Sanjeeta Khalid (상담사회, 17)
Being a Desi girl who has never stepped out of her house without someone by her side, I boarded the plane three months ago to Korea with David who would look after me. It was the day when I was going to start living the life without instructions and without the fear of “what would people say?” I was excited but someone who was supposed to take care of me changed that plane ride into the most terrible plane ride ever. I survived that and reached I-House the day I was supposed to report. It was an amazing week (IHANST week); people grunting, panting and begging to catch their breath and teammates encouraging each other to reach the finish line. After that everything went great, from classes to the rooms that we sleep in.
Three weeks ago, I was in Seoul with some of the international people on a trip. I had the best three days of my life and did things I never thought I would do. A week later, things changed and made me feel vulnerable to an extreme point. Today I am in Seoul but for a different reason. I am scared because I experienced the worst earthquake of my life, and I still can't get that picture out of my head of flickering lights on the ceiling and cement particles falling down, which I did not dare to see on whom it landed on. It was utter chaos. I ran out of the building to see if I could find a familiar face to hold me in their arms because I thought it was my last day on this Earth. It's funny that I found none at first, but I'm grateful that later in that chaos I found the person who has always been there for me and that day she did everything she could do to help me calm down. Well, I did make out of Pohang alive, but I didn't know if there's another catastrophe waiting for me when I thought I would find peace at that particular place. To my surprise, I reached the place I never thought I was going to visit my whole life. It was David’s workplace, the person who made my first airplane ride my worst airplane ride but thanks to the heavens above I escaped that place overnight but during this escape mission, I did find comfort for a short period, in Jacob’s voice over the phone. Physically I feel safe at the place I am right now, but mentally I am struggling because I feel the ground is moving when it's not and just a little similar sound from that day brings all the pictures back.
Some students arranged the homestay program which was the most amazing experience of living with strangers and feeling as if you are their own child. Language is the biggest barrier wherever you go, but when you see someone making an effort to communicate with you, it makes you feel special. The family that I stayed with did not know English, but they downloaded an application “Papago” which would translate whatever you speak into the microphone. The funny part was either of us would speak something and the app will translate it into something different and next thing you know, we are on the floor laughing. My Korean mom waking up at eight in the morning just to make breakfast only for me and then worrying about the next meals, made me feel as I am her own child.
I found comfort in different ways like reading the Bible, cuddling with my best friend or maybe be hearing Jacob’s voice on the phone helped me. It is difficult to find comfort in the midst of chaos but if you just go a little deeper and with all your heart I promise you will find comfort. (Names used for the people are not their real life names)