Being in South Korea has been an incredible experience and I have loved every moment of it (well, almost every moment because living abroad isn’t without challenges). Since coming to the Land of the Morning Calm, I’ve had new misadventures and discovered an interesting culture completely different from the Japanese one I had become accustomed to. This past year was a year of many firsts and adventures. My expat experience in Korea has been so different in comparison to Japan and I would never give it up for the world.
I have a boyfriend
This is definitely one of the biggest differences from my expat experience in Okinawa. Single time in Japan helped me develop new hobbies and work on my Cross Fit, but it was still lonely as I always failed on the dating game in Japan. I don’t like to talk a lot of crap online, but I’m completely honest when I say I’m not the only girl who had a hard time trying to meet someone. Okinawa was devoid of committed men and it isn’t easy for foreign women. Here in Korea, I can honestly say I’ve met the guy who is the bacon to my pancakes. I love him so much and he’s made my time in Korea even more special. He shows me his country the way he knows it and gains a different perspective by watching me be amazed.
Lovey dovey couple things
If you didn’t know already, Korea is the romance capital of the world. Almost every place caters to the dynamic duos from bff to romantic partner. I loved getting matching couple rings with Aaron and going on illuminated dates to Everland and Garden of the Morning Calm. Funny story, we went to Gyeongbukgong with our couple shirts and people mistook me for a Korean.
I dressed in hanbok during Chuseok
It was a brand new experience for me to dress in hanbok. The traditional clothes of Korea are alive with vibrant colors and patterns. With my newfound wonderful friends we had a photo shoot at Gyeongbokgung. If you haven’t been to this palace, it’s awesome and you must go when you visit Korea. My friends and I received so many compliments and it was really fun to feel like a princess for the day.
I went to Jeonju in Autumn
This was probably one of the cooler things I’ve done. My Korean big sister took me out for a fun trip with her friends and we ate delicious Korean food and drank to our heart’s content. I got to wear hanbok again and walk around traditional hanok villages.
I watched the sea “part” in Jindo
I thought this festival for Grandma Ppong was a great experience and it was actually fun getting up before the ass crack of dawn and walking the sea with a torch. I’ve never done anything like this before and it was exhilarating to try and make it back before the tide.
I traveled to Bali, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam
Have you ever had a visual hangover? I’ve experienced it a few times since starting my life abroad. I’ve got one word for these places and it is, “Wow.” Every country I’ve been to is lovely in it’s own way. From the Land of Smiles to Halong Bay, I can’t say I’m disappointed. Each temple I’ve visited, every moment I smelled the sea air or each food I’ve tried has left a beautiful memory behind my eyes.
I hiked a mountain in the early spring
Having lived on Okinawa, I was freezing in the winter and spring. A good friend of mine was training to hike Kinabalu in Indonesia and asked if I wanted to join in on the fun. I thought, “Why not?” and up we went. It was hard and grueling, but I never regretted those views once at the top.
I experienced Buddha’s Birthday
I knew nothing about Buddhism before I lived in South Korea. Japan isn’t very religious save for Obon where they threaten the forgotten ancestors will pull you down to Davy Jones’ locker if you swim. Hollywood, I’m pitching a great idea to you! After a cold winter, South Korea sprang to life in Spring with colorful lanterns and azalea festivals. The parades that accompanied them were great photo opportunities and I got to work on those photography skills. I even got to make my own lotus flower with a paper cup, tissue paper, and glue.
I was Sailor Moon for Halloween
For those of you who have followed me anywhere on social media or know me in real life, I love Sailor Moon. I’m 100% weeaboo trash and I collect the proplicas. No, seriously, I own almost all of them. I’m just missing Neptune’s mirror and the Cutie Moon Rod. It has always been my dream to put on my favorite heroine’s uniform, fight evil by moonlight, and win love by daylight. I loved transforming into the pretty soldier of love and justice. I even had my own Tuxedo Mask man candy this year. #missioncomplete #iamaloser
So far, so good. Korea has treated me great and I look forward to another year in Korea. Have you done any of these things on the list? P.s. I started a new job! 🙂