Anonymous of Holland            -A Dutchman in Korea-

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A Goodbye to Wando

안녕~
I’ve been meaning to tell you guys about my trip to Wando last weekend, and I have some free time, so I thought I’d give y’all an update.

I had been thinking about going back to Wando before I’d leave Korea for quite some time, since I had missed my kids from the second I had left my beautiful island and I thought I’d feel regret if I didn’t at least go back one last time. However, the costs of going all the way to Wando from Seoul are about 35,000 won for a one-way trip, and I wasn’t really looking forward to seeing Sahmonim again, so I was kind of on the fence about it.
Cue the two awesome Frenchies who I met at the Kimchi Project (that I surely should’ve blogged about, but contained too much awesome to be put to words in a small post) and who would be taking care of my old project starting in February; meeting them was the last push I needed to decide to venture back to Wando before my time here was up.

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And I’m so glad I did. Sure, it cost me ₩70,000, but it gave me many nostalgic moments and happy memories. Driving back into Wando, I felt like I was coming back home after a long time, instantly being flooded by memories of my time there. The taxi driver must’ve thought I was strange, sitting in his back seat with a giant grin plastered all over my face.
I arrived around 16:00 after a 5 hour bus ride, so I had only missed one class. Most of the students instantly recognized me, and I was glad many of them were so happy to see me. Even the kids who used to ‘hate’ me seemed to have softened up to their sonsaengnim and talked to me in that lovely broken English I had missed so much. Unfortunately, not everyone was there since there was some sort of school holiday going on, but still I got to see most of my students so I was very glad. Not surprisingly, many of them asked about where the other two volunteers were, and I got the feeling some were quite disappointed I didn’t drag them along with me.

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Donia and Mikaël (the Frenchies) were kind enough to host me so I didn’t have to sleep in a motel, and I got to sleep in nostalgia as my designated room a mirrored version of mine. Naturally the evenings were spent in true Wando fashion; by drinking soju and beer and going to bed late without actually really doing anything.

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The next day I could finally meet my kindergarteners: the kids I’d missed the most. They all seemed to remember me, and were so happy to see me again. It made me feel all warm inside, but when I think of the fact that I won’t be able to see any of them again, it makes me feel really sad.. I spent as much time as I could playing with them and hugging them and they were all just as cute as they were when I left them. Especially my favourite (the girl with the big mole under her eye) and my second favourite (the girl with the glasses) had missed me a lot. The one with the glasses was actually ignoring me the first 30 minutes because she felt so strange to see me again, but when there were 20 kids pulling my legs she told them to leave me alone and hugged me. Aigoya I want to be a kindergarten teacher in Korea ;_;

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In the evening, the kids had a church camp, which took place (surprise!) in the church, so it was a perfect opportunity for me to impose and just tag along without asking anyone for permission. Surprisingly, Sahmonim hadn’t even tried to bother or even talk to me at all, and all of the church mothers were happy to see me, so things were pretty relaxed.
This way, I got to spend all day until 21:30 with my kids, and I even met some new ones who weren’t at church camp before.

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Saying goodbye was difficult, but not as difficult as the last time.
I think this way I got some closure on the whole thing, and I know my students didn’t forget about me and still hold warm feelings for me in their hearts. Li Ha, my favourite elementary school student who wrote us the cutest little letters and hugged all of us crying when we left, kept holding my hand whenever she could, even in spite of the constant “EWWWW ARE YOU CRAZY!?” complaining of her much, much less cute classmate Soo Bin. That really made me feel like we made at least a small difference in this community, and I feel like that’s something to be very proud of.

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[p.s. here is a picture of a crab holding a cigarette]

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This entry was posted on 2 March 2012 by in Korea, Travel and tagged , , , , , .

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@emuartspace was probably the most 'homely' (#gezellig) venue I've ever visited, @bowhang_smacksoft was as impressive as expected, @imhyeonjeong enchanted me with her beautiful voice and the duet of @musicsollee (거꾸로도 #이솔이) and #조현정 made me wish they'd spend more time together.

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who split himself in two.
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