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Seoul Searching: Seoul-ful arrival

23 February 2014 By Ellen Back, Columnist No Comments

After two intensive hours of blood, sweat and tears, I finally finished packing for my trip. It was a struggle but I somehow managed to get everything together. Although I ended up going over the 50lb weight limit, thankfully everything went smoothly at check in so I didn’t have to pay any extra charges. I have finally arrived! The 15-hour flight went faster than I expected. Since I didn’t get any rest the night before, I was able to catch up on my sleep during the ride here. Korean Air was very accommodating.

They provided three meals, snacks, a small pillow, a blanket and even some slippers to walk around the plane in. I was lucky to sit beside a nice old couple who shared their excitement for traveling to Vietnam for the second time. Walking around the Incheon airport, I was quickly impressed. After baggage claim, I met my cousin who helped me with my bags. He said I didn’t change a bit. I wasn’t sure if that was more of an insult or a compliment but I nodded and smiled regardless.

Right from the airport, we drove an hour to visit my grandmother in the nursing home. She was so surprised to see me! We shared happy tears together reminiscing in our memories and before I knew it, I had to leave for dinner at my uncle’s house. I plan to revisit my grandmother in the near future. Writing from the television-sized computer screen on the heated floors of my uncle’s house, it feels surreal to be here. This year was definitely the most hectic winter I have ever experienced but I am truly grateful for this amazing opportunity. The days of stressing over unanswered Yonsei University emails and late nights crying over class registration difficulties was all worth it to see the look on my grandmother’s face when she saw me sitting on the end of her bed.

Early tomorrow morning I’ll be headed to my dorm at the International House where I’ll be unpacking, meeting my roommate and spending my first official night at the university. I’m not really sure what to expect but you will certainly be hearing about how my orientation went next week.

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