Well, friends, we are down to just three days left in Korea. Three. Days. In honor of our time here I thought I’d make a Top 10 list of things I’ll miss about Korea. Of course, I’ll miss more than this – I’ll miss my cute students and random people telling me I’m beautiful all the time, and maybe even (occasionally) CoT, but this is my top 10 list of things I really enjoy about Korea.
- Mountains everywhere you look. I grew up in Louisiana which is so flat that parts of it are actually below sea level. Then I spent 5 years in the Chicago area – also completely flat. When we moved to Raleigh in 2011 I was delighted by the slight roll the land, but it’s nothing compared with the legitimate mountains that surround Daegu completely and are present anywhere you go in Korea. They’re not Rocky Mountains or Himalayas, but they are still little bits of beauty poking over the city rooftops and I love them.
- Excellent Public Transportation. While I sometimes miss the directness of hopping in my car and going exactly where I want to go, I have to admit that buses and subways in Korea are cheap, easy to use, and go anywhere you want if you can stick with it through the lurching, sometimes crowded bus rides. Taxis are also abundant and very cheap making life without a car completely doable. It takes longer to get where you’re going without a car, but I enjoy not having to deal with traffic or pay for car insurance and maintenance.
- Skincare and Makeup. Korea is famous for their advanced skin care and makeup products. I’ve become something of a makeup junkie in the last year and have enjoyed trying out lots of Korean products which are generally very affordable. Additionally, my skin is probably the best it has been in my entire life over the past few months so I’m really trying to squeeze backups of my favorite skin care products into our suitcase to take back with me!
- Cheap Healthcare. I’ve had mixed experiences with the quality of healthcare in Korea, mainly just the running of unnecessary tests and tendency to over-medicate, but I can’t complain about how incredibly cheap it is (Average doctor’s visit is $3 – $4. Average prescription $4 – $5). I went to the dentist for a cleaning – $14. I went back to have a small cavity filled and while the price for this was comparable to what it would be in the states, it was 15 minutes between the time I walked in and the time I left. Of course, Korea is quite bad about things like basic hygiene which is why I was forced to share an ear thermometer with all the teachers at my school during the MERS outbreak when we had to record our temperature every day. As I predicted to my CoTeacher, this resulted in me getting an ear infection. But, again, the good news is that even though I had to go to the dr every day for a week to have it cleaned out, it only cost me about $15 or $20 total.
- Mandu, Bulgogi, Galbi, Tofu Jigae. These are some of my favorite Korean foods. While I don’t like all Korean foods, the ones I like, I REALLY like and I know I’ll miss them. It may take a while, but I will miss them eventually.
- Norebang.The word “norebang” is Korean for “song room” and these are basically like private karaoke rooms. These are wildly popular as an activity to do with your friends or with your business colleagues after a night of hard drinking (also popular). I sing constantly, but I have no talent for it. Nevertheless, I love those dark rooms with the disco lights and that mike in my hands.
- Couples Outfits. Sadly, I never got Jonathan to join in this popular trend of Korean couples dressing in matching clothing. I did manage to get us a set of couples underwear last Christmas and while I can’t get Jonathan to wear them, it makes me happy that we have them!
- Feeling Safe Always. Korea is a very safe country with very low rates of violent crime. I have never once felt threatened to walk home late at night in our dimly lit streets or even to go running alone after dark. While I get a lot of attention here for my blond hair and blue eyes, and the staring can be annoying, I’ve never felt threatened by it in the way that I have often felt threatened by (particularly male) attention in America. I’ve never worried about locking anything here or leaving my laptop on the table in the coffee shop while I go pick up my order. During my years in Korea the safety in my own country has decreased dramatically and I am not looking forward to going back to that constant awareness of myself and who is around me and whether my car door is locked and whether that package looks suspicious.
- Service! Service is basically when a store or restaurant gives you free things to thank you for coming. It’s the best and it’s very, very common. Free drinks or desserts at restaurants (or occasionally an appetizer), free samples at beauty stores (and not like one or two foil packets, like whole free bottles of things, sheet masks, makeup samples, etc), or even super random things like socks or instant coffee.
- Friends, Korean and Foreign. We’ve made some good friends during our time here, both Koreans and other native teachers like us. It’s strange to leave somewhere and really not know for sure if or when you’ll see these people again. We are so thankful for the friendships we’ve made here and I really do hope to stay in touch with many of the friends we’ve made and to see some of them again someday, in America, in Korea, or somewhere else in the world.
I can understand how much u feel about that…… Hope will back soon
Wow!!!! i also want to visit at least one time to Korea….. i hope i will
especially want to visit Seoul and jeju…….. ❤
Definitely visit Seoul and Jeju, but my favorite city in Korea is Busan!
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Ohhh!!!! then i will go there also 🙂
Am just planning to visit when its date fixed i’ll inform you bcz u hv to tell me which places are good to see ok? 😀
It looks like you had a beautiful, memorable time in Korea! The mountains, healthcare, food, and people sound perfect. Enjoy your last three days of that wonderful place, and know you not only made a difference in your adventurous life, but in the lives of others! :0)
That’s so sweet, thank you. 🙂 Thanks for coming along on my journey!
Beautiful! I’ve loved getting to see a bit of Korea through your eyes. Best wishes for the journey back.
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Thank you, Katie! I really appreciate it!
You will probably be able to find some Korean restaurants in the States, so maybe you will be able to indulge once in awhile. But the rest you will have to leave back in Korea and find new things to love elsewhere! Safe travels….
I’m sure we’ll be able to find Korean restaurants, but it won’t be the same. 😉 I’m looking forward to finding new things to love! Thank you!
I think we need some karaoke rooms in the US too! Love the photo of the couples outfit. My husband would not do that in a million years, lol.
Is there a way to get Korean skin care products here in the states without it being too expensive? It would be fun to try. Do you have one that you would recommend?
Sorry for the duplicate comment! I thought this one didn’t go through.
I think we need karaoke rooms here in the US! I love the photo of the couples outfit. My husband would not do that in a million years.
Is there a way to get Korean beauty products here in the states? I would like to try one, & I’m wondering what you might recommend.
I’ve heard of a few cities that have karaoke rooms! I think there is at least one in Chicago so maybe they are starting to come over, haha. And YES to the Korean beauty products. You have to be careful ordering on Ebay because they will sometimes sell you knockoffs, but I’m pretty sure this place is good. http://en.koreadepart.com/ As far as recommendations go, I can definitely give you some – I got very into makeup and skincare there. Some things I use and am very happy with are – The Face Shop’s Ricewater Bright Line for cleansing. I really like the cleansing water which works like Bioderma or a micellar water to remove all of your makeup very gently. Innisfree’s Green Tea Seed Line. I love the Green Tea Seed Serum and Green Tea Seed Cream. Missha’s Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence and the Time Revolution Night Repair Science Activator Ampoule. The Laniege Water Sleeping Pack is an overnight gel mask that will do wonders for dry skin (or really any skin). Etude House has a Wonder Pore Toner that people rave about (I’ve only just started using it, so I’m not sure yet) and I’ve used things from their Moistfull Collagen line and really like those. For more specialty things like masks I’d recommend the Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Clay Mask, the Black Sugar Wash Off Mask from Skinfood, and the Pineapple Peeling Gel from Skinfood (chemical exfoliant). Pretty much all brands of sheet masks are good.
Hope that helps. 🙂
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Thank you very much! I’m going to check out the site you recommended.
what in intereseting in this trip it’s that you are happy to meet persons like those because it’s important to know all the world in our time. i love your article and i hope one day i’ll be like you if you want of course.
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