My last weekend in Korea was perfectly relaxing and simple. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I decided on Friday afternoon to take a last minute trip to Seoul to meet up with Julia. I hadn’t seen her in over a month and wanted a chance to catch up and say goodbye before we both head back to the States. We enjoyed a great night talking and reflecting on our year and all of the things that we will miss.
I left early Saturday morning to head back to Yuchon to spend time with my host family and do some packing. As I wrapped presents and packed, Seo Yeon was my lovely assistant. I’m so proud of how much her English has improved since I first met her. Each item I picked up, she would say “Maggie, go to your house?” I would respond with “Yes, 7 days.” Cue the fake tears and “Maggie, no!” Yeah, that’ll get you. I ended the day with the movie night I’d be promising both girls for several days.
Sunday morning, I woke up and a couple from my church came to pick me up for mass at 9. After church, I was invited back to their house to make lunch together and catch up. We made a delicious lunch of spaghetti with olive oil and fresh garlic and a salad of veggies fresh from their garden. They are such a wonderful couple and though I didn’t see them as often as I would’ve liked, I am very blessed to have met them this year.
In the afternoon, I joined my host mom and Seo Yeon to go to Home Plus to pick up supplies for my “goodbye” bbq that evening with the farming students. We laughed and reminisced how it reflected my first weekend with their family when we went to E-mart to get supplies for a bbq with her sister’s family. We agreed that a year can be a very long time, but seems like it went by in the blink of an eye.
We enjoyed a great bbq despite the rain and I even tried chicken’s feet! First time for everything! They decided Sunday couldn’t be our last big meal together so I believe round 2 is on Friday. Fine by me!
The weekend ended with some quality time with just my host family. All of them were gathered in the living room so I decided to give them their presents. We looked through the photo book I made for them, laughing and crying about all of the experiences this year. I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful family to spend my grant year with.
The conversation drifted to their decision to host for 4 different ETAs. My host dad said something that really stuck with me. A big part of their decision to host and continue doing so was the fact that they wanted their daughters to grow up knowing there are many people in the world from all different backgrounds, but when it comes down to it, we are all humans. We are all the same at the core and that is more important than any physical, cultural, or personal differences we have. Respect and understanding for their fellow man and woman should be first and foremost in their minds. What a simple, yet beautiful outlook to have.