Korea Diary | Teary Goodbyes (Day 50)

6:31:00 PM mandy 0 Comments

Highs are typically followed by lows. Good things usually come to an inevitable end. Despite having the photos for this final post in draft for a month (if not more), I couldn't find the words to say goodbye to that chapter of my life (even though I am 2 years late at it already). To say I am not good with goodbyes is a terrible understatement. Whether it was 2 years ago in the lobby of SK Global House with newfound friends or currently at home with this blog post, my emotions run high.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - SK Global House packing time and final hangout all-nighter

There was not a moment to waste after my friends and I got back to the dorms after our Korean spa visit. We had to have our bags packed and rooms cleaned by morning so that we could have the required check-out inspection done in time.

I was surprised that I was able to fit all my beauty purchases into the biggest 29" suitcase that I had brought. Shoes, schoolbooks, and miscellaneous items fit a carry-on 21" sized suitcase perfectly. While all the clothes I had filled a medium sized Nike duffel to the brim. Getting all my belongings to fit was one problem solved. The next hurdles were to figure out whether or not any were overweight and how I would navigate around with 3 bags as opposed to the original 2.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Surprise birthday celebration

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Surprise birthday celebration Paris Baguette cake

In the midst of tidying, everyone ignored all rules (i.e. no boys after night) and gathered in the lounge. Routine hall inspections by security meant hiding out in dorm rooms for a bit. But what was the risk, we would get kicked out...on the last day?

Anyways, there was a good reason to the behavior. Remember the birthday event that we had planed? Sometime between 3AM and 7AM all of us gathered in one dorm suite to surprise our friend with a cake.

It was a much welcomed tidying break. Before the event, I think it was safe to say that a lot of us were pretty burnt out from just trying to make some sense of our luggage situation. Afterwards, I felt like I had newfound energy to finish clearing my room. Bestie C and I took our linens downstairs to the laundry room around mid-morning. The pile mountain of bed sheets, blankets, and pillows was unreal! But of course we should have gotten a hint judging by the flood of garbage and unwanted clothing in the lounge.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - SK Global House cleared dorm

Returning the linens meant we were ready for inspection. For us it was a quick and painless process; in, out, and OKed. Then it was goodbye to our dorm room forever.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Final goodbyes

The SK Global House lobby was hectic as everyone cleared their own rooms and met their friends to say goodbye. Even though I spent my entire night with all our friends perfectly fine and cheery, I was a hot mess the moment my brain finally took in the fact that we were all separating. I have always been the more emotional one so it wasn't a complete surprise that I ended up bawling. Social media and the internet may keep us connected but it wouldn't be the same as seeing everyone day in and day out.

Bestie C and I were the only ones in our group to immediately fly back home that night. The others were staying behind for an extra week or two to do some more exploring. Some were meeting up with family members who were flying in. Somehow it just worked out that most of our friends ended up staying in Korea and even the same guesthouse together for the rest of their summer. (I had tried to extend my stay as well but flights back to NYC were apparently packed until September!)

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Taxi ride to Incheon International Airport

Bestie C and I chose to leave on a night flight in order to make the most of our stay in Korea. When time came to it, we didn't end up doing much the last few hours anyways. I was an emotional mess, the weather was rainy, and we were both pretty tired. Things just didn't work out the way we imagined.

We helped the big group of friends load up their luggages and sent them off with hugs and byes. A few hours of recouping later, Bestie C and I grabbed a taxi and headed towards Incheon Airport ourselves. The potential headache of fitting our luggages into the sedan taxis thankfully never came. This particular taxi driver was super patient and nice. He somehow found a way to fit 5 suitcases, 1 duffel, 2 personal bags, and 2 passengers into the vehicle with him. Just like that we were on our way home.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Rainbow spotting and a delayed flight

The last anticipated hurdle I had to face was the weight of my suitcases. Despite the 29" suitcase still having free space, it was way over the maximum weight with all the Korean beauty goods that I amassed over the past 50 days. There was no reshuffling things between bags or tossing things out. At that point there was nothing I could do but pay the overage fee. On the positive note, at least I had the option to pay a fee instead of being told it was completely too heavy to fly.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Brightness after a storm

Who knew we would be faced with more issues once after that?

Due to some miscommunications, I ended up passing through security before Bestie C thinking that she was already inside. I actually somehow got permission from the security personnel to let me backtrack to the check-in area when I couldn't find her. They even gave me special permission to return via the faster "TSA Pre-check" equivalent lane once I located Bestie C.

We were both at the airport well before our scheduled departure time yet mother nature had other plans. The rain storm was heavy and relentless that day. It was inevitable that our flight ended up being delayed a bit. Luckily it wasn't by much and I think we even arrived back home around the expected time.

Seoul, Korea - Summer Study Abroad 2014 - Brightness after a storm

The homebound flight was a little easier than the Korea-bound one. No more worrying about being in a new place and being on such a long flight for the first time. I really wasn't homesick while studying abroad but I was definitely thinking about the comforts of home awaiting me after the flight.

Who knows when I would get to fly internationally or even get to go to Korea again, but whenever that would be, the experience would definitely not be the same as what those past 50 days were.