Friday night, our last night in Busan all together was so great. We met at the main gate at 5:30 to ride to the restaurant where the farewell dinner was held. I think everyone was impressed that I owned something other than Nike shorts and t-shirts. Bought a really cute brown dress and heels the day before to wear. It was a hit needless to say. When we arrived at the restaurant we went into the dining hall. JiHyun and I sat with Lee, Young, Vinson, Jens, Min Yum and Kevin. The Vice President of International Affairs spoke and gave a toast. Karen, the U of H representative did also. After a nice meal it was picture time. Everyone got one last group picture. After we finished eating and drinking there we moved to another area of the restaurant that was a bar/karaoke room. It was rented just for us. Being one of the first ones in there I decided to get the party started. So I turned on “Brown Eyed Girl” and attempted to shag by myself.
The whole time the group told me I needed to sing “Sweet Home Alabama” so I finally broke down and did. I did change the lyrics to “Sweet Home Korea” though. We all danced and sang to Korean songs and old school songs like Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls. It was a great way to spend our last few hours all-together. We left the party at 10 to walk back to the bus station. Robbie and Tom decided they were going to the clubs at Haeundae. While the rest of us had one last hike together. At the bus stop the tears started. We all cried and hugged each other. It was very emotional. After spending 4 weeks together day and night, hours upon hours, at least 283 to exact according to our certificates, it is very hard to leave someone cold turkey. We all have such an amazing bond. But I know that is not the last time I will see my Korean friends. After missing one bus due to everyone crying and saying good-bye we got on the last bus of the night. Rachel, Allie, Lauren, Lane, Ziv, Daniel and I rode back to campus together. After climbing the steps to the dorm one last time we said our good-byes.
Since Melissa had already moved her stuff out Lauren slept in the room with Lane and I. it was fun to have a slumber party on the last night. After sleeping in on our last morning in Busan we decided to go to 24 to eat lunch. It was the first restaurant we ate at with the group, it was only proper to end it eating there as well. After zipping up our bags and weighing them in the gym we drug them down the 93 steps to wait on our buddies. Noreen and Daniel rode to the train subway station with us. It was nice to get to spend the last few minutes in Busan with them.
We were running late so we didn’t have time for a proper good-bye, which made it a little easier. I still cried like a baby though. My buddy, JiHyun, was the perfect match for me. We understood each other and got along so well. I am really going to miss her. The other girl buddies greeted us when we got to the Busan train station. They all got on the train with us to find our seats and tell us bye. I got a bracelet from Kang SuJin that she made for me, I love it. And JiHyun gave me a nice chopstick set. It was very sad watching the buddies as our train drove away.
And so this is where our long, and I mean long journey home began. A 2.5 hour train ride to Seoul train station. When we arrived to Seoul I looked for the buses to Incheon but after searching I could not find them. Lane and I then decided to check on a train to Incheon Airport. We decided that would be the best option. We all ate Lotteria one last time and then boarded the train for the airport. When we got to the airport we had to find our way to the check in area. When we finally found it we were informed we could not check in until 6:55 am. So this meant we had to sleep in the check in area.
Lets just say granite floors are not comfortable. After the long sleepless night we got checked in and made our way to the terminal. We met some army guys while waiting at the check in desk. One was from Savannah and had been stationed in Seoul for 26 months. It was kind of nice to hear a Southern guys voice. He said all he wanted was his mama’s sweet tea and Chickfilla. The flight to Tokyo was good and short. After landing we went thought immigration and customs. We then were once again faced with getting from one airport to another. Lane and I made the executive decision that we would take a bus this time. It only took a little over an hour. But we didn’t see much of Tokyo except the Disney park there.
When we got to Haneda we were informed that we could not check in until 3 hours before our flight. So that meant night 2 of sleeping in the check in area of an airport. We decided to make the best of it. We found a good restaurant and had a decent meal and then set up camp. My computer charger quit working so I had to borrow Lane’s computer or phone to get on wi-fi because my phone also quit working while in Busan. We all slept but only for around 2 hours. Luckily this airport had padded benches so sleeping was a little easier. It was finally 4 am and we could check in. after hours and hours of sitting and waiting around it finally felt as if we were really going home. I was asleep before we even got off the ground. I slept at least 8 hours of the flight. I was purely exhausted from lack of sleep and mentally drained from making sure we got to where we needed to be for everything.
After the long flight we landed in Detroit. Going through customs there was not fun because we had so many people on our flight. But once we got our passport checked it was easy. I then found the gate we needed to be at. The hour and a half flight to Atlanta was good because I got to watch the Today Show. When we landed in Atlanta I had my game face on, which I had on the entire time, but Atlanta airport is very scary to those who have never been in there. I guided the other girls through the airport on the train and to our concourse. Our flight from Atlanta to Greenville was very short, we were only in the air for around 30 minutes. After landing Lane’s mom greeted us and we went to collect our luggage. The amazing journey that was 60 hours long was finally over with.
I miss everyone in Busan so much. I hope to return one day very soon. Ms. Na told me that Dr. Ball and the Governor may be visiting this school year and that I was invited. I really hope this goes through. I want to do what ever I can to make relations with Lander and Dong-A the best they can be. I would love to work in Busan someday, but I will need to work on my Korean. I am so grateful for this opportunity and I will never forget my summer in Korea!!!