Fall in Busan is beautiful. The leaves on the trees have (finally!) changed colors, so the mountains and pathways are looking amazing. As well, my area of town is getting into the Christmas spirit with little white Christmas lights set up on the trees of the sidewalks; Starbucks in in full-fledged Christmas stock; and even some local stores are become festive!
A couple weeks ago we had a bitter cold spell for about a week, which was terrible. And to make matters worse, my school is generally a couple degrees colder than the outside temperature in the Winter … so it made for some pretty long and uncomfortable days. I literally wore my winter jacket, under armor leggings, two pairs of socks, a long sleeve, and a hoody just as an attempt to stay warm. Not to mention how much green tea and other hot drinks I consumed those days! But luckily the cold has gone and the last couple weeks have been gorgeous fall weather. The evenings and nights are generally pretty chilly, but during the day, the sun is shining and it’s enjoyable weather to be outside in.
Wow. It’s been over 9 months since I started this amazing journey. It’s hard to believe how quickly the years start to go by as we get older … but more importantly, how quickly they go by when the days are full of enrichment and adventure.
I’ll admit 3 weeks ago, I found myself antsy to hit the road and see some other parts of the world … but now that I can comfortably say that I only have 3 months left here, it certainly is a bitter sweet feeling.
For starters, Maria and Leah have finished their year contract and are currently surfing the beaches in Bali, followed by 3 weeks in India. I think I can blame them for stirring up the anxiety of me wanting to hit the road after countless nights spent at Starbucks brainstorming travel ideas and future travel plans. We came up with some pretty amazing (perhaps borderline outrageous) travel plans, but it certainly is fun to talk about! Seeing them off was sad but exciting… sad because I am now down 2 friends in my area … but exciting because they have amazing plans ahead of them, and I can’t wait to be in that position in 3 months.
Now that the dust has settled since their departure, I find myself torn between wanting to stay and wanting to leave. I told my coteacher that I won’t be re-signing a contract for next year … mainly because most of my friends here aren’t, and because I suppose I should be home and act like a maid of honor to my sister, rather than just fly in for the wedding like I’d originally planned. So I am in planning mode in order to get ready for a few months of traveling when my contract is finished … I am constantly on travel websites and reading my lonely planet books to find the best itinerary for my travels. I can’t wait! The next 3 months are going to fly by, and again, it’s a bitter sweet feeling.
For starters, however, I am going back to Seoul for FREE … free train ticket and hotel and food from EPIK (English Program in Korea) for a Winter Reunion. So we get a Friday off school and spend the Friday night in Seoul. So that’s the weekend of December 11th. Pretty excited for it!
Then Caitlin and I are planning on going to get out of Korea for Christmas so that we keep busy for the holidays, so we’re planning on flying into Tokyo Christmas day for 3 days ! I’m super excited! Then right after that my Winter English camps start for 3 weeks … then it’s off to Boracay, Philippines in January (google this .. you will be jealous) for a RELAXING 10 day vacation in the sun and sand.
Once I get back from the Philippines it’s only a short few weeks before the end of my contract (end of Feb) … then it’s back on the road to do some real, rugged traveling! So far my itinerary includes China, Thailand, Bali, Australia and New Zealand – followed by a brief Canadian West Coast tour, then it’s back in Ontario just in time for cottage season! I am beyond excited, but it’s going to be really hard to pack up the memories I’ve made over the course of the year here, and say goodbye to people that I consider family.
It certainly will be a rollercoaster ride over the next 3 months as I struggle with feelings of excitement, anxiety, sorrow, and adventure, but I am ready for the next challenge.