What would an exchange year be without all the friends you make? The friends that come from all over the world, that make you think once again about the country you grew up in, the language you’re speaking… That’s why I want you to get to know the people I have met. The next person I want you to meet is Manting.

Manting is 21 years old and grew up in California. Studying in Seoul he had tons of classes, but still the time for a little volleyball club and the Korean Language Course (KLI). Manting and I sat next to each other KLI, we struggled together during class  and gave us this I-don’t-get-it-look at least every 30 minutes. Exhausted as I was he padded always my on my back, saying 괜찮아 [It’s okay!]. Before each exam we practiced and helped each other to understand what the hell we were learning in this class (: Thank you !

Also, Manting was the glue that hold our class together. Not only was he making us smile, whenever he talked about his 여자 친구 [girlfriend] during class. Organizing gatherings and Secret Santa, Manting also made the twelve of us all get to know each other. In the end of the year, he even wrote everyone a goodbye letter </3 Sitting beside this warm and hard working soul for almost everyday I really wanted to mention him in this blog. But since Manting is writing poems and texts on his own Blog, I asked him to write a few words himself:

Nyob Zoo! That means ‚Hello‘ in Hmong! Quick thank you to Linh for allowing me to be a part of her blog!

My journey was eventful, I learned, I wept, I persevered, and I survived. I’m reflecting on my original goals and aspirations when I first came to Korea. I succeeded in accomplishing some of those and more importantly, I answered questions I had about myself for a while now. Words can’t describe the emotions I felt during my time abroad. Missing home, assimilating into Korea, making unforgettable memories, and coming to terms with the harsh sad farewells.

For me, it wasn’t the classes, the activities, the food, nor Korea itself that made me enjoy it. It was the people I met through my study abroad journey. The people are what made my study abroad experience fun and terrible. I met many people, some stayed and enjoyed my company. Others decided I wasn’t pleasant to be with. And I respect that. I don’t hold any negative feelings towards everyone.

I wasn’t able to illuminate everyone’s life that I met. But I was able brighten up a good hand full. I didn’t see it as me doing anything special. I just gave positivity to the universe and I hope the universe will give some back to me too.

On a night in December after I turned out the light in my dorm room. I went to lay on my bed, hoping to sleep. But I couldn’t sleep. I stayed awake thinking, wow… Later this month, they’ll be gone. I probably will never see some them ever again. They gave me so much joy in my life. The thought of continuing my life without seeing them in person and their enthusiasm was disheartening to the point where I wept.

I have said good byes to many people throughout my life. And everytime when it is to people who have impacted and positively affected my life. I feel as if my journey in life itself seemed in mysterious way lost some of its meaning. As if we are to continue to go through life losing things and people but only being able to hold onto the happy and warm memories.

In the Hmong language, there isn’t a word for good bye. We always believe that we will see the other person again somewhere. The equivalent of our good bye is ’sib ntsib dua‘, which means. See you again.😊

Thank you again, Linh! For everything.