My boyfriend Junkyu came to visit this weekend! We had a long weekend in Japan, so even though he arrived on Saturday afternoon, we had three days to spend together before he had to go back to Korea.
He got sick the week before he came, and I (half-jokingly) told him that he better not get me sick because I was not ready for a cold. He did get much better before coming, but yesterday, the day he left, I came down with a sore throat and a stuffy nose. Just my luck. Today I taught at elementary school, but my teachers were really sweet and let me relax. We mostly used the Smartboard, which does the activities in the student’s books with voices and animation, meaning I didn’t have to do much. Plus, most of my students were angels and knew I felt bad, so they told me to get better.
So this weekend, Junkyu and I wanted to go to the Saga Balloon Festival, an annual hot air balloon race/show that’s about an hour away from where I live. I wasn’t able to go last year, but my friend who did go said most of the balloons weren’t able to go up because of the rain. I checked the weather reports repeatedly and was disheartened to see that the festival might meet the same fate it did last year.
I met up with some friends for brunch before I picked up Junkyu to calm my nerves. I’m not sure why I’m always nervous before we see each other, but I think it’s a symptom of LDR (long distance relationships). I took the bus to the international ferry terminal and listened to some upbeat Kpop while anxiously checking the status of his ferry. The status changed to “During passport check” so I got antsy and took out my earphones. I stood up and decided to wait for him right outside the door he would come out of. People started filing through the doors, one by one, in what I’m sure were purposefully planned acts to lift my spirits before immediately crushing them again.
After watching dozens of people reunite with their loved ones, I began rocking back and forth, wondering how it felt to be them. It was then that I fully appreciated how Junkyu must have felt waiting for me in Busan. And then he came through the door. He was smiling at first, and but a lot of people were between us, so his expression dropped until I was able to run up and greet him. “Oppa!” I shouted, and he bent down and kissed me. Arm in arm, we set off to catch our bus to the station.
Since I had already eaten, I let him choose what he wanted, which was of course sushi. I’m not a fan of seafood, but a huge grin was plastered to his face as he ate plate after plate of different kinds of fish. We decided to both wear our couple tees and jeans, so we looked like any normal Korean couple does nowadays, but we got a lot of stares from Japanese people. PDA in Japan is basically nonexistent, but it’s something neither of us really care about, as it’s acceptable in certain forms in Korea and America.
The balloon festival was canceled on the day that we planned to go, so we decided just to head home and lay around watching movies and Korean TV shows. We cooked cheese curry nabe (hotpot) and Junkyu, the technology expert, brought me a sort of modem to bring my internet up to Korean speed. The next day, it was cold and rainy, so we stayed in again. I had been promising to cook him steak for weeks, so I put together a dinner or steak, salad, mashed potatoes, carrots, corn, and I even made a steak sauce with onions. We also bought cake to re-celebrate our 100th day, since we were apart on the actual day.
We were even able to Skype with my mom, and it was her first real time talking to Junkyu. It was fun to watch them get along, even though most of the conversation was about “Monica’s quirks”. I hope they get to meet when my mom comes in March. I haven’t seen either of my parents for over a year, but my mom and grandma are coming to Japan for the first time, so it will be nice seeing some family.
Monday, we left the house a little early so that we could have time to finally walk around outside. The weather cleared up, the sky turning a perfect blue with so few clouds, I could count them on my fingers. Unfortunately, I woke up with some cold symptoms, and we were starting to feel the clock ticking on our time together. Eventually, we rode the bus to the ferry terminal and he got checked in before telling me that he would have to go through security in six minutes. We got a few minutes to take pictures together, talk about how nice the weekend was, despite the weather, but then the announcer was telling us that it was time for him to go.
I walked him to the ticket takers, and watched him go through the doors before I had to go back down to catch my bus and train home. I tried to listen to music again, but no song seemed to understand how I felt. Granted, I know he will come back sometime this month if he can, and I am seeing him for two weeks for Christmas in Korea. But last night, it was especially hard to Skype like we usually do. It was a bitter shock to the senses, and I had to watch T.V. before I could really get to sleep.
I’m looking forward to the day our long distance relationship ends and we can just be together. The time we have together is enhanced because we don’t take each other’s presence for granted for a minute. But the time we spend missing each other and sending each other off again is always tough. Good thing grad school will keep me busy these next few weeks, because I need a good distraction. I also have my novel to edit and classes to teach, but my thoughts never stray from my Korean man for long.
I’d love to hear your stories! Leave a comment. Send me an email at email@example.com if you have experience in a long distance or intercultural relationship. I’d love to feature you and learn what you do to keep sane! Also, follow my page on Facebook and check out my instagram.