I knew moving to Korea was going to change me, but I didn’t expect that it would make me into a more patient person.
Anyone who’s ever met me knows that I am very, very impatient, almost to a fault. I hate waiting in lines, waiting for exam results, waiting to meet up with friends. I even hate waiting for Christmas, I just want to know what’s so elusively hiding wrapped up in those little boxes staring at me for the entire month of December. I hate surprises, I just want, nay, need to know what’s being so sneakily planned! I hate everything about waiting and I suck at being patient. Or at least I did up until, say, 33ish days ago...
Korea observation #2. I'm coming to terms with patience.
I think part of my newfound pseudo- acceptance of patience comes from its suddenly becoming a truly unavoidable aspect of my life. I spent this past weekend in Busan, a really fantastic city I plan on frequenting now that I’ve visited the beaches there and remembered just how much I love just being out in the sun (when it’s not 35 C and muggy like it is everyday in Bucheon). The problem with Busan is that it is about as far in South Korea as you can possibly be from where I live. I caught a train out of Busan station at 7:50 pm, got off in Gweomyeong (One stop short of Seoul station) at 10:25, had to wait for a connecting subway until 10:53, got off the subway around 11:30 and finally made it through my apartment door a few minutes after midnight, a little over 4 hours later. What’s nice is that the distance is probably comparable to the Austinburg/Oxford commute I used to make, only I get to sit there and let other people do the driving. But unfortunately sitting get’s boring fast. Patience.
I had a Doctor’s appointment a few days ago, and even though I was there on time, I had to wait for the English speaking nurse to talk to the ladies at the check-in desk for me. The appointment itself lasted all of five minutes, and no English speaking was really required, I just had to wait.
I went to apply for my ARC card this morning (Alien Registration Card… In about a week I will be an official alien, cool right?). I had time to spare this morning and since I need this card to get my cell phone, pension, health insurance, and lots of other important things, off I went expecting to be gone maybe 2 hours or so at most. False. When I arrived, there were at least forty other people waiting in front of me. I sat in the waiting room for over 2 hours just to spend 3 minutes with some woman behind a desk silently checking my documents.
I met a couple friends at the nearest subway station Friday night. These shall-remain-nameless friends (cough cough Mary and Zooms) tend to show up at least twenty minutes later than they say they will every time we meet, so I decided to cut my losses and show up twenty minutes late too. This might have worked had they not decided to arrive 45 minutes late in this particular instance. Plan foiled. Still waiting.
I’m sure you get the point. Every day I find something new to wait about. Some of it is your every day waiting which I dealt with stateside too, like waiting in line at the local E-Mart, etc. Some of it is particular to my being a foreigner and my lack of speaking ability, (i.e. my recent experiences at the doctor’s and immigration offices). Some of it has to do with the fact my friends here live far enough away that I have to wait all week to see them on the weekends.
All of this waiting and needing to be patient would have made me so mad in the states, but for whatever reason I’ve become pretty accustomed to it here and just accept the waiting for what it is and move on. Time is going to keep going, regardless of what I’m doing, and pretty soon I’ll be at the front of the line, or I’ll be in that doctor’s office, or I’ll be walking through my front door after four hours of traveling. Everything will happen and everything will eventually pass. And for whatever reason I feel so much more comfortable with the wait here.
Besides, waiting provides a fantastic opportunity for people watching, which I find especially entertaining in this new country of mine ☺
But I digress into thoughts again. My entire weekend in Busan was quite fun. We went to the Lotte Giants game Saturday night, expecting rain and a big fat cancellation but the weather stayed clear and beautiful the entire weekend. It was fantastic, in the seventh inning or so they passed out these bright orange plastic bags, which of course left us very puzzled. Of all the things to pass out at a baseball game, right? We start people watching to figure out what we’re supposed to do with them, and low and behold, we watch the entire stadium of Koreans sitting around us tie the bags so they’re pumped up and filled with air, put them on top of their heads, and loop the dangling handles around their ears. It was one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen. I love Korea!
There was a group of at least twelve of us, so we busted out “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” a couple times. Everyone stared. It was fantastic.
We hit up one beach Saturday night and hung out at Haeundae beach for a while on Sunday. I forgot how much I enjoy sunshine. I’ve been avoiding being outside for the past month because it is just horribly hot and muggy every single day (and if not, then it’s raining and I’m falling on the granite sidewalks outside of the Hyundai Mall… I mean what?). Regardless it was a really beautiful and terrific weekend.
For the record, yes I wish I were still there now... I love weekends!
- Christine -