Whether you believe it’s the Universe, Fate, Karma, Dumb Luck, or God that controls the uncontrollable in our lives, you have to admit, it has a wicked, cruel, downright horrific sense of humor.
Today was one of those days I wish I could erase from my mind and yet–there were too many good (albeit small) things that happened for me to truly rip it out and burn it from the pages of my life.
Now–I’ve failed a lot in my life. Tests, (almost) classes, relationships, lessons, jobs, sports, you name it I’ve failed at it. I’m just at a point in my life where failure doesn’t scare me. I see myself falling down the deep dark abyss of failure and I’m like, “well here it goes.”
Like when I passed Suwon Station 3 times on 3 different buses (even though I’ve already been there 4 times). Or when I misread “Suwon Bus Terminal” as “Suwon Station” and ended up going in the wrong direction for half an hour (which means half an hour back, thereby an hour of wasted time–ending up on the same bus with the same bus driver because he just turned around at the end of the route).
Or when I for some reason took the Bundang Line instead of the Seoul Station Line, which takes twice as long. Or when I got on The Hwaseong Line thinking, “hehehe a shortcut” only for this shortcut to actually not be running on weekends and thereby a long-cut.
Or when I thought I was finally on the right line when apparently it’s possible to have two subway lines at the same station going to different destinations.
Only to FINALLY get to the right station, with 20 minutes of church left. Yes. I can do this. Only to emerge in an extremely sketchy neighborhood–like Dachong-esque…dead cat in the gutter and everything. I had the address. I had google mapped it. I had written down exact street names and where to turn. I went to church in a fairly sketchy place my entire childhood and yet, this was a different level. There weren’t even any coffee shops. And let’s just say…for once I sqaushed my inner adventurer and decided that it just wasn’t going to happen today.
In retrospect, I should have emailed someone and asked for more specific directions. I mean it had to have been RIGHT THERE. So…that’s what I’m going to do this week. Stay tuned for next Sunday and Episode 2 of “Mallory trying to get to church.”
The only way to recover from such failures I’ve discovered is to retrace your steps and go the right way instead of the wrong way.
This sounds simple enough–but you’d be surprised how many people instead just stay stuck in the wrong way instead of turning around.
This day was not going to be a waste of time.
So then I got back on the subway and went all the way out to Ilsan. Turns out, it’s as beautiful as the pictures. Or at least the stop I got off at was. I found the MBC Dream Center, so now I am 100% certain of where it is and will not have the same problems I had today. This is extremely important information, because this location is integral to crossing off “see a music show” off my bucket list, which should be very soon. So look forward to that post.
I also had some interesting conversations with old people today. You see, I watched a movie last night about respecting your elders (don’t ask) and it had me thinking. So on a particularly crowded and long ride a really old ahjumma came on and I gave her my seat. This is not because I am a good person–it’s because I watched this movie and Luhan loved his old grandma so I will too. Anyway she gave me the biggest smile and sat down. After a few minutes she tugged on my jacket and pointed to a seat that opened up on the other side of an ahjussi and told me to take it. Then when she got off the subway she gave me a big smile and a really deep bow.
Then the ahjussi woke up and straight up started taking to me…in Korean. He looked like Mr. Miyagi but give him round silver glasses and little white sneakers. But the craziest part… I UNDERSTOOD HIM. AND I ANSWERED HIM BACK IN KOREAN. Don’t get me wrong–we weren’t discussing America’s role in ISIS or fracking in Canada. But I told him I was American and a teacher and he asked me how long I’d been here and how long I was going to be here and where exactly I was teaching and I was able to answer all of these questions and he even understood me which is the most amazing part.
Then–turns out he speaks English. And he tells me that he has an extra ticket to a COEX exhibition and he wants to give it to me. I know COEX mall has dozens of temporary exhibitions. He was going there right now and wanted me to come. Now, if I hadn’t been alone, and wasn’t exhausted, perhaps I would have followed. But I’m not an idiot, and even Mr. Miyagi was scary sometimes. So I made up something about having to meet a friend in Hongdae.
But there you go. Another friend.
So, the day is turning around right? I’m feeling good about everything. But then I get on the wrong line…twice more. And then I FINALLY get back to Suwon Station only to search my purse for my subway card to not see it. I had it on me all day and at the final moments–the pearly white gates from the subway of hell are visible–and it is gone.
So then I had to press the help button and speak into a hole and a guy let me through the gate without any questions. #foreignercard
But wait–here’s the wicked humor I mentioned in the beginning.
So I’m at the ticket station trying to figure out how to buy a new card when I notice a guy loitering behind me. I turn around frustrated about to go ask someone how to use this stupid machine because I’m tired of deciphering Hangul today and this guy goes, “hi. Can you help me? I’m trying to get to Seoul.”
I actually laughed at his face. I did not tell him that I had spent the last 9 hours of my life lost in that very city.
And yet–I directed him to the correct subway to Suwon Station.
I may or may not have still ridden 3 wrong buses home. But…finally…I made it.
In my favorite coffee shop. Drinking my favorite hot chocolate. Steps completely retraced and perhaps not feeling like a complete failure after all.