Sunday, December 29, 2013

23 December 2013 - Korea, Day 123; my dramatic return recapped.

helllllo. i'm back in Sunny Singapore, pun completely intended. i landed at about 1.30am on 23 December 2013 after a dramatic turn of events in the 24 hours before that. lest i have to repeat my story ten times over, let me explain what happened.

my initial flight was scheduled to be back on 23 December 2013, 1630. that meant that i had to stay a night with ebony and company in an apartment that they rented. closer to the date, i thought it was quite silly of me to stay an extra night. so i moved my flight to 22 December 2013, 1630 - which wasn't available for booking when i booked my flight.

so on the night of 21 December 2013, i returned home from Hongdae following my last cafe visit with SSN rather late.

i started packing till 3am into the night.. realizing i wouldn't be able to fit everything into my luggage. then i started to panic. i couldn't possibly handle all my luggage to the airport the next day. i had one backpacker's bag, my MCM bag, my huge luggage which was already 31kg, a box and three paper bags of stuff that couldn't fit anywhere. oh, and my stuffed penguin. it was impossible unless i had help. i decided to leave it to tomorrow morning and see what i can do. so i tried to go to sleep. but i couldn't. so i got up at 4am and contacted my brother who thank goodness is an owl and was still awake (plus the hour time difference), he woke my parents and i changed my flight back to 23 December 2013 at 1630. i managed to catch some sleep after that.

i had hoped to ship my stuff back before going to the airport, but it was, unfortunately, a Sunday and EMS was supposedly closed everywhere, including the airport. so my only choice was to stay at the apartment with Ebz and wake up early on Monday morning, ship all my stuff then head to the airport alone. so l woke up the next morning and told Lynette that i wasn't leaving with her. explained the situation in the midst of our chaotic packing and cleaning the room. oh yes, let me mention that i was out of data as well. so i basically had no way of contacting anybody except through my Mac.. or if i stood outside our room along our corridor which i did so often that night. how emotionally stressful.

anyhow, my mom contacted me and told me to get to the airport anyway, get a transit hotel and they would get me a shuttle to and fro. they would help me with my luggage and send my stuff at the airport the next day instead. i would have had better time allowance but that was a SGD100 per night. after an internal debate and speaking to Ebz and a couple of the familiar girls (whom all had to put up with my tears that morning), i decided to go ahead and stay at the transit airport because it was safer.. my only problem was moving all my stuff to the airport. i had to get on an airport bus. so my only problem was from the dorm to the bus stop. once i get on the airport shuttle everything should be easier from there. right here i really have to thank Lynette for being so optimistic and patient with me and helping me lug all my stuff, patiently, and reassuring me. and SK, who went out of his way to carry my stuff to the bus stop as well. i think i scared him when i started to tear up at the SK Lobby (name of our dorm). and Layteng too.. i somehow successfully got to the airport.

we had lunch and i went to find out about the hotel.. got a pamphlet and it looked so dubious and shady i was scared at having to stay there alone. and so we decided to look for EMS/parcel delivery services. i asked the info counter and the girl clearly didn't know what she was saying as she repeatedly told me that there was no EMS service. even raising her voice at me. ok.. nonetheless me and Lynette walked around. and FOUND AN OPEN EMS SERVICE. thank God seriously. so we immediately got to work and i started repacking my stuff.. basically all the stuff that was outside of my luggage i had to ship them back. air vacuuming everything on the spot.. thank goodness it was a big airport with spaces. i fished out my mac and tried to find a flight on the day itself. amazingly there were still seats available on the 1630 flight.. which i knew i probably wouldn't make in time because i needed time to pack, check in and do tax. so i looked for a later flight. AND THERE WAS ONE AT 1930. i changed it immediately. and then we started to pack our stuff.. since Lynette had stuff to ship as well. the prices, btw, are the same as those in school.

well. just when you think things couldn't get any worst.. i realized that i forgot the pass lock to my luggage. YES. HOW JOKES WAS THAT. it was horrible because i had kimchi and some liquids outside my luggage. and we weren't allowed to ship food and cosmetics.. which meant i could only ship clothes and shoes.. which were mostly in my luggage… which i couldn't open. it was strange cos there weren't such rule in the post office at school. i couldn't be bothered and decided that i may just have to wait till i get back and get a lock opener. so i packed the other stuff into the box. (yes i had that much stuff). while every once in awhile trying my luck with various combinations. and miraculously… after trying only about 20 times, i managed to unlock the luggage, not after Lynette complained, "can we just force it open?" hahahaha. random revelation in my head no kidding. and i also believe it's a divine intervention. i'd imagine God going, "this girl… tsk.. let me give her a hand." and i would have gotten an imaginary smack on my head and then the combination appeared. can i also say that i was amazed at how patient Lynette was. i guess with all the things that had happened, she didn't even seem surprised that i forgot my passcode. she just laughed. hahahaha.

so i managed to do a proper repack.. with Lynette's help because i was too disoriented to do any proper packing. she literally repacked my clothes in the vacuums bags and helped to fit all my rubbish into the box. <3 <3 <3 well the total weight of all that clothes was another 16kg. check out how much i shipped back:

19kg + 15kg + 6kg + 16kg = 56kg.

and i had a luggage allowance of 30kg. and i STILL struggled with two backpacks, two paper bags and my luggage. no idea how i managed to get all that past customs. divine intervention again i believe. i mean i could barely walk down the aisle of the SQ plane and no one stopped me either. i would believe that by guidelines and rules, i wouldn't have been allowed to board. hahahaha. i really insanely felt God's divine grace and mercy that day. perhaps His way of reminding me that He is in control.

oh yes, can i also mention that i still managed to get my window seat despite all that that happened. changing my flight countless of times. i wanted a window seat so bad because i had wanted to have a first view of Singapore's night lights the moment i got back. so thankful that i did. even though i was pretty much already exhausted by the time i got on the plane i wasn't in that much of a romantic mood to look at the lights. my arms and muscles ached the moment i sat down on the plane.

so that was probably one of the most dramatic things that happened to me in Korea (together with the incident of my sprained ankle). and that marked the end of my Korea Exchange.

i actually do have much more to say about my current disorientation back into Singapore society and trying to adapt back into the 80% humidity (it's about 50% humidity in Seoul) and getting used to the lack of cafes and wifi. trying to stop speaking Korean to service staff or random strangers who try to talk to me on the streets. it's barely been a week in and i miss Seoul so much. i mean the very first coffee i had back here from Tiong Bahru Bakery @ City Hall was traumatizing. i would believe that the barista used overly hot water which burnt the beans resulting in a sour after taste in my Cappuccino - something i never had to experience in Seoul. all my Cappuccinos and Lattes were delicious. ok i will stop complaining. i know i would still miss Singapore if i had to go back to Seoul so i would start being more appreciative of things - like the abundance of escalators we have in our train stations and the return of my personal space. even though some lady rammed right into my right shoulder today and didn't apologize and i was momentarily transported back into Seoul.

anyway, i hear from my vocal teacher back in Korea that it's currently -13ÂșC in Seoul. how mad crazy cold is that. i'm thankful to be back at times like that. haha.

okay that's all.

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