It's no secret that I'm pretty heavy on the sentimental stuff at times, and I've been known to let my emotions get wildly out of control, but fear not because this will not be one of those moments. Sometimes you meet people in your life that make you want to be a better person, people that make you strive to do your best each day, people that uplift your spirit and encourage your hopes and dreams. This is not a story about those types of people. This is a story about one of the best people I've ever met in my entire life, my friend Andrew. And how much I want to simultaneously hug him until he explodes and hit him in the face with the back of my hand.
A little over a year ago I met Andrew. He was our new instructor coming in halfway through winter term of 2012, and I was really excited that he was a male (because I'm pathetic). I remember excitedly leaving my classroom at break time to meet the "new guy" and even maybe checking myself out in the mirror before I got to the teacher's room. I opened the door, I saw the suitcases, and then... I saw the hair. So much hair. Hair on his face, hair on his head, just a really overwhelming amount of hair to be on one person. I unenthusiastically shook his hand and introduced myself (not as Jessica, don't worry), because I'm a terrible person. I remember walking back to class with Matt and saying to him something along the lines of, "Ugh! Why can't we get anybody good looking to come work here? Who am I supposed to date in this country?!" Who knew that a year later I would be best friends with this Messiah look alike, doing my best not to bawl my eyes out over the fact that he's leaving the country and I'm not completely sure when I'll see him again.
Teaching in Korea is very transitionary, people come and go, sometimes it's sad, sometimes it's terrible, sometimes it's exciting, sometimes it's confusing. Since I arrived here 15 months ago I've had to say goodbye to a lot of lovely and wonderful friends and acquaintances. Sara, the Canadian girl I went through training with and stayed up late nights worrying about passing our initial tests, moving to some random Seoul suburb, and teaching alongside for 6 months. Virls, the sexbomb Brit who made me laugh more than any other woman on this peninsula... usually over a bottle of vodka or two. Marty, the disastrous human being that nearly killed Matt multiple times and got us kicked out of/off of many establishments/buses, but somehow worked his way into my heart and who I couldn't be more fond of now. Kara, the girl who always made me feel better about my hangovers and interesting life decisions because hers were always more noteworthy. Bridgette & Mel, two of the best reasons to roadtrip to Washington when I'm home, the most genuine and truly fun people to be around (especially when wine is involved). Maleah, the friendship that started with hate and a bottle of wine on a bus at 4:00 am but developed beautifully, a fellow Oregon girl and an honest and lovely friend. And so many more... Jen, Allie, Gill, Nik, Grace, Melly Mair, Lauren, Joe. You get the idea.
This goodbye is different. This goodbye makes my heart hurt and my water come out of my eyes and makes me feel like I've just been told that there was a terrible accident and now I'm about to lose a limb or a relatively vital internal organ. My crybaby Jeejus is going home and now I don't have a friend in 506 to come talk shit with when I'm bored at work, or make fun of people with because he's secretly a mean girl at heart but pretends to be an upstanding young gentlemen, or make my students draw pictures of dressed as a girl because I think it's funny to prey on the secretive fact that he was born Andrea, or take shots of Jameson with at bars and then fight over the fact that it doesn't taste the same back home. I don't really have the right words to say bye, so I guess I'll just post a bunch of pictures of my favorite times I've spent with him and cry while I write sardonic captions.
Man that trip to India was so fun.
The one time we scaled a mountain to see a sunrise and Andrew complained the entire time.
This was cool because we didn't even actually go ziplining. Apparently you aren't allowed to when it's windy or you'll die. Koreans can, but not white folks.
Andrew's Kid Rock costume was so well thought out.
Underground: where good decisions go to die... aka Andrew's safe haven.
This weekend in Busan literally makes my heart burst to think about. People that I love so much becoming friends and talking shit about me makes me the happiest girl on Earth.
Proof that we are outdoorsy and like to do things like climb fortressess (Cass red in hand).
Last Christmas when we all still kind of thought Andrew might secretly be homeless.
My favorite photos to ever be on the internet are those of this year's Halloween costume choice: Snow White. I have never been more proud to call him my friend.
The time we visited North Korea and drank beers at lunch (nobody else did this and yes the food was terrible).
The beach trip where nobody got a tan.
After we threw mud at each other all day then tried to look pretty enough to go out to a "club" in a small fishing town, followed by naked people being kicked out of the ocean at like 3:00 am. That was a weird night.
I love you and I'm going to miss the shit out of you. I hope you know what an impact you've had on me as a person, as a friend, as someone I love to fight with but love to beat in arguments more. In some strange way I think you've made me a better person and I can't wait to come bust down the door in Ottawa (that's right OTTAWA) and announce that I'm becoming a Canadian citizen and moving next door to your parents so I can face-to-face chat with them all day long instead of doing it on facebook. I know that mental image is literally taken from your dream book, and you're welcome. If I make it through the next 5 months here without you I guess the shots are on me next time.