Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Wow, what a trip. I left Newark airport at 8:25 AM on March 20th and took a 6 hour flight to meet my brother in Seattle. However, that didn't happen. It seems the flights to Korea don't get the best gate accessibility. I was told I might miss my flight if I tried to go have lunch (with a 2 hour layover), but I had left my cell phone in New Jersey. So here I am, waiting for my plane, not able to meet my brother, and not able to contact him either. Then I hear my name paged over an announcement, but the incompetent workers at Seattle airport didn't know how to contact the people who were paging me. I told them how it is supposed to work, they told me they knew, I replied, I don't think you do. So I had to unpack my computer, get Kevin's cell phone number and spend 2 dollars at a public pay phone (who knew they were still around?) for 4 minutes just to say I'm sorry to my brother. Hey Kev, I'm really sorry, that sucked, I wish I could have seen you. But moving on. While waiting for the plane I met another girl who was going to South Korea to teach for a year, Anand. We had a nice wait for the plane and met two guys who looked 15 years old, but were really 18 & 19 who were flying to Thailand for a Moy Thai fighting camp. I know it's a random thing, but these kids looked like the kids who are comedic side kicks in teenage melodrama's (ie: small, kinda nerdy, try to be cute) basically the opposite of what I think of when I think Ultimate Fighter. It was very weird, but I do wish them the best. It started already, I love meeting new people with interesting stories. Then the plane. It was a HUGE plane, but it was awesome. There were like 1000 movies on demand for free, free alcohol, free games, and apparently babies couldn't even cry on this plane, it was that good. Plus I got two meals, that I got to eat with medal silverware!!! A spoon, fork and KNIFE!!! They gave out two KNIVES to each person on one trip. My dental floss was confiscated on my trip from Newark to Seattle, but apparently it's the Thunderdome when you fly internationally. But after 12 long hours, and only one bathroom break (which was one more then I was hoping for) I arrived in South Korea. Two teachers were there with a sign that read "PAUL KROLL", of course I asked them if there car had Bud Light. They didn't get the joke, but I went with them anyway. On the ride to my apartment they made me really nervous, laughing when describing the size of my apartment as being very small. Also telling me I might not have a stove, and it's a 5th floor walkup. All news to me, and when you hear it in really broken English, it makes it sound even worse (Ex: "Room, BERY BERY SMALL, hahaha). So after getting caught in traffic for a professional soccer game on the way to my apt, carrying bags that weighed 55, 30, 26 and 24 pounds up 5 flights of stairs, almost 20 hours of being cramped in a plane, all while knowing I have to get up for school at 8AM the next day...The last thing I wanted to see was a terrible apartment. Well, I opened the door and I couldn't believe what I saw...
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Today is 7 days till I leave the country. 7 days until I travel to the other side of the planet. 7 days until I leave everything and anyone I've ever known, for a place I've only read about. A place where I don't speak the language, eat the food, or know the customs. It's all a bit nerve-racking really, when I stand back and look at it. Yet somehow it seems like the right thing to do. I don't know why but I have an inner urge to see the world, travel, and meet people. In the relatively short time I've been unemployed (but tutoring) I've met so many great new friends. Some are extraordinary students who have come to America to follow their dreams, others are trying to learn English so they can fully experience the lives of their children, and even some have just been super friendly travelers who send me long emails filled with all of their travel experiences and knowledge. It has been a year in New York City, the best city in the world, a place where as a child I had a picture of the skyline hanging in my room, one year of having that picture outside my front door, and I'm off. Off for new experiences in Seoul. Everything about my time in the NYC area has been a learning experience, and most of it has been great, but I feel like I've gotten to the point where I know what's coming next. I know my "routine" and I'm set in my path, and I didn't like that. Our paths are not set. Where is mine leading now? I don't know. From Roxbury, to Penn State, to New York, and now onto Seoul...then maybe the world? We'll see, but at the moment I'm just beginning my journey, like many other great journey's, Seoul Searching.