Monday, October 02, 2017

[PART 1] South Korea Trip: unexpected in-flight meeting !!!

"...So we were having a conversation in Korean until he started saying things that I don't understand due to my lack of vocabularies. And that's how he started to speak English. Up to my surprise, he speaks VERY GOOD ENGLISH. Perfect. Like, the first Korean I know who speaks really good English. "
Woowww it's October already. Wow. I didn't sound that excited, eh? Okay nevermind. Oh and yesss I just came back from a short trip to South Korea! Yeah. Yeahhhh. Hahaha. I am so random I am sorry. So um yeaaaaaaah I was in South Korea for 6 days from 21-27 September 2017 and during that time I've encountered a lot of things worth to learn and remember which I am going to tell u right now(?), it doesn't sound right but ok whatever. (wow writing is so hard idk what to write this is so messy i need to practice). So I went there with my cousin, Lifi, and my bude; it was just the three of us. Memories that I had in South Korea was rather unforgettable though I kinda......, um, nevermind, that's another story. But despite "that", even my flight to Korea was pretty... unexpected?

It was a night flight at 11 pm sharp as I am about to board when the staff told me that my seat's tv was broken. Therefore, they asked me to pick another seat. I should have seated in 21D but because of it, I switched my seat to 22H just because yeah why not I don't care where I'll be seating though as long as I will arrive in Seoul safely. I didn't have anything in my mind but to sleep, the person who happened to sit next to me was a Korean man around 20-30 years old and busy (because he kept arranging paper something and his laptop). As soon as I lifted my baggage to the cabin, I jumped to my seat and started to close my eyes. The night view was beautiful but my dream seemed much more promising.

The lights were off during take-off and taxi, but the Korean man beside me turned the individual light and kept reading something up until 1 am. I didn't care that much because I was drowsy and 7 hours flight was tiring enough to give me back pain and a pain in the a$$:(( My whole body was aching.  It was so bad. I woke up and slept and woke up again every an hour because it was cold and I really want to pee :< but I can't because the guy next to me was sleeping. But that's okay I managed to endure it. I forced myself to sleep again because everyone was sleeping too. And it was pretty creepy and hollow so I decided to sleep even though it was really hard and uncomfortable.

My watch's needle pointed at 6 am and the sun started to creep above the lines (the earth is not flat, baby), people woke up and the stewardesses started to distribute the breakfast; I chose omelette from the three dishes provided because I just didn't hear what the other two were, so did the guy beside me. It was very awkward, we sat there for like 5 hours already and there was no conversation or even a glance, as expected. But I really really wanted to go to the bathroom so I blatantly asked him in Korean "μ£„μ†‘ν•˜μ§€λ§Œ.. ν™”μž₯μ‹€ μ–΄λ”” μžˆμ–΄μš”?" I was only asking where the toilet was using Korean language because I knew he was Korean so why not maybe he can't speak English kkk. He didn't say anything but I think he was pretty surprised so he only pointed out at the direction. So I was like "oh okay."

I came back to my seat and didn't say anything because he was exercising? hahaha I am not sure but I just wanted to finish my breakfast that time because I was (and always) hungry. Then he got back to his seat again and started to open up a conversation. I didn't remember what he said exactly but I think he was saying, "ν•œκ΅­λ§ μž˜ν•˜μ‹œλ„€μš”? (do you speak Korean well?)" or whether he was asking how long have I been learning Korean. I don't remember.

I was pretty surprised so I said "μ•„~ ν•œκ΅­μ–΄λ₯Ό 쑰금 ν• μˆ˜μžˆμ–΄...μŠ΅λ‹ˆλ‹€. (ah~ I can speak Korean a little." the thing is I was having a crisis which formal sentences I should use since I still confused about this term. I still have a problem on when to use μ‘΄λŒ“λ§(formal) / 반말 (informal) that I found myself dropping the μš” or switch to ~μŠ΅λ‹ˆλ‹€/λ‹ˆκΉŒ, I was afraid if I might have been rude for not using it, but I hope they understand because after all, I am a foreigner. lol. i am bule.

So we were having a conversation in Korean until he started saying things that I don't understand due to my lack of vocabularies. And that's how he started to speak English. Up to my surprise, he speaks VERY GOOD ENGLISH. Perfect. Like, the first Korean I know who speaks really good English. Wow, and I was like "닀행이닀!!!γ…‹γ…‹γ…‹ (it's like, syukurlahhh~~)". After that, we had a longgggg and deep conversation in English and Korean. It was a veryyy veryy nice talk for almost more than an hour non-stop; very intense and exciting conversation that I saw another Korean passenger beside us was glancing and seemed to be bothered (or curious?) because we were having such interesting conversation bilingually. He talked about a lot of things that he currently doing in Indonesia and I can relate so much because I have a background in research so, at least, I didn't shame myself during the conversation. (Thanks Namche) He was amazing and inspirational that even just an hour of conversation with him I learned a lot of things. So much respect. It was then until he said, "let me give you my business card." to my surprise as he stood up reaching his bag and handed me his business card. That is the time when I discovered that the guy who happened to sit next to me, in fact, is a senior researcher at Seoul National University (SNU). Wow. I am grateful that my previous seat was broken, otherwise, I wouldn't have had such opportunity to meet an amazing person during my flight to Seoul.

We continued our conversation about his researches in Indonesia about environmental and waste management. He literally told me everything from the purpose, method, how to solve it, and even the funding and relationship between Indonesia and Korea. It was amazing. I felt like I was listening to a professional business presentation than just a usual talk. It was very interesting and I, as well, curious on what he and his team did in Indonesia. I was amazed that Korean researchers care enough to fix such problems in my country and willing to put efforts in it. However, at the same time, I was worried and apprehensive to my own mind because I kinda have the thought like "we should have done this to our country, our researcher, our own people.". But yeah, it is not an easy task to bring people even though I know people and researchers around me who are willing and capable of doing this. Furthermore, it is still a long way to go for our country to reach that phase...

The conversation was getting much lighter as we started talking about travel and my plans in Korea. He even offered me to visit his office if I have time. But somehow I still am not sure about myself because my Korean language skill is still very basic. After this conversation, I committed to learn deeper in order to level up and bring my skill to the next level so I can keep up in professional and business-level conversations. The conversations that I had with him brought my spirit back in learning Korean and so does wider my networks & connections wherever I am. Time ran faster until I realized that our flight has ended and we finally arrived in Seoul, I bid him a goodbye and gratitude for giving me such inspiration through his stories and experiences. We exchanged waves as I departed from the plane. It was amazing. At least, my impression on my first arrival in Seoul was good enough to be remembered. I wish to meet him again in the future when my Korean skill has gotten so much better. I will work for it!!


  1. Mbaa gmn caranya belajar bhs korea effectively gt. Aku uda coba2 belajar dr lagu, drakor, buku tp ttp ga nyantol γ… γ…  μŠ¬ν”„λ‹Ή~ terutama kalo uda berhubungan dgn grammar

    1. Aku ga pernah belajar dr lagu sm drakor soalnya awalnya gasuka.. langsung belajar dari buku, youtube, sm ngobrol aja^^ lagu sm drakor gitu2 baru efektif klo km udh punya basic vocab yg bagus, dan jgn nonton pake subs. Agak susah emang:( saranku belajar dr grammar dulu trs pahami konsepnya^^ nanti vocab itu harus build pelan2 kayak kalau belajar bahasa inggris aja

    2. Aaa makasi mba sarannya ^-^/


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