There are so much to write about my seoul trip that i dunno where to start.
Should I start off with my korean air flight, where i constantly encounter ladies who dun lock their toilet door and have me exposing them in the middle of their pee in mid air.... or should I try to share the immense korean jokes my friend had shared with me.
I think the best part of the trip, was actually to by luck, have a chance to catch a meal with my long time korean friend whom I have not seen for 19 long years. We met and became friends in Hokkaido on an exchange program back in Japan in high school then. We struck up a firm friendship despite our language barrier, and we embark on 19 long years of writing to and fro. From traditional snail post, we progress to emails. The intervals between each mail also progressively got longer after I started work, but in a way, we were always updated in each other's life.
We had once planned a korea-singapore trip back then, but SARs ruined our plan. So I never thot of visiting seoul ever without him, and him not to singapore either [ since its not exactly worlds most interesting spot on world's map]
Call it a strange hunch or instinct, I felt a strong need to write in my msn status that i was heading to seoul. I almost got lazy and didnt but i figured what the hell, if he sees it, he might find time to chat. It was definitely a good move because he left an email, telling me he has just moved back to seoul last week after finishing his phd in standford. He was gonna start work with samsung. what are the odds of that, our schedule coincide just like that. Destiny works in its funny ways. so after a long 19years, we finally get to meet again, unplanned.
It was definitely with great excitement, to see my old friend again. The funny and best thing was, seeing him, nothing has changed. I mean, it felt as if we were transported back to Japan. The warm smile and hug, really...nothing has changed. It didnt even feel like almost 2 decades have passed us by. Amazing.
It was one of those long over 4 hrs lunch chat. There wasnt alot of backlog catch up since we have been writing, so it was more like the gap from the time he left stanford, his new job and about seoul. He said i havent changed, to me, neither has he.
We talked about the japan exchange program trip, and what was it about me that had struck an impression on him and vice versa. I didnt rem, but accordingly to him, during the orientation introduction between students from different countries, I was the only one who went beyond the hi and where are u from. apparently, i had shown interest in seoul and asked him many questions, which he laughed and said that he freaked out as his english was limited. funny.
I told him i still have all the letters he sent, plus some of korean tapes and the coming of age present. unfortunately for him, some the presents i got him were rather sadly lost in mail [so much for postal service in the states]...or that he had moved and it got misplaced.
We talked about our parents. He said his folks still rem me till now as well as my mum rem him. while he is the 'korean' boy to my mum, i am the 'singapore girl' to his parents. Then we talked about his family, which i complimented him, a family of high achievers. His sister was the first woman to be the first law professor in seoul national uni, breaking the tradition of male dominated profession. That means something and an honor indeed because in korea, that is a feat by itself.
Time flows when one is having a good time.
I shall miss my dear friend, and of coz we joke that hopefully, it wont be another 19yrs before we meet again. seriously, this is the best reward for the whole trip and nothing can top this. this will be another memory to cherish for a long time.
truly. this is the best gift i can ever dream of.