8 Cool Things I Will Miss About Korea

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korea milkisThis coming Tuesday, I will get on a plane and leave South Korea, where I’ve spent the last 2 1/2 years. All in all, they’ve probably been the most important years of my life, as I’ve grown into a better, stranger person, and I’ve met all kinds of interesting and unique people. Looking back on my time here, I compiled a short list of 8 essential things that I will most certainly miss when I leave the land of Milkis and Kimchi.

korae pomato1. Pomato – Pomato is like a little Korean fast food chain with restaurants all over Seoul. It’s awesome. For four bucks, I can get a wicked bowl of tofu soup. Pork cutlets, kimbap, pig intestines – you name it, Pomato got it. Plus the staff of unfriendly middle aged ladies gives it a good atmosphere.

korea smoking2. Smoking – Despite violent anti-smoking protests like the one pictured to the left, there’s smoking all over the place in Korea. Everybody smokes and cigarettes are super cheap. In December, an anti-smoking ban was passed, outlawing smoking in certain places (like large establishments), but I was out last night, and as I chain smoked in the warmth and comfort of several bars, I saw no difference between now and the way things were pre-smoking ban. That’s good, because it’s really cold and I would not want to go outside and compromise my health.

korea heated toilet3. Heated Toilet Seats – They might have these everywhere, but I never experienced one before moving to Korea. It really is like sitting on a thrown, and the feeling of having your badonkadonk warmed is vastly underrated. I hope everyone one day gets to use a heated toilet seat – as soon as I realized my school had one, I knew exactly what I was doing during break time.

korea dong dong ju4. Dong Dong Ju – This is a Korean liquor that is served in a big cauldron with a scoop.  It’s quite strong and tastes a bit like Milkis (carbonated milk drink). They make it from rice and a white person like me gets to feel hip and cultured drinking it while sitting on the floor in an Asian establishment.

korea animal5. Korean Animal Words – Knowing how to say the names of animals in another language is fun! “Go yang ee” means cat; “Kang a gee” is puppy. “Saja” is lion; “Nakta” means camel. My favorite is “Toki,” which means rabbit. Furthermore, cats go “yowng yowng” instead of meow, and dogs say “mung mung.” On another note, Jesus is not called Jesus, but “Yay Su.” That’s good to know, in case you’d like to use the Lord’s name in vain in multiple languages.

korea black noodle6. Korean Chinese Food – It’s delicious. Absolutely delicious. The typical Chinese dish consists of noodles in a black bean sauce served with sweet and sour pork. Odd sidebar: There’s “Black Day” in Korea, which is like Valentine’s Day for single people, and the tradition is that people eat Chinese black noodles to celebrate how miserable single life is.

korea bunny bow7. Ridiculous Head Ware – Korean girls like to coordinate. Super short skirt? Check. High heels? Check. Bunny ears? Oh yeah. Check mate. Bows, ear hoodies, lamb hoodies – these are the tools Korean girls use to find a man and avoid having to eat the dreaded black noodles.

korea north korea8. North Korea – Just because they’re funny.

That’s today’s list of awesome things that I will miss. Tune in next time, when I will present my grouchy list of things that I will be glad to escape!

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15 thoughts on “8 Cool Things I Will Miss About Korea

  1. Korea has never been on my list of must-visit-before-i-die countries. However, after months of reading all of your insight into Korean life, I have to admit that I find the country quite fascinating. Perhaps if you keep living in and writing about Korea for another year, my fondness will grow strong enough for me to plan a trip to Korea. Too bad, you’re leaving and Korea loses a potential visitor.

    • Hi! Yeah, it’s a weird little place. I will absolutely miss it. I actually applied to teach in HCMC but the offer from China was too good to pass up. I see that I can take a bus from Beijing to Hanoi, though – hopefully I’ll be able to spend some time in Vietnam at some point this year. And make it to HCMC. Anyways, if you ever decide to visit Korea, I can show you how to dance Gangnam Style (just kidding, I can’t do that dance). Peace girl!

  2. NOOOOO! It can’t be over so soon! Korea time is a lot like baby time in that it’s over in a split second, but when you’re in the middle of it, it feels like it takes forever and a day. You’ll be glad you wrote so much about your experience while you were there. Often I wish I had started blogging when I lived in Korea because then I would have remembered so much more. Your list of things you’ll miss is very similar to mine. I loved saying “toki” to the kids because it is such a random word that it makes them think I am fluent in Korean.

    • Haha – yeah, everyone would be impressed when I dropped “nakta,” although I couldn’t say anything else that actually could be used in a conversation. And I agree with your assessment of Korea. On one hand, I’ll go out and I’ll just feel very ready to leave, and yet on the other hand, it sort of breaks my heart to be going. I have so many great memories. Ah well – I’ll be back to visit and stuff because my gf will still be here (we’re doing long distance, with lots of visits)…so in a way it’s like best of both worlds. Away, but around. : )

      Definitely teach Miss C “toki.” It will make her cooler than the other toddlers. : )

  3. I think you should bring the day of Black Noodles to China with you. Just… because. Spread the knowledge that eating black noodles is a-ok!
    I would also miss heated toilet seats. It’s like the first time you sit in a car with heated seats, you just never want to leave, even if it’s sweltering hot out. Luxury is luxury, regardless of how ridiculous it may seem.

    • It IS luxurious. I started sitting down to pee just because. I shudder to think the future is full of squater toilets. I’m sure China has good toilets…please God, please? I don’t ask for much.

      I’m told black noodles are unhealthy. Stay away!

  4. What?! You’re leaving? Where to? I’ve been busy rebuilding my website and haven’t had time for anything! My husband finally put his foot down last night and told me to come to bed dammit, he’s been falling asleep alone for almost 3 weeks now. Pfft, I said, “I still cook for you and the kids every night, what more do you want?” Haha. But I’m finally almost done – don’t ever move to wordpress.org. My brain is leaking out of my ears. User friendly my foot. Maybe if you’re a programmer.

    Anyway, that whole long rant was to tell you why I’m out of the loop again! Well, I will start reading backwards and see what’s up.

    • China? What you doing there? And you are the worst boyfriend ever. Seriously, you don’t buy her an expensive “we’re going steady” ring (understandable), then you get her… nothing?! How about a pretty bracelet? Or silver earrings? Or something! An umbrella that she had to pick out and order?! And she let you off the hook? Yikes. And what about the relationship? What’s going to happen when you move? This is like a soap opera.

      Go buy her something pretty and personal. I’m going to keep reading now.

      • Karin! So much to discuss:

        1) You upgraded, you mean, right? And it’s a nightmare? This is good information to know. What happens? You have to start from square one? I will avoid this at all costs.

        2) As long as everything goes smoothly, I’ll be teaching in China in about a month from now. I’m in Hong Kong at the moment about to apply for the work visa.

        3) Yes, it’s true, I am not the best boyfriend. Haha. I care so much about the girl, but am apparently incompetent at showing it. It’s funny you mentioned earrings – I bought her earrings for her birthday and it turned out her ears aren’t pierced. That resulted in a trip to the doghouse. I will buy her something really nice as soon as I get some money, man! I have to fly all over the world to get a work visa, it’s expensive! She’ll get the ring, I promise! Did she tell you to write this??? Are you two friends?!? I smell conspiracy! (Really though, I do love my girlfriend a lot and wish I wasn’t such a suckey loser boyfriend)

  5. 1) Yes, if you’re going to upgrade, you may as well upgrade, not just transfer your site to a paid host. The idiot proofness of wordpress.com is a beautiful thing, don’t ever under-appreciate it again! Or ever, if you haven’t under-appreciated it yet.

    2) Did you get your visa? Is your Chinese any better than your Korean?

    3) No, no conspiracy. Boys are just dumb, that’s why we throw rocks at them. Just buy her a frozen yogurt as nice gesture because you were thinking of her. But don’t tell her I told you to think of her, that would ruin the nice gesture.

    4) If I communicated in point form with my husband, I doubt there would ever be any misunderstandings. This is brilliant! Just like modern art. But brillianter!

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