Tuesday, January 1, 2013

3...2...1... disappointment

Happy New Year everybody!!!!

I hope you all had an awesome time celebrating and that 2013 will be a year filled with only the happiest things. I'm sitting here at school desk warming and trying to get feeling in my fingers again, reflecting on the year past and the year that lies ahead. So what better than to blog about it :) *WARNING* It could get soppy up in here...

So let me tell you about my New Years Eve (NYE from now because aint nobody got time to type that out). As per everything this season in Korea, NYE doesn't appear to be that big of a deal. So Monday saw me at school, sitting through my first day of desk warming and thinking "oh ya, it's NYE tonight - who knew". We had decided to go to Seoul for the celebration...I had to work all day but some of the others set off early, and thankfully Nic waited for me, so we caught the 6pm bus outta here. Now I have to admit that I was less than enthusiastic about spending NYE in Seoul. I don't know why but that city can either be a brilliant success or an absolute disaster and in general, when it comes to nights out, it leans towards the latter. But I had begun to get excited and was looking forward to spending NYE in one of the most electric, vibrant cities in the world. We got in quite late as the traffic was mayhem and delayed our bus, and we still needed to catch a subway to Hongdae where out hostel was. We followed the internet directions which LIED to us and made us walk around the cold and icy roads (it's a skill not to fall) for too long before we got directions from our friends already there. I was starving and freezing and couldn't help thinking that this was exactly why I didn't want to come to Seoul - my sense of humor had totally disappeared. Once we got to the hostel though and I got some food in me I was feeling better and ready to face NYE!! Excitement was rising as we set out to go experience the famous 'bell ringing'. You can read about it here. After getting a bit lost and finding our way by luck, we saw the crowds and rejoiced at making it literally 10 minutes before midnight. They were tight on security and we had to speak nicely to some of the policemen to stay together (and by we I mean Jeanette who has a way of convincing people). There were some foreigners around and a really funny Korean man who kept trying to photo-bomb us, and although there were a ton of people there was none of the pushing and crushing that I would expect from home.

So the countdown started, in Korean, and we tried to keep up but got a bit lost and got to 1 when they were only on 2...but at the stoke of midnight, as the countdown ended there was a great burst of......nothing. We were the only excited ones it seemed, other than a couple of other foreigners who opened a bottle of champagne. No big hoo-ha, no fireworks, no confetti. Just a big fat sack of disappointment. Our Korean photo-bombing friend was the funniest thing - he turned to us after hearing us complain about the lack of fireworks and shouted "No fireworks? I know! What a *%#@ing disappointment!! Mother *%#@aaaaaaaaaa!" He was hilarious. And was expressing our thoughts exactly. After a bit of waiting around (we only heard the actual bell ring once or twice) we decided to try find the fun, and saw that behind us there were some Roman Candles (hand held mini fireworks/sparklers that Koreans love) going off, so those were our fireworks. The more people who bought them though, the prettier it looked (and scarier it became; I pictured myself being hit in the face with a stray shot) and I actually enjoyed seeing the small explosions. So I guess it wasn't SO bad. Afterwards, we had to catch the over crowded subway before it closed to get back to Hongdae where we had decided to party the night away. Cara wasn't feeling well so she went back and once we got to the hustle and bustle  of the craziness that is Hongdae, Nic and I decided to rather take a slow walk back and leave club "Naked" to the others ;) The next day we heard the stories from the night before (highly entertaining , trekked through one of the biggest snowfalls I've experienced and celebrated the new year with a meal at T.G.I Friday (the best ribs I've had in Korea) before heading back to Jecheon.

I know I make it sound like a disaster, and it was written a little tongue in cheek, but really it was a fun night thanks to the company we had and the way we made the most of the situation. We laughed a lot cos what else is there to do when your big NYE plans turn out to be a few random Koreans with Roman Candles :)

Nic and I
All of us awaiting the bell ringing 
2012 has been one of the most challenging but rewarding years of my life. I cannot believe that I made it this far: I have made a life for myself in a foreign country, worked my first 9-5 job in this country and made it work in a place where I have never ceased to feel completely out of place. This year has opened my eyes to what this world has to offer and just what I am capable of. It's allowed me to start this blog which I have loved doing and which has awoken my passion for writing which could lead to bigger things in the future. I feel like it has prepared me for anything that life might throw my way. I've learned how to cope with a completely different culture, to suck it up when times get tough and have realised just how much home and everything there means to me. 2012 has changed me forever - I will never be content to live an uninteresting life where I remain stagnant. I want to see more, do more, live more. I don't believe in New Years resolutions but hope that I will make the most of every opportunity given to me this year, and will remember to enjoy the simple things in life and stop taking things for granted. 2013 is the first year that I can honestly say I have no idea what is coming my way. And this is scary but exciting too. One of the biggest adventures of my life comes to an end next month but I know it's just one of many. Korea has given me so much, for which I will always be grateful.

The fact is though, I would never have made it through 2012 without the people around me. The friends I've made here are the kind I will miss dearly. I never expected to find people I'd get on so well with on the other side of the world. But I did and it's thanks to them that this year was what it was. I could not have done it without you - thank you for being my family away from home and for helping me make some of the most beautiful memories. And to my family and friends back home who have never ceased to support me from afar - your Skype calls, your messages of encouragement, the letters and emails are things that I appreciate more than you could ever know. It's difficult to keep in touch across time differences, but that never stopped you and I am so grateful. Needless to say I cannot wait to come home and catch up on all I've missed out.

So 2012 was real; it was growth and difficulty, adventure and learning. 2013 - I have no idea what you have in store for me - please be kind. But regardless of what comes my way, I'm ready for you and plan on making this year count. We're getting older kids, let's not waste what we have.

Peace and love.

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