntan and a lingering scent of fish. I wanted him to leave feeling that he had accomplished something or seen something special. And so we arrived in Busan late Friday afternoon and our adventure began.

First on the list was finding some accommodation, and after my last stay I knew exactly where I wanted to go. We made our way to the rather luxurious Dejavu Hotel and spent a good half an hour soaking in the air conditioning, queen sized bed, giant TV and double bath before heading out to our real first stop (in terms of my tour-guide responsibilities) - Gwangalli Beach.
"Hold on a minute," you may be thinking to yourselves. "We thought you wanted him to leave with more than just a tan."
The beach, while quite lovely, was not the reason for our visit to the area. From the beach front, there is a beautiful view of Gwangan "Diamond" Bridge, nicknamed Diamond Bridge because of the way that it lights up at night with shimmering lights in ever-changing colours. There is also a wonderful view from the beach front of what I assume was Haeundai (the other beach area) which was lit up like Vegas with neon lights showering every building and what I was determined (but Grant didn't believe) was a Ferris Wheel doing the rounds. The Gwangalli Beach area is also, according to some friends of mine, the best place in Busan for restaurants, clubs and pubs. And so we walked along the beach front, took in some wonderful views, some decent Italian food and wandered the side-streets lined with pebbled and lit-up gutters (they looked more like beautiful streams than anything else) before heading back to the hotel nice and early - we were tired out from the bus ride and the walking and had a long day ahead of us, after all!

Waking up at eight o'clock on Saturday took a ridiculous amount of effort. I think that I have become far too comfortable sleeping in over the last month and am not used to early morning wake-ups anymore. But eight o'clock it had to be if we were going to fit everything in! Though the first stop of the day was supposed to be the Forty Steps (or the Sa-ship Gyedan in Korean), on exiting the subway, I discovered that the directions I had looked up were wrong. We quickly found a map of the area and discovered that we were in fact far closer to what was supposed to be our second stop, Busan Tower, so we decided to make our way there instead. After climbing a steep hill and many a step, we found ourselves at the bottom of the tower, sweating profusely despite our showers ten minutes earlier thanks to the ridiculous heat and humidity. We walked into the air conditioned building and elevatored up 120 meters to the top of the tower where we were delighted to find not only wonderful views of the city, but also a stronger air conditioner - I don't quite know which we were happier about. After taking in the view and the icy coldness for as long as we dared, we made our way back to the park surrounding the tower, where I played a traditional Korean throwing game before we decided to try and find the Forty Steps once more.

The Forty Steps were not easy to find. We wandered down the streets, my wonderful Busan map in hand, getting thoroughly lost until a Korean man approached us and walked us in the right direction. The Forty Steps and the area surrounding it were renovated a number of years ago and restored to the condition they were in after the Korean War. This basically means that the streets are cobbled rather than tarred, the lamposts are wooden and there are a number of bronze statues scattered about the area. While the history surrounding the area was certainly interesting, the area itself was rather boring and so, after a photo-opportunity on the steps and a stop into the nearby (air conditioned) convenience store for a drink, we made our way to the next area.

Next on our list was supposed to be a famous Korean market place that stretched from Napo-dong subway station to the fish market in Jagalchi, but we opted out of it because of the heat and decided to make our way straight to the fish market by subway. After a brief break from the schedule for a non-fishy lunch, we made our way into the market place and were surrounded by all the different fishes in bowls and tanks, alive and dried, all waiting to be sold. We did some looking around and had just made our way into the restaurant area to do some more looking when one of the fish tried to make its untimely escape. It was quickly caught, of course, and the man who caught it held it up for us, a gleam in his eye, asking if we wanted to try it. It would be an experience, we decided, and the fish had obviously chosen us. We would do it. We sat down at the table and were brought the side-dishes while the fish was being prepared for our consumption. As the fresh sashimi was placed on our table, we suddenly realised that neither of us had bothered to ask how much it was going to cost. We shrugged the thought aside though, figuring that a couple of pieces of sushi couldn't be that much, and even if it was a little more than it was worth, it was still an experience worth paying for. We made our way through the sashimi, which I wasn't too fond of, and got up to pay.
"Aniyo," the man bellowed, gesturing for us to sit down.
"Oh my God," I whispered. "There's more."
The horror in Grant's eyes showed me that he felt the same way. We were both stuffed! We hadn't anticipated this meal and had already eaten a full lunch before hand. Plus, more meant that it was going to be more expensive! But what could we do? We didn't want to offend the man who had gone through so much effort to prepare the dish and we didn't want the fish to have been killed for nothing. We sat back down and waited, our stomachs moaning as we tried to squeeze everything down to make room for more. The next course came, this one far more to my taste than the overly-chewy sashimi, and together we managed to eat our way through a little more than half of it before giving in to our complaining stomachs and getting up to pay the bill, which ended up being double what we had expected. Kicking ourselves, we made our way a little further down the fish market before deciding that neither of us wanted to look at another fish and heading towards the harbour.

Taejongdae was our next destination with its fairly easy hiking trails and its wonderful view - on a clear day, it is said that you can see one of the Japanese islands from the Observatory. But after looking at the map and realising how long it would take us to get there, thinking of our already aching feet and imagining how sweaty we would be by the end of it, we decided that walking there was not an option. Instead, we decided to take a ferry around the island and take in the views from the sea. And so we made our way to the harbour and bought ourselves a couple of tickets for the ferry that traveled between Napo-dong and Haeundai Beach. As we were waiting to board the ferry, we made a new friend, Mr Lee, who started talking to us in fairly good English about our jobs, South Africa, the weather, baseball and any other subject that came to mind. He became fast friends with Grant, and messaged baseball caps, baseballs and ten rand notes were passed between them before the trip was over. I got to see Taejongdae from the boat as I had hoped, though the smog prevented us from seeing the Japanese island, and the other side of Gwangan Bridge (it was indeed a Ferris Wheel that I had seen the night before) as well as numerous other sights including lighthouses and scenic views of the city before we came to a stop at Haeundai Beach and made an unplanned stop at the aquarium. After wandering around there for a couple of hours, we made our way back to the hotel for a brief freshen up before heading out for a night on the town.

We had done our research and had decided that Seomyeon was where it was happening in terms of Western bars. We even found one that sounded decent for dinner and wrote down the directions, expecting someone there to tell us the best place to go next. We arrived outside O'Briens only to find it deserted. O'Briens, it turned out, had moved. We started walking around, but quickly got lost in the maze of skyscrapers and could find no Western Bars and, worse still, no restaurants. By 10pm we had just about given up, when I spotted a pub in the distance that looked vaguely decent, but by the time we were finished eating, neither of us was in much of a partying mood, so we made our way back to the hotel once again for an early night.

Sunday morning started with a phonecall from one of my friends who never stops talking, and so by the time I hung up the phone, it was 9:30, an hour later than we had intended to wake up and half an hour before we were supposed to check out. We bundled up our belongings as quickly as we could, throwing a number of things into my handbag much to my shoulder's dismay, and were out by 10:30, a little later than we would have liked but not too disastrous. With our backpacks safely stored in a locker at the subway station, we made our way to our last destination - Haedong Yong-gungsa, a Korean temple that is uniquely located next to the sea. It would be my first temple visit, and I was my usual trigger-happy self, dying to capture as many pictures as I could. Unfortunately, we had limited space on the memory card, and I was only allowed 150 photos - a limit that weighed on my shoulders with every squeeze of the trigger and twist of the focus. It may seem like a lot, but consider that in one day I took 450 photos. That should tell you just how much of a limit 150 placed on me. Even though I had been told that there were better temples to visit, once we arrived and were greeted by the calming sound of the waves and the beautiful statues, shrines and buildings, I was immediately reassured that this was the right place for my first temple visit. We strolled between the statues, me clicking away of course, had our pictures taken beside the giant golden Buddha, rubbed the stone Buddha's belly for luck and thew coins from a bridge, aiming at the bowls that some of the statues held. Grant and I have different interpretations about what the bowls mean - I believe that each statue had a specific significance (health, wealth, happiness, etc.), and if you hit the one that you were aiming for, you would be granted luck in all of your future endeavours of that kind; Grant believes that if you get the coin in any bowl, you can make a wish - but whatever the symbolism behind the act was, it was interesting and fun, and the Koreans had a good time watching us attempt it. We then caught a taxi to the nearest subway station, went and got our bags and headed to the bus station, getting the soonest bus we could. The bus ride back was also an interesting one, as Grant made another Korean friend. The man sitting next to us, who we later came to know as Kim Eung-jo, started chatting away, practicing his broken English, and I became the translator converting his broken English into something that Grant would understand. And so we arrived back in Cheongju with bags fuller than we had left with, experiences under our belts and two new Korean friends.

So, when I was going over my Bucket List last week, I noticed that I was missing a couple of posts that I had totally intended to write and never got around to. One that I was particularly sad about was my trip to Busan. I started writing a ridiculously long blogpost about it, but gave up on it when I realised that it was too long for anyone to want to read it. So, I have decided to reminisce and tell you about the different things that you can do when you are in Busan. I will tell you about what I did during my three visits to my favourite city in Korea, where I stayed, how I travelled (and the problems with each method) and what I was disappointed to not be able to do. If that last sentence makes no sense at all, you have to excuse me. I have clearly been in Korea for too long.

I have been to Busan three times during my year in Korea and have stayed in two motels. I will tell you about my experiences at each hotel and why I chose to stay at one of them twice.

Botel - I stayed in the Boatel in Haeundae on my first visit to Busan over Buddha's Birthday. The room was lovely and spacious with a king-sized bed, a jacuzzi tub, a large TV and a computer. Our first impression of the room was fantastic and we weren't too concerned about forking over 60,000 won per room - it was a price to pay for luxury, or so we thought. I quickly learned that the sink leaked and got lost during my stay trying to find the motel in the maze of sidestreets the surrounded it. It was convenient that the motel was located in Haeundae which was exactly where we wanted to be for our three day stay, but it also meant that finding our way around the rest of the city was a little difficult as the subway line that Haeundae is on is separate from the others.

Dejavu - On my second visit to Busan, I left my accomodation to chance, deciding to see what I could find when I got there, and I ended up staying at the Dejavu motel. I found the motel purely by chance and, as I didn't want to pay too much, was fine with a 45,000 won room. On arrival in the room itself, I was thoroughly impressed - a king sized bed, a giant TV, a computer, a two-person bathtub and a sauna-shower lay in wait, dying to be used. The motel was also very conveniently placed for exploring the city - it is close to Yeonsan-dong subway station which connects to two of the three lines that you might want to travel on. Being in site of the subway station, I had no problem with getting lost this time, and I had no other problems at the motel, so I chose to stay here on my third visit to the city. The second time around, the computer in our room had no internet access but, on telling the staff, we were quickly moved to another room that did. All-in-all, I would highly recommend this motel to anyone wanting to visit Busan.

There are three ways to travel around Busan (aside from walking, of course): Subway, Taxi and Bus. I will tell you my experiences using each of these methods of transport.

Subway - Like Seoul, Busan has it's own subway system, and I found Busan's version a lot easier to navigate than the Seoul equivalent. That Busan is smaller obviously affects the subway and how many stations need to be placed throughout the city and how many lines need to connect them, but I still found the subway journey to be far more comfortable in Busan. There weren't as many people, there weren't as many changes, and it was easy to find the station that you needed to get off at without being confuzzled by a jumble of letters strewn across a delicate map of coloured lines.

Taxi - I struggled with taxis more in Busan than I have struggled anywhere else. Apparently the accent in Busan is different from the other Korean accents, and they found my attempts at Korean more difficult to understand than usual. This was most noticable on my first visit to Busan when I tried to get a taxi back to my motel at 3am. I knew how to get there from the Haeundae subway station, and directed the taxi to take me there. Before I knew it, I had arrived at Haeundae bus station. This wasn't right!
"Haeundae subway?"
"Haeundae metro?"
According to my taxi driver, there was no Haeundae subway station. I ended up rattling off every Western restaurant that I had seen along the beach-front near my hotel and finally wound up saying "aquarium", which he thankfully understood. He took me to the aquarium and was kind enough to give me a discount on the taxi charge because of the miscommunication, which I thought was very nice of him, but needless to say, this was not a particularly good taxi experience for me. This also happened to be the night that I got lost by the way - trying to find my way back to the Botel proved more difficult than I had imagined, and even when I could see the motel rising in the distance, I still got lost along the sidestreets trying to find my way to it. Epic fail.

Bus - I have yet to ride a bus in Busan. I was supposed to ride a bus during my third visit there in order to get to Taejongdae, but this ended up being an absolute fail. This was purely because I couldn't find the bus stop! I knew the bus that I was supposed to climb on, I knew the road that it was supposed to drive on, but finding a bus stop was an absolute fail, and as I was tired from walking around all day and sweating profusely from the heat, my quest was not long-lived. So I cannot really tell you what riding the bus in Busan is like, but I can tell you it's difficult to get on one.

Busan is a pretty big city, and even after going there three times, I still haven't been able to do everything that I wanted to. But here is a list of things that you can see and do in Busan.

Busan Tower - The most obvious stop during any trip to Busan, the tower has spectacular views of every area of the city. 120m high, the building is air-conditioned (a huge relief during the summer months) and there is a marketplace on the ground floor selling touristy bits and bobs for reasonable prices - a great place to look for gifts for your return trip home. Outside the tower are a few traditional Korean games that you can play and two convenience stores. The tower is situated in the middle of a park which looked rather lovely, and if you have the time I would recommend walking through it. I, however, did not, and therefore cannot give too much advise on this matter.

Fee: Around 4,000 won
Subway station: Nampo-dong (do not confuse with Napo-dong)

Forty Steps - The 40 steps or "sa-ship gyedan" is an area in Busan that was restored to it's post-Korean war state. What this basically means is that the streets are cobbled, the streetlights are wooden and there are statues spread throughout the few blocks that are included in this area. I didn't find the area to be too interesting, but there was a museum and there were a couple of statues that allowed for some good photo opportunities, so I would recommed making a short stop here, especially as it is a short walk from Busan Tower. If you are walking to the 40 steps, it can be rather confusing and difficult to find. If you get off at the right subway exit, it is right in front of you

Fee: Free
Subway station: Jungang-dong, exit 13.

Jagalchi Fish Market - Though I will admit to not being fond of the idea of a market entirely revolving around the selling of fish, I will admit to finding this market place absolutely fascinating. There are fish that you will never have seen before in your life, fish of all shapes and forms and in all stages of being cooked and eaten, and once again it is a perfect photo opportunity. I liked the area so much and had so much fun that I ended up going there twice! Also, contrary to my expectations, the area did not smell particularly fishy, and that was a rather pleasant surprise. If you are hungry, there is a restaurant that serves all the fish that you see in the market and you can pick one out for yourself. Be careful to ask for a price though, as you do not want to be surprised later.

Fee: Free (unless you eat lunch)
Subway station: Jagalchi

Ferry from Napo-dong to Haeundae - If you are tired after a day of running around and just want to relax for awhile but still take in the sites and sounds of Busan, I would recommend taking a ferry. Ferries run between Napo-dong (in walking distance of Jagalchi Fish Market, 40 Steps and Busan Tower) and Haeundae beach on a regular basis. The ferry terminals can be difficult to find, but a taxi should be able to take you there if need be. I would not recommend walking, as it is very easy to get lost.

Fee: 80,000 for an hour and a half trip to the opposite ferry station or 120,000 for a round trip ending at the same ferry station.

Haeundae - Haeundae Beach is a very popular area in Busan and one of the main reasons for visiting the city. In summer, it is difficult to find a place on the packed beach and restaurants along the beach front are crowded. It is possible to rent a jet ski or go on a banana boat ride from the ferry terminal, and there is a busy nightlife if that is your scene.

Haeundae Aquarium - Located on the Haeundae beach front, the aquarium is quite unique in that it is located almost entirely underground. Though it does not really compare to the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town, it is still a fun activity to do while in Busan and a fun way to spend a couple of hours. They also offer shark dives if that is your kind of thing.

Fee: 22,000 with extra costs for things like shark dives or a 3D movie experience.
Subway station: Haeundae

Rock n Roll Bar - also located on the beach front, this bar which serves mediocre Mexican food and cheap cocktails also has a spectacular view of the city. I would recommend paying a visit to the bar at night when the city lights are shining away.
Fee: 3,000 won and up for cocktails; around 8,000 for a meal.
Subway station: Haeundae

Yong-gunsa Temple - A uniquely located temple that overlooks the sea. Most temples in Korea are situated in the mountains and require a hike to get to them. Yong-gunsa is not one of these temples, and is the only temple in Korea to be located along a coastline. This provides beautiful, scenic views and a wonderful sense of calm. The temple itself can get fairly busy, so I would recommend visiting it early in the morning before the crowds start arriving. There is no subway nearby, so your best bet would be getting a subway to Jangsan station and finding a taxi there to take you to the temple itself.

Fee: Free, though you might want to contribute a donation
Subway station: Jangsan and taxi-it-up the rest of the way.

Gwangan "Diamond" Bridge - Easily seen from Gwangalli beach, this bridge is nicknamed the "Diamond" bridge because of the way that it lights up at night. This is definitely an area that you want to visit at nighttime, as it is not nearly as beautiful during the day. Gwangalli beach is smaller and less popular than Haeundae, but the view of the bridge at night is a must-see in my opinion. There are also a number of good bars and restaurants along the beachfront, many of which are Western oriented and tourist-friendly. I have it on good authority that this is the place to go if you want to go out in Busan.

Fee: Free
Subway station: Geumnyeonsan

Museum of Modern Art - If art and sophistication are your kind of thing, then you may want to pay a visit to Busan's Museum of Modern Art. They often have special exhibits that you can pay a little extra to visit, however I did not opt to do this on my visit. Instead, I walked around the museum taking in the artwork and it was a calming way to spend an hour or two of the afternoon.

Fee: Around 7,000 won
Subway station: Busan Museum of Modern Art

China Town - Also known as Choryang Foreigner Shopping Area, this area is filled with authentic Chinese restaurants and restored houses that hold hidden treasures of books and ornaments. This China-town is also a bit of a Russia-town, and the other foreigners that you find here will usually be Russian or speak Russian-tainted English. There are statues and lanterns spread around the area and it is rather picturesque, so once again, I would recommend making a stop here.

Fee: Free
Subway station: Busan Station

As I said earlier, even three visits is not enough to see everything that there is in Busan and there were a few things that I would have liked to see and experience that I didn't get the chance to. Here are some of them:

Shinsegae - Busan houses the largest department store in the world, and I would have liked to visit that even if it was just to have my photo taken outside of it. Unfortunately, time was of the essence and I did not have a chance to visit the store or even have my picture taken. Boo.

Pusan International Film Festival - An annual event, this film festival attracts foreigners from around Korea to participate in the festival which is often marked by a spectacular fireforks display.

Napo-dong market - Me and my shopping, right? Well this market is located between Busan Tower and Jagalchi Fish Market, so if it isn't too hot and you can muster up the energy, I would recommend walking through it rather than taking the subway between the two places. Unfortunately, the day that I visited Busan Tower was just too hot, and we opted for the air-conditioning over the shopping.

Taejongdae - This area is supposed to house easy hiking trails and spectacular views. It is said that on a clear day you can see one of the Japanese islands from the Observatory. There is also a great view from Suicide Rocks which is protected by a giant statue of a woman who is supposed to represent a mother to prevent people from jumping to their choppy deaths into the sea below.

And so, that is Busan. If you are thinking of visiting the city and would like some more information about it, read this personal account of one of my weekends there, or feel free to ask questions in the comments.
So when I first arrived here, I made a bucket list of all the things that I wanted to get up to in Korea. And with time now running out (15 days!) I thought that would be a good time to revisit that list now and see what I managed to do and what I failed at.

  1. Visit Jeju-do. The idea was that, since I had put Jeju-do down as my first choice of location, I should have at least visited the island. Unfortunately, that just never worked out the way that I had hoped. I wanted to visit it when Grant was here to make his trip special, but by the time we got around to booking his flights, there were no flights to the island and no accomodation that could be booked online. Though we could have risked it and seen what we could find when we got there, I didn't want to take any chances. By the time he left, the seasons were changing and the idea of going to a tropical island in Autumn with the cold weather was just not as appealing. So sadly, this dream never came to fruition.

  2. Go to at least one city in every province. My Jeju failure already ruled this out as a possibility, however Jeju was not the only province that I didn't end up visiting. So out of the nine provinces, I ended up visiting seven.
    Gyeonggi-do: I visited Icheon, Incheon, Osan, Seoul and Seongnam.
    Gangwon-do: I visited
    Chuncheon and Wonju.
    Chungcheongnam-do: I visited
    Daejeon and Boryeong.
    Chungcheongbuk-do: I live in
    Cheongju and visited Chungju.
    Gyeongsangbuk-do: I visited Mungyeong (and am totally counting this even though I was only on the border - the six hours it took me to hike up and down are counting dammit!)
    Gyeongsandnam-do: I visited Busan and
    Jeollabuk-do: Sadly not even a border visit here.
    Jeollanam-do: I visited
    Gwangju and Muan.
    Jeju-do: See above.

  3. Have a conversation with a taxi-driver in Korean. The idea behind this one was that a taxi-driver would be more open to having a conversation in Korean with me than anyone else. Though I have not yet managed to have a decent conversation with one in Korean, I have managed to have some conversations that involved my broken Korean and their broken English combining to allow for an understanding. I think this is a partial success, and I don't really think I could have expected more from my limited time here.

  4. Earn some money. So, as I said before, my trip to Korea was not intended to be a saving one. I came here to travel and to have fun. But, as I also said before, I also wanted to leave with a small amount of savings. I think that it is safe to say that I am going to be leaving with a very small amount saved - the small amount being my last pay check, my severance pay and my exit allowance. I have been terrible about saving money, to be honest, but I blame a lot of that on the purchases of laptops, cameras, Thai holidays and a return ticket to South Africa for Grant. So, overall I think the fact that I managed to keep any money without going into debt (I do still owe my father R7000 after all, and that amount is not being included in my savings) is a success.

  5. Learn to play the guitar. A couple of weeks ago, I would have written this off as a fail. I hadn't picked up my guitar in months. And then, I decided to see how much I remembered and found that (though I am still struggling to hold the strings down a little) I have remembered most of the chords that I learned and still have the strumming down. I could also recall some songs from memory and managed to tune the guitar all by myself, which I was particularly proud of. I am taking this as a success even though I still need to do some work on it, and I'm looking forward to coming home and practicing some more on Cherie's guitar.

  6. Write mass e-mails on a regular basis. Though I have not been posting them anywhere, I have succeeded in writing mass e-mails on a fortnightly basis. There have been a few slip ups where I have written after three weeks rather than two, but I have written 36 e-mails over the course of the year, and I think that definitely makes this a success.

  7. Write. I am a journalist through and through. There is no denying it for me. And my favourite form of journalism has always been writing. So, when I came to Korea, I made a resolution to write. A lot. E-mails, blogs, book reviews, short stories, articles, whatever I could think of, I was going to write it. And I did. Not only did I manage to keep three blogs going (though the third was a bit of a fail as I do not update it as often as I should), but I also wrote a number of short stories, got an article published and managed to start writing two different books that I hope to further and finish at some point in my lifetime (I have this really bad habit of starting to write books and never finishing them.) I am counting this as a success, thank you very much.

  8. Make a Korean friend. I am pleased to say that this aim has definitely been achieved. Though I won't go namedropping, I have made a few Korean friends over the time that I have been here. Though I wouldn't say that any of them are best friends, they are certainly people that I would call up to have a drink with after a rough day, and that's just what I wanted out of the exactly what I wanted out of the experience - someone that I feel comfortable talking to and look forward to hanging out with.

  9. Hike. I did do a little it of hiking, but not as much as I would have liked. I missioned up Mungyeong Saejae and I braved Sandang Sangseong, but I still feel like this aim hasn't been as much of a success as I would have liked. So I am only counting this one as a partial success.

  10. Take pictures. Okay. I don't think anyone could deny that this was a success. I have taken a ridiculous number of photos, especially since acquiring my baby. My obsession with taken photos has moved beyond a hobby, and at the moment I am considering making some money from it. So look out world! Here comes Lara the photographer!!!

  11. Go somewhere else in Asia. My Thai trip solidifies this aim as a success, and though I would have loved to travel some more in Asia (China was supposed to have been on the cards), money and time just wouldn't allow it. I do still have a 9-hour stop-over in Kuala Lampur to experience (which I am totally going to count as going somewhere else in Asia) and the idea of doing an Eat, Pray, Love-esque trip with Jess is still in the back of my mind for about ten years in the future.

  12. Find a Dr Fish. This also came very close to being a fail, but thanks to Jess, Shaina and Geri, we managed to make it a success by taking a trip to Osan last weekend and experiencing the fishy goodness for ourselves. Joy!

And that is the run down of my bucket list. I am feeling pretty good about it - 8 successes, 2 partial successes and only 2 failures. With only 15 days left, I doubt that I am going to manage much more than I already have (a trip to Jeju-do is certainly out of the question), and so I feel safe to say that this is the summation of my bucket list. I quite enjoyed having aims to live up to though, and am thinking of making a number of different bucket lists - photography, yearly and lifelong. Look out for them!

My last blogpost was about all the things that I am going to miss about Korea, and I realized while writing it that I was looking at South Africa in quite a negative way. I have always considered myself a proud South African, and I believe that every country has it’s problems. Korea certainly does – look at the situation between North and South if you have any doubt. Sure, I have never felt threatened by it, but it is an ongoing situation where war could break out at any time with little provocation. In any case, there are a whole bunch of things that I am looking forward to about going back home as well, so I thought that I would take the time to write those down as well.

  1. Flying. Since this is the first thing that I am going to experience on returning to South Africa (as I will, of course, be returning by air), I thought that I would start here. I love flying, and I think I always have (though my dad might dispute this due to an experience when I was three years old – really, Dad? Are you going to blame me for something I had no control of?) I am going to enjoy being able to fly on a regular basis (and by regular, I mean at least two return trips a year, as there are always trips to Joburg or Cape Town to take into consideration.) Basically, I am going to enjoy being in a country that is big enough to fly, rather than drive, around.

  2. Driving. That being said, I am really looking forward to driving. I can’t wait! I have got itchy fingers just thinking about it, wanting to take hold of a clutch and steering wheel. I may not be particularly good at it (look at my track record of silly incidents for proof of this), but I enjoy it. I like being out on the open road, getting up to speeds of 160km/h as I am listening to my own music and belting it out in the empty car for no one to hear. I like road trips. They are far more fun than being cooped up in a bus or taxi, trying to be quiet and polite and respectful. Driving = freedom in my books!

  3. Sea. I can’t wait to be close to the sea! The ocean is about a half hour’s drive from where I stay in both Cape Town and Grahamstown, and I am looking forward to not having to sit still for a 3 hour bus ride and another half hour subway ride to get there! I also can’t wait to don a bikini without feeling a. like a great white whale and b. like a whale that is being stared at for showing so much skin. I am particularly looking forward to the beach because I will be able to go there when I arrive in South Africa. Because guess what? It’s SUMMER! Robyn – if you are reading this, prepare yourself for a trip to our special Boulder’s Beach.
    Picture: Boulder' Beach in Simonstown. Found on Google.

  4. Golf courses. I am going to love seeing normal golf courses instead of these silly drive in ranges that they have here. I’m sorry, but hitting a golf ball into a giant green net is not the same as standing on a giant grass plain and hitting it as hard as you can until you cannot see it anymore. Not that I want to play golf. No, you misunderstand. I just want to look at the golf course. Korea isn’t fooling anyone with these drive in ranges, golf courses are a hundred and twenty times prettier! My longing to see a golf course also has to do with visualizing the SPACE that there is in South Africa. Everything in Korea is so cooped up and tightly wound that I just want a chance to see a space that has no purpose except to hit golf balls. It’s going to be great.
    Picture: Welgemoed Golf Course (the one that I live on in Cape Town). Found on Google.

  5. Houses. I am dying to be in an actual house rather than a flat (Americans, read apartment). Once again, this has to do with the concept of having space. Everything in my apartment is so close together – the hallway doubles as a kitchen, the bathroom is right next to it, my room on the other side which doubles as a lounge and part of my kitchen (since the fridge has to live there), the washing room leading on from that. Everything is so close together and I’m looking forward to separating it again. I am looking forward to having an actual KITCHEN rather than a hallway that doubles as one. I am looking forward to having a lounge that is separate from my bedroom. I am looking forward to branching out.

  6. Pets. I mentioned in the last blog how much I love Cat Cafés, and I do! But I am still really looking forward to being able to keep a pet. I can’t wait to come home and spend some time with each of my mother’s cats before returning to Grahamstown and getting in some quality time with Puddims. I want to be able to wake up in the morning to a cat sleeping on top of me. I want to have one to pick up whenever I feel like it or look at whenever I need some cheering up, and unfortunately that is where the Cat Cafés fall short. It is great to spend time with pets, but it’s even better to own them.

  7. Living with other people. Also in the last blog, I wrote about how much I am going to miss living on my own. But what I didn’t write about was how much I am going to enjoy living with other people again. I can’t wait to wake up in the morning and walk into a kitchen full of people. Even more than that, I can’t wait to wake up next to someone again. I am really looking forward to being around other people. Sure, I can appreciate alone time every now and then, but I can also appreciate time spent with the people that you love, people that make you happy. So yay for living with other people!
    Picture: Me with Richard and Michael - two of my housemates from 2008-2009. Taken by Genny.

  8. Maids. This is one of the things that I have missed most of all while being in Korea. I am a slob. There. I said it. I tend to be very messy when living on my own – clothes strewn everywhere, dishes uncleaned, laundry piling up until I have no choice but to do it. I am really looking forward to having someone to help me clean up. The mere fact that someone else is responsible for my mess tends to make me a bit better about cleaning up after myself. I don’t want this woman to think I am disgusting, nor do I want her to have to do my dirty work or go beyond the call of duty to clean up after me. I just want someone to help out when it is difficult to keep things in order, and I am really looking forward to that!

  9. Cooking. I don’t get around to doing it much here, but I do rather enjoy cooking. The trouble in Korea is that I find it far too difficult and far too expensive cooking for one. I never know the right amounts, and though I can cook something and have leftovers for lunch later, I tend to not want the left overs the next day or the next or the next until they are too old to actually be eaten. Cooking back home is a different case entirely. Cooking for my family or cooking for Grant and Jono involves cooking for at least three people and leftovers are never a problem, since someone is always around to eat them. I am also really looking forward to getting my hands on an oven and baking something, though this is not something that I have been particularly good at before. Wish me luck!

  10. Grocery shopping. I hate grocery shopping in Korea. There is so much food and so many choices, and yet they are all the same and it is difficult to find something that I actually want. Take lettuce for example – ten different kinds of lettuce, but no plain iceberg which is the only kind that I like to eat. *Sigh* I can’t wait to get to a Pick n Pay and grab just about everything in the shop simply because I know what they are!!! I also can’t wait to make a proper bolognaise – I am not particularly fond of pork mince, and that is that only kind that they have in Korea. Also, frozen veggies. Who would have thought that I would miss frozen veggies? Well I do!!!

  11. Western food. I am looking forward to being in a country where Western food is the standard. Where I don’t feel guilty about going out for some Italian, and where not all Western food comes smothered in grease and oil and far. I have struggled to find good, healthy Western food here. I miss grilled chicken instead of having it fried to death! Sure, I am going to miss a lot of Korean foods, but I am going to love being able to order something without wondering if I am going to choke from the spiciness. I have managed fairly well in Korea, and my spice resistance has increased, but I still prefer things to be mild, and I am looking forward to knowing that most things will be.
    Picture: Kauai take-aways in Cape Town. Found on Google.

  12. Tea. I am very Very VERY much looking forward to a good cup of tea. I am a tea-lover. Some people drink coffee, I always choose tea. I like all different kinds of tea and have embraced a number of them, including green tea, while I’ve been in Korea. But, while I am certainly a tea-lover, I am nothing compared to my mother who has about six cups a day, if not more! And nothing that I have tried in Korea has compared to the tea that my mommy makes. I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s the particular brand that she uses. Whatever it is, her tea is so much better than anywhere else and I cannot wait to have a cup of it. Or six as the case may be.

  13. Braaing. I don’t want to be the one doing it, but I definitely want to be the one benefiting from it! I want to have a braai! With boerewors!!! And chicken and lamb chops and steaks and all the other yummy delicious things that come with braais. When I’m with my parents, this includes sadza (mielie pap/corn meal) and when I’m with Grant it includes potato salad (the real kind). Whatever the sidedishes are, I don’t really mind! I just want to have one! I want to sit around the braai with the boys cooking and the girls chatting and just bask in the afternoon sunlight. The thought of this is making my mouth water, so I am just going to stop right there.

  14. Afrikaans. I have never been particularly good at speaking Afrikaans. Writing it, sure. Reading it, sure. Speaking it? Not so much. I apparently have a terrible Afrikaans accent and I avoid using it where I can. But since Claudell’s visit, I have been eating, breathing and sleeping Afrikaans – quite literally, I wake up and my thoughts are all in Afrikaans. I am looking forward to being around Afrikaans speakers even if I am not speaking it myself. I am looking forward to hearing it being spoken around me and actually knowing that this is a different language that I CAN speak (unlike Korean). I look forward to being able to understand people in another language, and being able to communicate no matter where I go.

  15. South African phrases. “I will see you just now.” It always slips out without my thinking about it and the responses range from amusement to confusion to utter rage. You’d think that my friends would have gotten used to it by now, but some still haven’t and find it very frustrating when I use it. I am looking forward to being able to use phrases like “just now”, “hectic” and adding “hey” onto the ends of sentences without being judged for doing so. I am looking forward to people understanding that when I say “I will see you just now”, I do not mean right now. I mean in a little bit. I am looking forward to not having to explain that to people everytime I use it, because South Africans don’t need it explained to them – it is as engrained in their consciousness as it is in mine.

  16. Blending in. I am looking forward to not being the odd one out, the stranger, the waygook. I can’t wait to just blend into the crowd and have no one notice what I am wearing or what my hair looks like on any particular day. I am looking forward to just being a part of the crowd and not having people double take or point or whisper. I am sure that I will miss it after a couple of weeks, that I will want a bit of attention, but I have had too much of it in Korea, and, for the moment at least, I can’t wait to just disappear.

  17. Normal. More than just blending in, I can’t wait to be seen as normal. This goes beyond just blending into a crowd and will relate to my next topic as well. I want to be seen as being of a normal weight. I don’t want to be told when I walk into a shop that nothing will fit me because I am too big. Koreans are tiny, I know this, but there are still some Koreans who are my size. I have seen them! They exist! I know it! And I very much doubt that they are treated in the same way as foreigners when they wander into a Korean store. I have given up shopping at boutiques (at least for clothes), because of the number of times that I have been kicked out moments after stepping through the door. I can’t wait to walk into a shop and reach for the medium sizes rather than the biggest size that they have. I just want to be seen as normal rather than huge.

  18. Shopping malls. I can’t wait to waltz into a shopping mall and be able to try on something at almost all of the clothing stores. Sure, I may not be able to BUY it because it might be outside of my price range, but the fact that I can fit into it will be great. I can’t wait to visit shoe stores where a size 6 is the average size rather than the largest they’ve got. I can’t wait to wander through a shopping centre (one that is covered rather than just a street of shops) and actually be able to walk into places without being TOLD to leave. I wasn’t a shopaholic before I came here, but I have developed this shopping habit while I’ve been here, and I think that it can be furthered in a far more positive fashion (while spending far less) in South Africa.
    Picture: Canal Walk Shopping Centre. Found on Google.

  19. Familiarity. In Grahamstown, I am recognized. It isn’t the same as being recognized here, where when a student sees me, they will fall over themselves trying to make sure that this really is Lala teacher. Grahamstown is a small town, and if the people there don’t know me, they often know Grant and will refer to me as Grant’s girlfriend and walk up and say hi. We’ll chat about random little things and then we’ll go our separate ways, happy to have made the brief exchange. In Grahamstown, everyone is familiar. It is like a giant extended family and I love that and can’t wait to be a part of it again.

  20. Catching up. I can’t wait to have a catch up with my good friends. A year is a long time, and even those friends that I have stayed in good contact with have only told me the here and now of what is happening in their lives. I want to see the bigger picture. I want to learn of their experiences over the last year and I want to be able to share mine with them. I can’t wait for the coffees, lunches and dinners to start where I just get to spend time with my friends chatting about the last year and getting up to date on each other’s lives.

So there are twenty of the things that I am looking forward to back in South Africa. There are things that I am going to miss about Korea, but there are also things that I love about South Africa and can’t wait to get back to. Not everything is bad, after all.

As a side note: All but one of the pictures in this blog were found on Google. Most of them are just random pictures relating to the text. If the picture has specific importance, I have explained it beneath.
Labels: 1 comments | edit post