My Korean Boyfriend (Battle Group)
I had almost lost all hope of successfully surviving the rest of the school year and at the same keep my sanity, but when upon arriving home from school I was filled with joy to find a letter addressed to me with a return address that read "Korea". I couldn't believe that this was actually happening! For the past few months I had been applying to a study abroad group that was located in South Korea. Weeks went by and I waited and waited, wondering if they would ever receive my application. Thoughts and doubts constantly went through my mind like, "I wonder if they will even receive it, or bother to read it?", "Do I even have a chance of being accepted?", "If i get accepted, will people there like me?". I couldn't put a stop to my negative thoughts, but when i finally got a letter in the mail with the unbelievable news, the only thing i could think about was, "I'm going to Korea!"
** As I sat on the plane, the Korean Air attendant came on the intercom and announced that we would be arriving in approximately 45 minutes. After about 14 hours of an overnight flight from Chicago, and a few Korean movies that always seem to make me cry, I could finally see the land again, but this time it was South Korea. I had been to Korea once before when I was younger and I was never quite able to calm the burning passion and love I had developed for the country and its culture. I kept telling myself that one day I would move there, and today that was what was happening. Although the exchange program was only scheduled for one year, I would still be living in Korea, however regretful I may be to return back home.
** It felt good to step off the plane, through the walkway, and exit into the Incheon Airport. It wasn't very different from how I remembered it, still clean and lined with stores selling kpop albums and chocolates, all overpriced. But that's enough of the memories, I needed to get my luggage, before I lost track of it, because no matter how many Kdramas I watched I most definitely was not fluent in Korean and would have no way of asking for help.
** As I waited for my suitcases to come around on the conveyor belt, I looked around to find an exit. I was quite sleepy and out of my usual routine, because the time difference between my part of the US and Korea is about 12 whole hours, and the current time in Korea was somewhere around 4:30 am.
** With all my bags and belongings, I found myself the large crowd of people, which was quite safe to assume that was where I would be picked up. Before leaving I was given a short letter that gave me the basic instructions of this exchange program, and a rough layout of my arrival. On the list I had already checked of the "arrival" and "retrieve luggage", and next was "get picked up". The exchange program had arranged for an escort to get me to my dorm and the university campus. I assumed it would be a student themselves, but I really had no idea.
** Crowed among several other waiting exchange students, escorts, and travelers, I scanned the area for a sign with name on it. When I located the black letters spelling out my name, I was surprised to find it was held by a Korean boy. I thought for sure that a girl would assist me, but I was mistaken.
Apparently I had found my escort before he found me, for he didn't seem to involved in searching for me. As he stood there with one hand limply holding my sign, and other awkwardly place in his jacket pocket, he slowly glanced through the crowd. It was a little cute the way he awkwardly stood there as if he was waiting for someone...but he was, and that someone was me.
I decided to take the first move, since he did not seem very dedicated to his task. I walked up to him and said, "I think that is my name", and pointed at the piece of paper hanging at his side. His eyes followed my finger, then slowly back up to my face. Taking out his earphones he took my bags from my hands simply started walking off.
Shocked by the blunt and silent signal for me to follow, I quickly caught up with him, where I walked in awkward silence behind him. The truth was, I felt very uncomfortable and awkward around him. I had never been the type of person to fit in with the "populars" in school or be a member of the student council, and sadly to say i had never been on a date, so overall I knew that I was a very awkward person when it came to being around a member of the opposite gender, not to mention a fairly good looking young Korean college student.
I continued to follow him, excusing his silence for the possibility that he didn't speak English. We exited the airport, where I stopped in my tracks and inhaled a large breath of the air. My escort stopped and quietly asked me, "Is something wrong?". Partially embarrassed because of what my response would be and partially shocked by that fact that his English was quite good, I turned to him with a red face and quietly said, "It's just that...well...I'm breathing the same air as 2PM". To my surprise, a small smile appeared on him face, and he kept walking.
He signaled over a cab and place my luggage in the trunk, then came around and held the door open for me. Walking around to the other side, he sat himself on the opposite side of the car and instructed the driver in Korean.
** Driving through Seoul was so breathtaking and exciting that I could hardly pull my face away from the window. I had been to Korea before, but it had been Gwangju, which is a smaller city and I never had the chance to see any part of Seoul, pas the airport. While staring out the window, he broke the silence asking, "Are you hungry?". Because Korean air had supplied me with a rather yummy and sustainable rice porridge before we landed, I was not particularly hungry, but at the same time I was dying to eat some Korean food.
** We pulled up to a the edge sidewalk and we both got out, but too my surprise after talking to my escort, the taxi drove off with my luggage. Still shocked, my escort calmly turned me around to face the entrance of a Caffe Bene, and an immediate smile came to my face. I remembered the stylish and comfortable cafe chain from before. Upon entering, he led me to a small table and asked what I would like to have. I knew how amazing the shaved ice was, bet because this time it was fall, rather than summer, so I decided that I would have something warm. He opened the menu to the list of coffees, and I had to awkwardly tell him I couldn't drink that due to my religion, which seemed to shock him a bit. Instead he suggested a white vanilla bean chocolate, and he ordered himself a Mocha.
As we sat across from each other, the awkward atmosphere began to melt away. I learned that his name was Sun Woo and he was also attending the university that I was now enrolled in. We chatted and and seemed to get along quite well, so well that we forgot about our drinks. By the time our drinks had both gone cold we knew the basics about each other's lives, interests, hobbies, and other small things people talk about when meeting someone new. I also managed to get a few smiles out of him and he did the same with me. I couldn't help but think it was cute the way his slightly crooked front teeth stuck out, reminding me of a squirrel.
** As we finished our cold drinks we stepped out into the nippy fall air and started walking down the street. After asking where my luggage had gone, he told me that he sent it to the dorms so that we would not have to worry about it while we were out. It was then that the thought popped into me head, "This was the closest thing to a date that I had ever experienced", which suddenly made me blush. Luckily Sun Woo didn't seem to notice my red cheeks and led me toward some of the small side-street shops. I was so excited to find a huge selection of cute little hair-bows and socks that were only about a dollar each, that I didn't notice Sun Woo had disappeared. After paying for my bundle of cute accessories, I turned around and upon realizing he was gone, began to panic.
Looking from side to side with a frantic expression on my face I was almost on the brink of tears when I saw him walking towards me from around the corner. I was so relieved to see him and know that I was safe, that there was no room for anger in him abandoning me. "Why did you just disappear like that?" I asked him. He sheepishly placed a little phone charm accessory into my hand. "I thought you would like this, it looks a little bit like you.", he replied with a sad look on his face, "I didn't mean to frighten you." I looked down at the phone charm of a girl in my hand, and felt so touched. "Thanks", I said, "It's really cute, and I like it a lot". Bringing back a small smile to Sun Woo's face, I attached the charm to my phone, not mentioning how it seemed as if it was meant to be with another.
** Sun Woo and I walked around the crowded streets of Seoul, and eventually found ourselves sitting on a park bench, looking at the beautiful changing leaves, that lined the path.
"Here, its cold", Sun Woo said as he removed his jacket and placed it over my shoulders. Blushing, I turned to him to tell him that I was OK, and he should wear it, after all he only had a t-shirt on, but before the words could leave my mouth the pocket of his jacket began to vibrate.
I reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone, as i handed it to him I noticed the charm that was attached to it. A little boy phone charm was hanging from his phone as he talked, i couldn't help but think how similar it seemed to mine.
When Sun Woo finished talking on the phone, he turned to me, and with almost a hint of sadness in his eyes said, "We need to get you to your dorms".
** Like Sun Woo, I was sad to hear that I needed to leave, and our day together was coming to an end. He dropped me off at my dorm room, and gave me his cell number, telling me to call me when needed, or if I ever got bored.
As I closed the door to my dorm room i could almost feel my heart beating out of my chest. I had never spent so much time alone with a boy, and it had been a wonderful experience. I had no idea on how to handle my new fluttering emotions. You could say I was a college student who had the emotions and heart of a teenage girl with her first crush.