My time in South Korea constantly invades my head space. But now, since the first draft of my book is complete, the thoughts that consume me aren’t always real memories, and to be honest, they haven’t been since I started writing. The thoughts I’m referring to are made up memories and opinions of my characters. This odd experience is one of my favourite parts of writing: getting so invested and involved in your characters lives that they actually become real.
That being said, the reason I started writing my book in 2009 wasn’t in hopes of getting it published, but instead to chronicle memories, the setting, and the many unique characteristics of South Korea from an ESL teachers perspective. I wanted the memories to live on, and I wanted to create something I could read when I turn old and grey, to remind me of the incredible experience Ian and I had in 2007 and 2008. I sought to chronicle in a creative way, and since I have been attempting to write novels since elementary school, starting a fictional travel memoir seemed like the perfect fit.
That brings me to the point of today’s blog post: inspiration. Of course, I draw from real experiences I had in South Korea in my book. Ian and I created a blog while we were overseas, and it’s still available online. Once in a while I’ll look back at in, and I’ve even used quotes from our old blog as a reference during my novel drafting process.
The post below was written Saturday, July 21, 2007. It’s funny to look back and see how my writing has evolved since 2009, but I wouldn’t change a thing: it’s raw and what I was feeling at that exact moment. The post is a pretty special one because we had been living in Seoul for a few months at that point, and we had also experienced our third string of bad-luck robberies.That’s right, robberies. When something like theft happens to you in a foreign country, especially the way it happened to us, you have to write about it. And I felt compelled to use it as an inspiration in my novel, because what happened to us was action-packed and the situation was quite unique. (Keep in mind, since my parents and family read the blog while we were away, not all of the juicy parts were included in the post, wink, wink. You’ll have to wait for the book to get some insight into the full story! Hint: What was stolen during the second robbery we experienced wasn’t what you’d expect!)
Hopefully you’ll find the post below entertaining and see why I would use this particular experience as motivation for a chapter in my novel. Happy reading!
July 21, 2007
I hear phrases like, “Third time’s a charm,” and “Bad things happen in three’s” and before coming here, I don’t know if I believed in all that!
So, as Ian mentioned in the last post, our Mud Festival trip was amazing– definitely in the top 2 best excursions we have done here so far! Ian also mentioned that I had a story to tell, and I do. I just wrote this intro to build the anticipation. All right, all right, so here is the story….
Saturday night, after a long day of beaching it and mudd’ing it up, Ian was super tired and wanted to head back to our motel room that we also shared with Andy and Leah. So I said I would go back with him and told Andy and Leah that I would take the key, and leave the door unlocked for them. (Can you see where this is going?!) So, Ian and I head back to the motel, he fully passes out within 1 minute of his head hitting the hard floor where we slept, and I am left to try to sleep myself.
A few minutes after closing my eyes, I heard Andy and Leah come home quietly. I kept my eyes shut because they turned on the radiant light in the main room and I knew that if I opened them they would burn! I thought it was strange that they would even bother turning on the main light, but continued to keep my eyes shut and tried to sleep. Then, I felt the light go off and Andy come in the room. ‘Ah, that’s nice,’ I thought in my head, ‘Andy and Leah are coming inside to get their clothes, so they can change in the other room so they don’t wake us up.’
Have you ever had the feeling when you are almost asleep, but you feel like someone is standing over you? Well, I felt like that and slowly winked open an eye. I caught a glimpse of Khaki shorts and legs too hairless to be Andy’s. My eyes slowly travelled up the man and I realized that it wasn’t Andy and Leah in our room at all… it was a Korean man, going through Leah’s wallet and bag, right beside where Ian and I were sleeping on the floor!
So, I stood up and shouted “What the hell are you doing, get the “~BEEP~* out of here!” The Korean man dropped the wallet, and made some hand gestures that could be interpreted as “no, no” and I just kept yelling “What are you doing? Get out!” And he finally bolted. My heart was racing so fast. I tried to wake Ian up with all my might. I tried kicking him and yelling to him that a robber was in our room- everything. He was fully passed out. And I clearly didn’t want to stay in the room by myself any more, so I grabbed some warmer clothes and ran outside with my only weapon– the key. I locked the door behind me and surveyed the area, hoping to catch a glimpse of the criminal, key in hand. He was gone. I eventually started my trek down the strip to find Andy and Leah and continuously tried reaching them on their cell phones, but I found out later that their phones weren’t on them.
To wrap the story up, after searching for Andy and Leah down the strip at the Mud Festival for about an hour, I headed back to the motel room and there were Andy and Leah, Andy glaring at me because he had no idea what had happened– all they knew was that they couldn’t get in our motel room, had been knocking on the door and woken up the neighbours. They knew something was wrong because I was completely sober, so I should have heard the pounding if I were inside the room.
So, after a night of craziness, and talking with the Korean police (which is usually a challenge enough in itself!), we went to bed that night with our hearts racing. Luckily, the robber had dropped Leah’s wallet when I yelled at him and took none of our belongings. Leah and I went and got a mud facial the next day and felt a little more relaxed.
After these past two months of insanely coincidental incidences, I feel like we can handle anything! While all these things have happened, we still have to credit ourselves as extremely lucky! It could have been a lot worse. And, after all, it makes for a good story in the end! 😉