As the saying goes: Things never go according to plan. One might call it a setback; just life’s recurring milestone to lordly remind us of our frantic existence. Like forlorn subjects, we move on. Perhaps briefly we’re annoyed, but ultimately—or forcedly, rather—we forget.
But there are other things—like things that say, require months in advance of meticulous planning—that are far and away the contrary. When these things go unrealized…
And can I just say how fucked up it is when these things happen? Especially those things that didn’t even have to happen in the first place. It’s funny how one simple, seemingly inconsequential, little thing—like making sure that I was issued a multiple entry visa—could have changed the outcome for one hundred thousand other, more costly… things.
But, oh well. It doesn’t matter now. I’m actually stuck here… in Seoul… so I should probably make the best of it.
These were the thoughts racing through my head last Monday just as a woman at the Seoul Immigration Office all but dismantled my expensive, well-coordinated (or so I thought) scheme. “You can’t go to Japan,” she dismissed, final-nail-in-the-coffinly.
Since then, almost a week has passed and as I write this now on the balcony of a Gapyeong hostel overlooking the Bukhansan mountains, ttalgi erhm strawberry jam and toast in hand, in just two days, everything will finally be back to the way it was supposed to be. In just two days, Kelli will finally arrive from Hawaii, and we will finally start going to school together, at Konkuk, where we should be, just like we planned.
But given the chance to go back and fix things, I wouldn’t. There’s just no way I would elect to have spent my first week abroad any other way. It’s funny how these things happen sometimes, blessings in disguise that is. Had I gone to Japan, I would have missed out on so many amazing… things.
Like had I gone to Japan, I would have never encountered the man at the entrance of Seoul Station who, despite our language barrier, went out of his way to explain to me how the subway system worked.
Had I gone to Japan, I would have never consumed eleven green tea lattes in one week (and counting) amid my never-ending search for cafes with free wi-fi.
Had I gone to Japan, I would have never met and partied with the awesome folks from the two hostels I stayed at (although I would be able to recall the past several, let’s just say not entirely there nights).
And had I gone to Japan, my first impression of Seoul would never have been the same, and my passion for this city would not nearly be as great as it is now.
But most importantly, had I gone to Japan, I would have never experienced what it’s like to be helplessly lost; lost in a country that looks nothing like home, whose people speak a language so differently from my own.
And had I gone elsewhere, I would have never had the chance to endure this madness to transform into the person that I am now; a person so dissimilar from the one from just last week that it boggles my mind.
I can think of one hundred thousand more things that I am sincerely grateful for for having missed my flight to Osaka last week. But sometimes I can’t help but wonder: What if things had gone according to plan?