It's fair to say I dragged out my Korean farewell longer than I should have. Certainly didn't help my state of mind. I had three farewell parties in the space of five days - four if you count the last day of school. Five if you count the girl I've been seeing. The events of the week were great fun, but the feelings when I saw each person turn and walk away for the final time for the forseeable future is not something I want to occur on a regular basis, and not something I would wish on even the most evil and despicable human being.
This blog should have been called 'the first bungee'. In fact it was the second epic failure on the jumping front. Which sucked, as we had planned this for weeks. Months, even. But who knew that snow made a bungee jump dangerous? The first weekend of snow in Seoul - I guess I was never meant to bungee there. Some other country. And besides, snow is pretty cool. Even though we don't look like we're enjoying it.
I could have called this the first brain haemorraege. I'm fine, by the way. It's not related to how we felt after the morning we'd had. It's the name of a shot I was purchased in Itaewon at about 2.30pm (well what else are you going to do to cheer yourselves up after waking up at 6am to go to a bungee which then didn't happen). Looks crazy, but actually tasted really nice.
So this was farewell numero uno. The Seoul edition. We evoked memories of the summer with a Sechuan hotpot, before drinking and singing the night away. It was a lot of fun. Even though we were annoyed about the bungee, we all agreed that it was one of the best nights we've had in a while. I didn't cry. I came mighty close when saying bye to Jon, but I held it together. And fell asleep on the subway, got to Incheon and then almost got back into Seoul before waking up. Magic.
My one Monday class adorably made me a cake out of choco pies. Complete with candle which had a paper flame. I was quite impressed that I blew that out. Also impressed with the volume of messages once again scribbled on the board. It seems some of the students became quite attached to me. And then onto farewell number two. The Bucheon chapter. I knew I wasn't saying bye to Kelly on this night, so this was delaying what could have been the most horrible aspect of this event. Still, it was hard to say bye to a lot of people who I have come to know and love over the past year. Especially those who helped me settle and were there when I needed to get away from Siheung. Really good bulgogi and drinks - happy days.
Final day of school was the following day, the Tuesday. I had two classes. As I was walking to the first I saw three of my female students outside the building. They told me to wait. Why, I ask. 'Teacher, girls get changed - BAD'. Fair enough. Outrageous lie, but at least they said it in English. Another not-so-surprise party then. They made me a big goodbye poster, and all was well with the world. My camera, having been broken and in a Samsung factory for the previous week, was back to its happy-snappy self, so pictures ahoy.
I walked around the school for most of the day with my Wales and Korea flags. Almost every teacher was forced to sign my Taegukki - that be the Korean one, then - and then take photos with both. Problem is all the teachers signed the wrong side of the flag, so when I hang it up at home it will be the wrong way round. Though to be fair the Wales flag is also backwards in about half of the pictures, so I can't hammer them too much. We had a teachers' lunch where I was presented with a cake. Later, my office presented me with...a cake. Of the ice cream kind. I also received various visits from students, numerous hugs, a sheath for archery arrows, and a Park Ji-sung flag. I love my students. I love Sorae high school. Never forget.
I didn't want to leave, but I had to as I was meeting Cho-long later that night. Again, a torturous goodbye. Receiving a text from her on Thursday saying 'I love you' didn't really help my journey to the airport. I hate goodbyes. Yet still had more to do. The final night. The last supper. Ddak galbi, my favourite. The final drinking session. Garten bier - stick to what you know. The final noraebang. The last emotional hugs. So long. Farewell. And that's it. One. Year. Finishee.
This is a rather factual, rather blazé blog. I wrote a rather more heartfelt, emotional piece on the plane. That's what you'll get next time. My views on Korea. My feelings on leaving. Who knows - maybe my little Welsh heart will temporarily bloom to be slightly bigger than a pea.
Love you all