Well, believe it or not, we’ve been here for a quarter of a year. As you could expect, Korea has given us many memorable, fun, and amazing experiences. But… I’m sure you could also presume that things are different and therefore we have missed a few things as well.
What We Love About Korea
1. Time TOGETHER. Our entire life before Korea was extremely busy. I was getting my Master’s and working 30 hours a week, and Jared was finishing his degree in Graphic Arts as well as working full time. We commuted in opposite directions, and we were lucky if we got to spend more than one evening together per week. Coming to Korea has been a night and day difference… And we love it! We work together, we walk to work together, we eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner together, we spend all of our time–together. Now, some people might be thinking, whoa, that’s a lot of togetherness. Yes, it is, and it might not be for everybody, but for us it is amazing. It’s like a never ending honeymoon.
2. DOING things together. I know this is closely related to #1, but stay with me. Not only do we get to spend all of our time together, but since we work a maximum of 30 hours, we have time to do things. We get to workout together (a life-long dream of mine), cook together, clean the house together, grocery shop together, and explore new hobbies together.
3. Friendships. As with anyplace you go, you meet and develop new friendships. This has held true for us in Korea. We have met some extraordinary people whom we’ve grown very fond of. Without a doubt, when all is said and done…this will be what we will miss the most… and it will be the hardest to part with.
4. What else? Ahh, yes! Experiencing a new culture. Both Jared and I love traveling. We have traveled to many other countries, but never for an extended amount of time… Never enough time to really experience what it is like to live in another culture. Our time here has allowed us to do that. We have been able to see how Koreans live, eat, drive, interact with each other, interact with us, and countless other things. If I had to pick one thing that stood out to me the most about Korean culture it would be the importance of status and appearance. Everything revolves around how “good” your life looks. How educated you are, how well you speak English, how much money you make, how pretty you are, and how thin you are. Don’t believe me? Move to Korea and find out for yourself.
5. Does being a semi-celebrity count? Our Western “looks” have automatically put us into the spot light. It is not uncommon for strangers to stop us and ask to take pictures with us. No, they aren’t mistaking us for celebrities, it’s the mere fact that we are foreigners and that we speak English. We also have strangers start random conversations with us…which we have come to realize that are just trying to practice their English. Why do I like this? It so simple to make someone’s day over here. All you have to do is say hello, or get your picture with them.
6. Being teachers. Teaching English does have it’s occasional crazy moments, but for the most part, it is a pretty laid back job. We are basically surrounded all day by the cutest, smartest kids in the world…who, for the most part, absolutely love us. It’s such a good feeling to know that you are making a positive impression on these children that will last throughout the year, and maybe even their lifetime.
Okay, now for the down to earth stuff…
What we miss about live in the good ol’ USA.
1. Family. Need I say more? We are an ocean away from the people we love the most, and we can’t just hop in the car and make it to my little brother’s engagement party… Or the annual Easter gathering… Or just a normal evening meal with the family.
2. Driving and not being scared for my life. It’s a simple fact–Koreans are crazy drivers.
3. Being able to buy what I want, when I want. Yes, we’ve found the basics here, but any specialty items…well, lets just say good luck with that.
To sum up our experience thus far, even with the few things I mentioned above, it has and continues to be a worthwhile experience of a lifetime… One that neither Jared or I would ever take back.