I will be the first to say it- Korea and I got off on the wrong foot. I had just come from laid-back Chiang Mai, Thailand, where it was always sunny, my working hours were short, and people seemed to be constantly smiling. That was one of the first things I noticed when I arrived in Seoul- the lack of any discernible expressions on people’s faces. Where were the smiles, the sunshine, the hippies in dreadlocks? Instead of elephant harem pants, I was seeing Gucci suits and the latest fashions. Quaint cafe’s were replaced by large skyscrapers. And-most notably of all, my working hours and overall workload had drastically increased.
I was pissed, and I wasn’t adjusting well. However, in a few short weeks my perception had changed. Sure, people still don’t smile on the subway, I still feel like I can’t leave the house in sweatpants, and Seoul can still feel very intimidating. But, it’s starting to feel like home as well. Korea puts on a tough front, but if you scrape away a couple of layers, it’s pretty damn charming.
I have resting bitch face too, Seoul. I get you.
Nevertheless, I am leaving Seoul in less than two months to go backpacking through Asia. Check out more of my future travel plans here. I might come back, and I might not, but I will certainly miss so many things about Seoul while I am gone!
Things I Will Miss About Seoul
Ease of Getting Around
Transportation in Korea is cheap, easy and quick. The subway can literally get you almost anywhere in Seoul for less than 3$. I love being able to get around so easily and not having to worry about parking or the stress of driving a car. The subway also makes for great people watching.
As I am vegetarian, bibimbap quickly became my go-to Korean food, and it’s awesome. As I’ve started to become more accustomed to living here, I’ve noticed that it’s not as hard to eat plant-based and healthy as I originally thought. It’s actually pretty easy! Check out my guide to being vegan/vegetarian in Seoul, Korea.
Seoul is brimming with opportunities, and I’ve made some great use of my weekends here. I feel like I always have something to do in Seoul, and two days over the weekend have simply not been enough!
To put it simply, going out in Seoul is fun. Seoul is a big city, and Hongdae, Itaewon, and Gangnam all are lively places to be when the sun goes down. I’ve had some wild nights here in Seoul with some friends I will never forget.
Being a home room kindergarten teacher was a much more fulfilling experience than simply being the ‘English Teacher’, as I was in Thailand. I adore my students, and seeing their bright little faces each morning has really made my time living in Korea truly meaningful. When I think about it, I’ve spent more time with them then I have with anyone else here in Seoul, and will probably miss them the most out of anything or anyone.
Defs gonna cry.
I adore shopping, and Seoul has only fueled my slight addiction. Clothes and accessories in Seoul are cheap and trendy. Check out some of my favorite places to shop in Seoul here.
I realized just recently that I didn’t mean for it to happen, but Seoul has stolen my heart. I love the people, I love my friends, and I love the lifestyle that working here allows me to live. There may be a completely different vibe than laid-back hippie Chiang Mai, but I’m okay with it. Maybe I’m more of a city gal then I realized, but I really love Seoul. I have a great group of friends here that I will miss immensely.
Who knows, though? It could be Seoul for another year or somewhere different. Maybe I’m not quite done seoul-searching yet. Regardless, I know Seoul will always hold some very special memories for me.
“An adventurous life does not necessarily mean climbing mountains, swimming with sharks, or jumping off cliffs. It means risking yourself by leaving a piece of you behind in all those you meet along the way.”