After today I have two more Mondays of work left. It’s a bitter sweet feeling I get when I think that in 30 days I’ll be back in the US of A!!! I figured since my parents think I’m bitter and complain about being here so much, that I’d write about what I will miss about leaving this crazy country!!!! (I’m sitting here at work watching out of the corner of my eye, my co-teacher trying to get the space heater adjusted to her liking because I removed it from under her desk so I didn’t freeze my toes off while I was here last week ALL ALONE!!!!! Haha) Anyways, as much as I complain about being here and how much the culture here aggravates me beyond belief, there’s a LOT I will miss. The food, my friends, the subway, my OWN place, most of my students, the shopping, and the way they use English on products. Not to mention it’s where I’m from.
I’ve always been drawn to bigger cities. And as much as I’ve loved Seoul, I think that it’s too “big” of a city for me. More so the fact that it’s WAY too crowded. But I gotta say, Seoul knows how to do public transportation!! It’s gotta be the CEANEST subway I’ve been on and I’ve been on MANY different Metro’s/Subways all over the world. It’s also the easiest to navigate. English is EVERYWHERE and is almost in all the subway car announcements of stops. They hire ladies who come through with a broom and pan who sweep up and pick up all the used newspapers. I wish all the big cities would take a look at this amazing subway and take LOTS of notes!!!!!
The food here is excellent and has definitely helped with my spice tolerance. Lol Not only is it good, but it’s also cheap. I went to lunch with a friend yesterday and for the two of us it cost 11,000won = $9 for three things. You can go into a kimbap restaurant and get soup, or fried rice or kimbap, ramen, etc. for like 3,000won-5,000won. It’s crazy!!!! It’s what helped me drop almost 20lbs. when I got here. Well the food and also doing cross fit during the summer of crazy humidity. Thankfully, I can cook some Korean dishes and know of at least one Korean mart back home.
In the two years that I’ve been here I’ve made some pretty awesome friends!!! Coming over here knowing no one has forced me to a be a bit more outgoing than I normally am. I still tend to be shy and quiet at times, but I do have my moments. I’ve made some friendships that will probably not go further than my experience here, but I’ve also made some that I’m sure will last for years to come. It’s given me friendships from around the world and even more excuses to travel!!!! For that I cannot be bitter.
I don’t really have experience teaching in the states, so I can’t really compare the students, but it makes me wonder how different the students in the states are compared to the ones here. I know for a fact that the students here study soooooooooooo much more than the students in the states. Students have no life here until they get to university. It’s school, hagwon, homework, sleep. Hagwon’s, for those of you who don’t know are privately owned academies that students go to after school to study even more. Math, science, English, music, sports, etc. You name it, they’ve got a hagwon for it. Some stay open until 2:00 A.M. While teaching I catch a lot of my students sleeping and at first it frustrated me. But, since I found out that most of them go to bed at midnight and get up at 6:00 A.M. I really can’t complain. I’ll miss the funny comments I get for the slightest change in my appearance. I’ll miss the “Hi, Care-ro-li-ine”. I’ll miss them trying to teach me Korean. I’ll miss the Ki-Bi-Bo’s (rock-paper-scissors)to make decisions. I’ll miss the “oooooooh’s” when I reply to their Korean questions in English. I’ll miss they’re cuteness.
After two years of having a place of my own. Being able to come and go without the question, “where are you going?” “Who you going with?” "When will you be home?" It’ll be hard to adjust to living with my parents again. Not that I don’t love my parents. And not having to pay rent is a plus. But, it’s going to be a lot to get used to again. Having to keep my room clean, make my bed, keep my stuff picked up. Haha Oh the joys. Lol
Last, but certainly not least, shopping!!!! My favorite extracurricular activity. I can honestly say I might have a shopping problem. Haha And even though I saved a lot of money while being here, I think that if I hadn’t shopped as much as I did, I’d be coming home with a LOT more. Lol But, a girl’s gotta have a nice wardrobe and can never have enough bags and shoes. Am I right??? Lol You can thank Korea for that.
In reality, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. It’s helped me grow in ways I never knew I could and it’s given me a taste of my background. Had I only came here to visit for a short amount of time I would not be the woman I am today.