With my 2nd contract winding down, I have just under 6 months left of my time living in my home away from home in this lovely little nook under that big nuke up north. Just as a heads up, all is fine and dandy over here, life carries on like normal and I guarantee that the American media blows up everything far bigger than it even feels while living about 1.5 hours south of that big scary border.
I’ve been doing a bit of pondering lately about the things I’m going to miss about Korea and here are some things I threw together quickly over the last couple days. Maybe this will persuade some of you to get your tuchous’ over here just under the wire 😉
- Kimchi. I went like three days without it at school, I don’t even remember why because there is never a shortage of kimchi, but I was really depressed without it in my life for those three days. Hard to believe I was scared to try it for the whole first week I was here.
- Instant built in friends. Coming with EPIK/SMOE made building a network and getting oriented like it ain’t no thang. We had the chance to meet a crapton of people at a week-long orientation, and from there got to weed through the masses weekend after weekend at Hongdae Park and Zen 1 until we managed to find the ones who clicked with our own brand of weird. From that crop some pretty spectacular people sprang 🙂
- What’s anxiety? Yea, until about oh, the past week, I haven’t felt that for the past year and a half. Now I need to think about life after Korea and the happysadanxious feelings are once again having their reign.
- THE KIDS. Oh the kidssss. I don’t think I have seen cuter kids on the face of this here planet than Korean kids. I shit you not they are the most adorable babies ever. Until they are in about 6th grade. Then they suck.
- Playing the dumb foreigner card always has its perks. Lots of get out of free cards, not having to listen in meetings (even though I still don’t know why I have to attend them), and also having no one to report to or check in on me….ever.
- Going to the doctor is mere pennies. Back at home I never went to the doctor until I was practically dead and my mom was twisting my arm to go, because I couldn’t afford it and had no health insurance. Here, it costs ~$3 to see the doctor and then ~$4-7 for meds. Ka-ching! Slight cough and I’m all about Dr. Kim or Lee or Kwon or Oh.
- Seoul has the best subway system, hands down. The buses aren’t bad either, except for the kimchi fart rubber smell on occasion. But that’s everywhere.
- Incheon Airport. Praise all things holy and glorious. I love this airport so much I could marry it.
- Kimbap triangles, namely the tuna kimchi ones. Best snack on the go. It’s basically a triangle of rice with kimchi and tuna in the center and wrapped in seaweed and you have to unwrap the fancy wrapping correctly or you mess the seaweed up.
- Everything is convenient. Ripped your tights? Need some flats? Forgot your eyeliner? Oh, right this way. You hungry? Everything is always at your fingertips. Even a double eyelid (surgery OR tape).
- “Marting” the art of sitting on the sidewalk in front of 7-11 or GS25 on plastic lawn furniture and drinking makkoli, soju or mekju (beer) while enjoying some fine people watching and conversation.
- Which brings me to my next point. Makkoli. Sweet sweet makkoli. My beverage of choice in Korea. This delicious milky fizzy rice wine is found in the marts in a green or white bottle, or served in makkoli bars out of a kettle or bowl with ladel, with bowls for drinking. My personal fave is to add strawberry or melon ice cream to it. Nom.
- Noraebang. I regret to admit that it took me a year to discover my favorite Korean hobby, and I had to go to Japan to figure it out. Norae (sing), bang (room)….essentially a singing room where you go with any number of friends and just sing to your wildest heart’s content. Disney is my personal fave.
- Multibang. Basically consists of noraebang, PC bang, DVD bang and Wii. I went here on a couple dates and they were the best dates I have ever been on. SO MUCH FUN. Many Korean couples also go to these for some privacy, ifyaknowhatimsayin.
- That awkward feeling of being stared at, even by the baby who is barely two, yet also feeling like a celebrity at the same time because you obviously look different and even the baby can tell something is off about you. But it’s cool.
- Rice. Though I can surely live without it, I will miss it. Damn you bap!
- Hearing “nice to meet you” everyday for two years straight by the same kid. Groundhog day all day, e’er day.
- SO much nail polish!
- OH THE SHOPPING! It’s freakin everywhere!
- The cafe culture. There are just so many adorable cafes all over Seoul.
- Reading Hangul (the Korean alphabet). It’s like a puzzle to me. I feel like my brain is always working since I’m always reading everything around me trying to see if I can understand it. Definitely gonna miss this big time.
- ONDOL. Sweet beautiful heated floors how I will miss lying on you so.
- Daiso. It’s this amazing dollar store where everything is essentially between 1,000~5,000won. I always want to buy everything.
- Deli Manjoo, which are these custard filled little cake bites, which I actually recently found out are actually not even bad for you because apparently they are made from something called “wellbeing flour” whatever the heck that is. But apparently it’s not bad for you. THEY ARE SO YUMMY. Someone correct me if I had selective hearing on that one….
- Everything is too cute. I had to succumb to the Hello Kitty bling bling iPhone case, duh.
- The fastest internet on the planet, even if I have to be hooked up to an ethernet chord in my apartment. Oh, and wifi is literally everywhere. Even on the subway. You are never without connection in Korea.
- Korean food is so bomb. Especially the soups. Especially Mul Naengmyeon in summer (buckwheat noodles in an icy beef broth with julienned pears and cucumbers and a hard boiled egg, served with lots of dijon mustard and vinegar to taste).
- My personal fave….the what I like to call “just click print” shirts.
- Anytime I say “hi” or “thank you” in Korean to a Korean they are always impressed and think my Korean is amazing, as if I came to Korea yesterday.
- Over abundance of cute socks, and Obama socks.
- The Korean cartoon song from the 90s that plays every morning on the school speakers. I love it and have no clue what it’s about! Jin actually told me it is the theme song from her favorite cartoon when she was little!
- I will be getting my eyes lasered for less than triple the cost I would pay to get it done in the states. YAY SURGERY CAPITAL OF THE WORLD! More to come about THIS process in a later post….something which has been added to my anxiety!
I’m sure there are plenty more that I am surely forgetting, but for now these are some of the things that I am going to miss tremendously about Korea. The next six months are going to fly by and I’m already starting to get anxious about it, and not in a good way. Never in a million years did I think i would fall in love with the weirdest country on the planet and call it my second home. I’m sure I’ll add to this as time winds down, so keep your eyes peeled. Oh, and a post of Thailand and Laos to come soon, sorry I’ve just been supa busy as a bee!!