Impressive Memories of Mine in Missouri

When I arrived at Missouri, Columbia from Korea January, 16, 2009, I was 12. It was my very first time to be at the United States. And of course, Missouri. And, it has been almost 4 years after I got back to Korea.

My first day in Missouri was blurred. I was so tired of a long flight from Korea. So I almost fell in to sleep right away after I got there. But it's still bizarre that I remember that warm feelings that I felt for the first time to be at very strange place, which is still bizarre.

But my first day at school is very unforgettable. I can still remember my first class, my first seat and my first teacher. Strange place, strange people, strange foods and strange language. But there was a girl who sat next to me who brought back my courage from Korea to there. When she said “Hi”to me, it was not just “Hi,” it was my first start at Missouri. I could call it a miracle talking with her. There are 202 countries on the earth. There are 6809 languages on the earth. There are 49,000,000 people on the earth. So it is a miracle to be at one of 202 countries, to use one of 6809 languages and to be one of 49,000,000 people. She was my first best friend at Missouri. And first person I got to know at Missouri.

Starting from her, I got to know many other friends. I got back my courage from Korea. She introduced me her friends and everything that I had to know. And of course, it was very hard for me to get used to everything. And, to be honest, sometimes, I felt collapsed. Especially with language problems. But she was always there for me. And together we made lots of beautiful memories. Even though she moved away, we always communicated with each other. Although now we don't communicate each other(because I came back to Korea.), I still think of her. And I really wanted to write about her as a thank you gift for her. Thank you, Chelsey.

And there was that thing which was little bit strange to me. Or should I call it those times, which it was a recess time. Well, in Korea we don't have that much time to rest during at school. When I had my first time of recess, it was little bit strange to me (but also good because it was very long but still strange). I was just standing in the shadow of a tree just looking at other kids enjoying their own recess. I did not know what to do, should I walk around or just play with the balls. And besides, I didn't even know what they were playing or doing (especially four squares). Well, I didn't play four squares or hanging on the bars at my recess time in Korea. I didn't even know it existed. But, fortunately, I learned it fast and I finally got to enjoy it right like other kids. And it was really fun. And please don't think me as a weird girl. Because, I think if there was one of other 12 years old Korean girl like me, she might think same as I did.

And one of another great memory of mine in Missouri was watching a football game, which I don't remember at all. I don't even remember which team won. But I can still remember seating on the rock watching it. Although I didn't know how to play or how this game was going on (actually football is not very popular in Korea) but I cheered when others cheered and I screamed when others screamed, which was very fun. I remember this as a good memory because it was for the first time in my life to be a part of many foreigners. We were cheering the same team (although I don't remember which team won but I could tell apart which team I should root for). Although we were all strangers to each other, we had a common. We wanted the same team to win. And, to be honest, I think this was my first time to watch a game outside by live. I think people wants to be the part of something (like being a part of the team, many other groups or part of somebody's life), I think that is why there are many groups or teams (like a study group or soccer team) and I do want to be part of something too. So, I remember this as a good memory. Being a part of something.

After I came back to Korea, many things happened and many years have past. And now 4 years later, I am 17. And right now I am living in Seoul, Korea having normal days. I am middle school student spending my last year of middle school. We have very different school systems unlike the United States. First, our new school year begins in the spring. Second, we have 6 years of elementary school, 3 years of middle school and 3 years of high school. Third, we have longer winter vacation but we have shorter summer vacation (which we have almost same period of summer vacation and winter vacation). Fourth, we don't move around to take classes. We are assigned our classes. Which means when we arrive at school we go to our own classes and seat at our own seat which is also assigned and we seat there all day to take classes. So teachers have to come to our class to teach us at every schedule. And also our classes are numbered. For example, I am third grader and my class is number 3. Maybe, it was harder for me to get used to my school life in Missouri because of these many differences between Korea and the United States. But looking back I liked both school lives. I really miss Missouri. I want to go back to places in Missouri where I have been to if I get a chance.

Thank you Missouri for giving me these wonderful memories. That year in Missouri was my best year of my life. And next time, I will write about my stories in Korea after I came back from Missouri.

Sojung Marissa Park
Third Grader, Sinsa Middle School, Gangnam, Seoul, Korea