It still hasn’t fully hit me that my wonderful 6 weeks in Korea are over. Tomorrow marks one week since my return, and I wanted to post about some of the main Korean things that I’ll miss now that I’m back in the US.
1. The spectacular views–pretty much everywhere
I never thought I would be a big fan of city living, but it really wasn’t that bad. One of the biggest perks was having spectacular city views almost everywhere. Whether right outside my doorstep or sitting at a baseball game, there are awesome city views intermingled with mountainscapes that make for a gorgeous view.
2. Being surrounded by cultural landmarks
Another benefit of living in a very large city — everywhere you go there’s some piece of culture and history to explore. I probably should have explored these landmarks more than I did, but the few excursions that I did go on were really interesting.
3. The subway system (and public transportation in general)
THIS. In the US, unless you live in a really large city, like NYC or D.C., there aren’t really any subways, and even public bus systems are sparse and fairly useless. It was awesome to be connected to everywhere in Seoul for pretty low prices. Living carless in the US would be a nightmare. Living carless in Seoul was painless.
Bet you didn’t expect this to be on the list, but I just had to include it. Leave it to South Korea to perfect the McDonald’s experience. The food had the all of the good taste but none of the greasy fast-foodness that it often has in the US.
Best of all, in Korea, McDonald’s delivers. I can’t even imagine how much fatter the US population would be if McDonald’s delivered here.
5. No small talk
I hate small talk, and thankfully, it doesn’t really exist in Korea. On the subway, nobody interacts with anybody around them. On the street, you don’t smile or wave at strangers. You just act like everyone around you doesn’t exist. It’s beautiful. My dad would hate it–he loves chatting with strangers.
6. K-pop. Everywhere.
I’m definitely going to miss walking down any random street in Seoul and being barraged by different K-pop songs being played by beauty stores, etc. I was expecting more American music to be played, honestly, but I was pleasantly surprised. I lost count of how many times I heard Twice’s Cheer Up or EXO’s Lucky One being played.
7. Song Joongki. Everywhere.
Song Joongki deserves his own special goodbye. He was in probably 80% of the advertisements that I passed by. He infiltrated beer ads, phone ads, ice cream ads, subway signs, etc. I’m going to miss seeing his face literally dozens of times every day.
8. Muscle Mass
The number of stairs I had to climb in Korea was insane. Just to get to my dorm I had to climb 112 stairs — and I had to climb them multiple times per day. Add to that the plethora of stairs and hills that walking around Seoul and taking the subway requires, and you’ve got an insane amount of stairs. My legs are probably more fit than they’ve ever been before. I definitely won’t miss the stairs themselves, but I will miss the muscle strength that they created.
9. People with common interests
I’m so used to being the only person I know that listens to K-pop and watches K-dramas. That was definitely not the case at KU! Almost every person attending the program listened to K-pop and watched dramas. It was so incredibly awesome to be surrounded by people who actually also love the songs that I love, and whom I could debate plot points of dramas with. It’s going to be sad returning to a life where no one else cares about K-pop/K-dramas.
10. Korean as the default language
I saved the most depressing one for last. I’m going to miss hearing “어서 오세요” every time I walk into a store, hearing friends chatting away in 반말 as they walk down the street, seeing everyone bow as they greet each other, and experiencing all of the other aspects of daily life in Korean. It really motivated me to work harder in my Korean studies moving forward so that the next time I visit Korea, I’ll be able to interact with my surroundings more fluently.
While there are definitely other things I’ll be sure to miss about Korea, those are 10 of the main things that I wanted to highlight. In my next post, I’ll talk about some of the things that I won’t miss so much about Korea.