A Korean Aussie adoptee goes back home for the first time. Hilarity ensues?
“You know someone went bungee jumping in Seoul and the rope snapped, right?” said my friend Ellwyn to Nelli and I on the subway.
“I don’t believe you.”
“There’s a YouTube video! And a kid died too. Just last week.”
A few panicked Google searches later and I realised that these incidents, while awful, didn’t happen at Yuldong Park – the place where we were bungee jumping.
But the thought of the rope snapping was already in my mind.
“Now I’m scared.”
“You should be scared!”
I felt my heart plummet when I saw the bungee jumping platform looming above a lake. I made backup plans in my head.
“If the rope snaps, I can swim.”
I watched Koreans screaming and hurling themselves through the air. A big crowd of onlookers gasped and giggled.
… But then we found out that the bungee jump place was booked out for the day. So we went back to Seoul and had a good time in Hongdae.
I felt eerily calm the next morning as we headed towards Yuldong Park again, though that was probably because I was sleep-deprived from the previous night’s shenanigans.
It wasn’t until I got up to the top when I felt the fear. The harness around me suddenly seemed as light as a waistcoat.
“Jump towards the house,” said the bungee jumping supervisor, pointing to a cute hanok-style building on the other side of the park.
But I couldn’t stop looking at the huge blue lake below me.
“Are you ready?” asked the bungee jumping supervisor.
I thought I was going to cry. I’ve had nightmares about things like this.
“Take a deep breath.”
My chest shuddered as I breathed in.
“Okay. Let’s do it. LET’S DO IT.”
I let out a choked gurgling noise and jumped. For a moment, everything was blue.
“This is the end!” boomed the primal part of my brain that knows jumping off a thing doesn’t usually end well.
I bounced back. I survived! But then I forgot that I had to go back down again. It was a most unpleasant surprise.
“AAAAAAAAAARGHIODSGIDDJSFIAEAAFJER!” I flailed my limbs around hopelessly in a misguided attempt to stop. Instead, I bounced up and down again and screamed some more. Oh, how I screamed. Like my legs were being eaten by piranhas.
Then… I was flying! Swinging through the air like a school musical production of Peter Pan.
“Yeah! Woooo!” I spread my arms out wide and laughed maniacally.
A guy in a boat caught me at the bottom, my legs wobbling as I tried to remember gravity. I was still laughing. I’d done it!
Kpop group, The Wonder Girls, bungee jumping at Yuldong Park
I sent Umma and my sisters a photo of my adventure.
“Was it scary?”
“Yes! Very scary!”
Brave? Even though I lost my marbles in the middle of it?
Then I thought, yes. I am brave as hell. I tried doing a really scary thing. And even though I was terrified the whole time, at least I tried. And I didn’t even vomit or lose control of my bowels.
Let’s just say it’s a tenuous metaphor for going to live in Korea. (Except for the vomiting and losing control of my bowels part.)
This blog post was written in lieu of posting a video of the bungee jump, which is dreadfully embarrassing and features old Korean women at the park laughing at my screams of horror.