Well, no matter how much I can try to deny it, we're leaving Korea soon.
It finally became reality when this happened:
A bit hard to say it's not happening when most of your stuff gets packed up in the blink of an eye. As a result, I started thinking about all of the things we will miss about living here and all of the things we have to look forward to. This is Part 1 of the list - what we'll miss about Korea. There may or may not be tears happening as I type.
Oh, man...I don't know if this list will ever end. I'll try to keep it to the major points...in no particular order:
Korean food - not every delicacy was our cup of tea, but the bulgogi, dakkgalbi, jjajangmyeon, awesome fried chicken, beef and leaf, yummy street foods, and all those side dishes at restaurants...yeah, gonna miss those. I bought a Korean cook book, so I anticipate some attempts at recreation in my future. I now understand a bunch of our friends who do the same after living here.
Public transportation - subway, train, taxi, bus - so many great and easy options. My T-card may get its very own scrapbook page in honor of its awesomeness.
Music - I've enjoyed both traditional Korean music and K-Pop while here. Having taken my samulnori class, I have a greater appreciation for the older styles and their performances. I'm also going to miss the events and opportunities offered by the KTO.
Korean architecture - the traditional buildings and colors are just so beautiful.
Ondol flooring = warm tootsies all winter long! And I didn't have to wear socks! Pure bliss.
Art everywhere - at every hotel, every subway station, in the tunnel under the railroad...so nice to look around and find beauty in a HUGE city.
Friends - with each move, we've made new friends and have been sad to part company when we've moved to the next location. The many friends I've made in Korea have all been so supportive and like a family while here; in the absence of your actual family, your community quickly becomes one. My Korean family is from all over the world: the US, Korea, Poland, Lithuania...and this is going to be a pretty tough "See ya later."
Museums and festivals - sooooooo many wonderful exhibits and experiences - so much history. Definitely going to miss those, as well as the great venues for the 8th Army Band's performances. I see some road trips and exploring of the US in our future...
Strawberries (and other fresh fruits and veggies) - the winter strawberries here are grown in greenhouses and are lovingly referred to as "crackberries"...yes, they are that good. I've loved being able to head out to a neighborhood produce truck or local store for the fresh produce when I could. It's a Farmer's Market on the go - with great prices and oh, so good food.
picture courtesy of my friend, Suzanne
A sense of sharing and caring - while there are negatives in any society today (just turn on the news for a quick refresher - or don't...just trust me there), we will absolutely miss the kindness of Korea's people and the sense of sharing (meals, time, work). While we are obviously foreigners and communication was taxing at times, we have always been treated kindly and offered help when it was needed. One of the other writer's for Korea Ye! wrote a piece about sharing here - it's a good read: Korea Has Taught Me To Share
Safety - the sense of safety in a huge city. This is a big one that many will not understand, especially since Korea has some interesting neighbors to the North and that's what most think of when they hear "Korea". One of the things that we kind of dread about going back to the states is the constant worry about being safe - from people, from guns, from predators...it's been very nice to not worry about it all of the time. Now don't get me wrong - there are guns and unhappy people in Korea, but it's harder to have access to them and the swift justice system here deters stealing and other negatives pretty well. Here are two fun videos that dealt with the topic:
Honesty Test in Korea
Losing a Wallet Experiment in Korea
Okay, I'll stop there - before I start listing every little thing possible - there really is sooo much we've loved about living here. The next post will be about the opposite - what we are looking forward to back in the US.
We have had an amazing experience and are so glad we were brave enough to go on the adventure.