Top 5 Things
Top 5 Things I Miss About Korea
- Public Transportation
If you don’t know about Korea’s transportation system by now, you should. It’s everywhere. As much as I’ve come to enjoy a good run in my neighborhood, it’d be awesome to catch the subway to downtown or even San Francisco without needing a car to get to a tram station or city bus stop. I actually feel more comfortable using taxis and buses in Korea than I do here, and it’s not like my Korean is even understandable. I hear the US is looking into a transcontinental transit system; they might want to get on that sooner rather than later.
This is the point where I make strange guttural noises of desire at the mere mention of grilling dinner at your own table. Boneless rib meat piled raw on a plate just waiting for you to cook and season it to perfection with a side of rice. Heaven. Mouth-watering heaven.
- Rich Cultural Experiences
I challenge anyone who’s spent even a weekend in Korea to say they’ve never witnessed the rich culture that is so colorfully present.From holiday traditions like Chuseok to the changing of the guard at the palaces in Seoul, from the experience of Korean commercials in a theater to the hype of election day, from the Buddhist history in the countryside to the influence of K*Pop in the city streets, and from adjummas to Angry Birds, Korea is filled to the brim with a beautiful and unique culture. There is always something to do and learn, and it’s one of the reasons my time in Korea was so amazing.
- Going Everywhere is an Adventure (when you don’t know Hangul)
What’s nice about having a generally good sense of direction (in the day time) is that you can wander around with a pretty open mind without worrying about where you are exactly. When I was in the city on my own, I would take to wandering around just because I could. What better way to find yourself than getting lost in the first place? Or at least relatively lost. My favorite place to go exploring was in Insadong and finding hole-in-the-wall places and pieces of art I’d never have seen otherwise. This spirit of adventure is closely linked to experiencing the rich culture in Korea, so I’ll just recommend you go and find a few things for yourself.
Okay, since I’ve been home, my chopstick skills have declined at a rather embarrassing rate. We had spaghetti a month or so ago, and I was so excited about using my chopsticks that my parents gave me really strange looks. Last week I cooked up some stir fry (from a bag, le sigh) and just couldn’t manage to get my food from the bowl to my mouth. I am out of practice.
Top 5 Things I’ll Miss About the States
- Variety of Fresh Produce
Let me just say one word: Avocados. While I could get broccoli, bananas, apples, potatoes, and tangerines to my heart’s content back in Korea, fresh produce has a tendency to spoil pretty quickly over there. Here, I’ve been enjoying just grabbing an avocado and eating it plain or topping my sandwiches/burgers. The fact that I can grab berries and melons, green beans and snap peas, and almost any other kind of produce imaginable is really nice. I don’t eat a lot of the vegetables they have in Korea and the fruit can often be expensive, so I’m definitely going to be missing what’s available here.
Since I’ve been back, I probably eat a sandwich for lunch five times out of the week. It’s not so much the bread that I enjoy, but the deli meat! Turkey, salami, liverwurst, ham and bologna! Oh the options! Unless I want a spam sandwich or something pre-made with egg or mayo, the only sandwiches I can really make are grilled cheese or scrambled egg.
- Kitty Company
I love my kitty and she provides great, though furry, company. I’m not going to miss the fur, but I am going to miss the way she likes to sit on my lap, stretch out on the floor, and roll over wanting me to pet her. There’s isn’t a cat at any kitty cafe that could compare.
- Full Size Beds
It’s funny how often I seem to switch between twin beds and full beds. Three years of a twin in college, two years of a full, one year of a twin, three months of a full, and likely another year of a twin. I’m not saying twins are terrible beds, just how much I’m going to miss spreading out and rolling around in the bigger bed. It’s nice not to worry about turning over and falling off the bed while you’re sleeping. That and twin beds just make me think I’m in college and not an actual adult yet…
- Laundry Supplies
Okay, I wouldn’t say the laundry supplies are any better here than they are in Korea… just that I can’t differentiate between fabric softener and detergent. I don’t have any brand name loyalty since I usually just go with the cheapest option, but at least I know what exactly the formula is meant to do. And I’ll miss dryer sheets. I know dryers in Korea can be rather sparse, but I really like dryer sheets and embedding my face in a warm pile of freshly laundered clothes.