All of our possessions of the past two years had already been either sent home, placed in storage at a friend's house, in Seoul, or stuffed in our backpacks. The only thing left to do was to say our goodbyes.
It was hardest to say goodbye to Kyung-hee, who had been our dear friend since nearly the beginning, who had helped us adapt to life in Chŏnju, set us up with a Korean network, had come to our aid whenever we needed assistance. We loved her like family, would never forget her (I wished her a happy birthday, through Facebook, just last week).
Our friends from Ottawa, who had come to Korea about six months after we had arrived in the country, but were there for different reasons, would also be remaining after DW and I returned home. Saying farewell wasn't easy—we had seen them at least once a month for almost a year and a half—but we anticipated seeing them again, eventually, back home.
On that final weekend, as we were saying goodbye, we were also saying hello to yet another friend, Andy, who was a mutual friend to our Ottawa comrades and was visiting them for a few weeks. That weekend turned out to be a reunion, a gathering, and a goodbye.
When this weekend was finished, DW and I would board a plane at Kimp'o International Airport and head further south-east, to Hong Kong, and later downward, to Singapore, where we would take buses and trains northward, over the next month, through Malaysia and all over Thailand, before flying from Bangkok to Seoul, for one more night, and then back, at last, to Canada.
But on that final weekend in Korea, we spent an afternoon in Seoul, saying hello to Andy and goodbye to Kyung-hee, sharing tea and wandering various markets and shops. Nineteen years ago, next week.