Saturday, January 14, 2012

Looking back

This week Yuri and I had to go to immigration to get a new date stamped on my alien registration card so I can stay in this country another year. When we pulled into the parking lot Yuri said "Remember last year when we were here?" It was about 2 days after I had come to Ulsan and met her. I said "Yeah, I didn't know anything" and she said "And I didn't know English." I remember sitting in the waiting room last year thinking "If she would leave me right now, I would have no idea what to do." I would have had no idea how to get back to my apartment, where my apartment even was, or how to ask for help. I spent the first week pretty helpless and at her mercy.

We agreed that we are both in much better positions now. If she had abandoned me at immigration this week I could have gotten myself back to my apartment and we could have had a conversation about how mad I was at her for ditching me. Her English has improved a lot, and I've gotten pretty good at figuring out what she's trying to tell me...most of the time. I would say I'm fluent in Konglish :)

Sometimes I don't realize how much I've learned, because it happens a little bit every day. It's like watching a child grow up and not realizing how small they used to be until you look at old pictures of them. I am by no means an expert and I still need a lot of help a lot of the time, but I'm much more self-sufficient and independent than I used to be in this country. I don't know a whole lot of Korean, but I know survival Korean. I've gotten pretty good at all forms of public transportation. Recently I memorized both my address and my phone number haha. That should have happened a long time ago. I know where to go to buy clothes, when its better to buy food in the grocery store or the market, and I can download anything. Life is much easier than it used to be. It's nice to have these little reminders to see how far I've come.

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