It is no secret that I have really loved our time in South Korea. Of course there are things about the U.S. I have missed and look forward to getting back to, but today here are 10 things I’m really going to miss about living in Korea.
1. Korean Food
Once we move to Tacoma, there will be no shortage of Korean cuisine. However, there is something so nice about having a Yaki Mandu craving at 8 pm and having a young Korean guy recklessly drive his scooter to deliver Korean food right to your door. I will miss you Korean Frying.
2. Restaurant Bells
Korea really has it going on with these service bells. At most sit down restaurants in Korea, there is a doorbell looking button on your table. Any time you want to see your server you push the button, it’s great! No overly attentive servers and no juggling your empty cup of ice hoping your server will bring you more water. Also, no tipping, another plus.
3. Day Trips to Seoul
I have loved living close one of the largest cities in the world. Seoul is a quick hour train ride from our home here in Pyeongtaek and you can easily spend the whole day hopping from subway station to subway station experiencing incredible shopping, delicious street food, and fun touristy sites. It never gets old.
4. Open Markets
You think farmers’ markets are cool, well you need to hop on a flight to South Korea. The open air markets are still a major part of Korean culture and they are HUGE. In addition to these major markets, every town has their own little market for more local, small scale farmers. If we are ever bored in Korea, our local market is only a 5 minute walk away. Strolling the streets of the ville looking at all the fresh food while eating a fresh Hotteok is one of my favorite pastimes here.
5. Rich Culture
I am proud to be from a country with such a wealth of different cultures, but it does make it a little confusing when it comes to practicing cultural traditions passed down for hundreds of years. Many Koreans still celebrate ancient traditions or live in a traditional way and it has been really interesting to see them living in a modern way yet still practicing traditional Korean customs.
Like most things, don’t knock it until you try it. Milkis is a milk flavored soda but it tastes amazing. It also looks kind of gross, so most people won’t ask for a drink unless they are in the know.
7. Using Korean
I have a very limited number of Korean words in my vocabulary but I have really enjoyed learning new words and being able to communicate with the people I interact with outside of the base. I know as soon as we reach the U.S. I will most likely forget all but a couple of these. However, kamsamnida (thank you) and anyeonghaseo (hello) will forever be engrained in my memory.
8. Being the Minority
It may sound weird but I really like being the minority in Korea. I get really excited anytime I’m away from the base and I see another American and I like the challenge of being the foreigner. Even just going out to eat can be a learning experience and a challenge and moving back to the states is going to take a lot of the feelings of adventure away.
9. Close Community
This has more to do with Camp Humphreys than Korea but I love the close knit community on this installation. It is a small base so your run into people everywhere and if you don’t know someone personally you definitely know their name. Also, if you ever need anything, someone is always there to offer a hand because we all understand how hard it is being in a different country and away from all your family and friends. In the states, I haven’t had the same experience, even living on base. It’s just different.
10. Mr. and Mrs. Lee
Our landlords, Mr. and Mrs. Lee are the sweetest couple. They live below us and always bring us food and little gifts. They love Addison and let us be for the most part. They do some odd things sometimes but I don’t know if that is just our cultural differences or because they are just a bit goofy. It’s such an odd feeling knowing that we will probably never see these two again. While we don’t speak the same language I have grown fond of them and will miss them and their crazy antics.