The sky is grey and raindrops dance down on the window of the plane. Flight AY041 from Helsinki to Seoul has just landed and they say it is warm outside. I didn't sleep a minute during the seven hour flight but I am too eager to get off the plane and just find my way to my accommodation and Korea University to feel tired right now. I've got things to do, you know.
At the airport it is easy to spot other exchange students. Everyone looks at each other a little curiously but no one really dares to open their mouth. Finally I have my chance when I hear two guys talking about their studies out loud at the escalator. Together with two German guys, Fabian and Johnny and with Ruben and Esmee from the Netherlands we find our way to the train and manage to buy tickets. Before everyone continues to their own direction we exchange Kakao Talk contacts, (the Watsapp of Korea) and it feels great to have made my first friends in this country. :)
Just before I find my way to my new home it starts to pour with rain. Obviously, out of all the things I stuffed in my 23kg luggage, an umbrella ain't one. "Does it rain outside?" My apartment manager asks as I arrive to pick up the keys. I probably look like I just had a shower with all the clothes on. So, dear folks, if you ever come to Korea, here's a tip. Pack an umbrella. Just do it.
The rest of the day is filled with paperwork applying for a combined student ID and bank card and trying to figure out how to reserve a time for Alien Registration Office. I guess in a few weeks I am officially going to be an Alien living in South Korea. :D.
Many people told me Koreans are super friendly and eager to help. Already the first day in the country has showed me that it is more than true. Everyone who you ask will take the time to guide you to the right direction, no matter if they speak English or not. Smile is an international language and even if I only know two words of Korean, I am so happy that 감사합니다 (thank you) is one of them.
In the evening we gather with our university's Buddy group to bond in real Korean style, drinking beer and soju (rice booze) and of course somac, the mix of these two. A combination of heavy drinking and staying awake 32+ hours in a row does not sound like a great plan for getting started with my Korean life, I decide to go home relatively early. Too bad, since I could easily have spent all night long playing fun drinking games and chatting with these fun people.
Walking back home the streets feel safe and calm. The night is dark, the soft and warm air blends together with the citylights and sounds of cars and people passing by.
I can already feel that there is a big risk I will fall in love with this city.