Thursday, October 10, 2013

things we will and won't miss about Korea

The time has come, folks.  We're moving home tomorrow from Busan.  Before I write a farewell post to Korea, I wanted to share some of the things we will and won't miss about Korea.  :)

things we WILL NOT MISS about living in Korea:
  • frequent changes in restaurants or stores you've come to like... I can't even begin to tell you how many times we've set out for a place that turns out to be shut down and gutted out or tried to order food that either they don't make anymore or decided not to cook today (even though it's on the menu).
  • the stares at the boys... I should've charged for looks, that's for sure.  Pats on the head would've been extra.
  • the lack of personal space... Please tell me you read this post that I wrote last year.  It's just the tip of the iceberg with personal space.
  • no English TV... I've actually gotten so use to this that I completely forgot to watch my favorite shows, or any shows for that matter, during our last two visits home.  I can't wait to get my hands on the checking account will be happy with that too because the only way we've been able to watch English shows have been to buy them on iTunes.
  • Having three trash cans and a food trash to empty...I'll be ecstatic to see that go!  I will say that I'll be more conscious of recycling once we move back home, but it'll be much easier to want to recycle when the recycle can is in my garage and not down an elevator, outside, and in a big stinky room with hundreds of other people's trash.
  • Being alone...  It's so hard not to be around the ones you love.  We are so fortunate to have good family and friends who love us and our boys and want to be spend time with us, so being away from everyone has been one of the hardest parts of living on the other side of the world.  Should I even mention how much T and I are looking forward to regular date nights?!  Look out Mom...Here we come (or maybe I should say, here the boys come!  :)
  • Not being able to simply ask someone for help finding something at the grocery store.  When I needed baking soda, Talton had to translate it on his phone to show someone.  When I needed toilet wipes, I had to find some in my backpack to show them (because there was no way I was acting that one out!).
  • the dryer that takes forever and a day to dry a load of clothes...  For real, I can only do 2 loads a day...tops...and that's if I start at 8 am and finish the last load late at night.  Sometimes I have to leave the door open to allow the dryer the opportunity to cool down.  So frustrating.
  • making my own ice - I miss the ice machine in my fridge!
  • I will not miss having to make dinner for the boys to take for them to eat when we go out to eat.  It'll be nice when we eat at places where the kids' menu includes items they actually like.

things we WILL MISS about living in Korea:
  • Being able to get nearly everywhere on foot.  The only places close enough to walk in Houston will be my mailbox and the park.
  • A beach right outside our door.  I'm pretty much over the sand being everywhere in my house, even when we don't actually go down on the beach, and I'm not a "crazy about the beach" person but come on now...Living at the beach ain't such a bad gig.  And it'll never happen again so it's pretty cool to know that we did it.
  • Honesty.  Seriously, it's like everyone's on the honor system here.  For example, they leave the parasols and chairs on the beach every night throughout the summer (in a big pile but they don't actually lock it up in a building somewhere).  My friend left her iPad sitting on the treadmill at the gym one night and didn't realize it until a week later.  When she went to the gym to see if someone found it, they had it waiting at the desk for her.  In one of the restaurants in our building downstairs, there is a hallway that runs behind it with a big freezer full of food, and it's unlocked all day every day.  If only the rest of the world were as honest as the people here, it would be amazing.
  • Safety... I've never felt as safe anywhere as I do here.  I don't think twice about going outside late at night, people wanting to take a picture with my kids (I should charge way extra for that one!) and their intentions behind it don't worry me, and I don't check my backseat before getting in the car.
  • Of course there are places that are dirtier than others, but for the most part, this is a really clean city. And the fact that there aren't many, if any, public trash cans out and about makes that even more hard to believe.  Even after a big storm, there are cleaning crews on a mission as soon as the rain has stopped to clean debris washed ashore and more along the roadways cleaning up tree limbs, leaves, and trash that might've been blown around.
  • Actual seasons...  While a true, cold Winter being longer than 3 days is too long in my opinion, I have to say that living through actual seasons was pretty neat.  I loved the cool Fall and Spring weather!
  • The gym being so close...  We live on the 5th floor, and the gym is on the 3rd floor in our building.  Seriously y'all, it doesn't get much more convenient than that.
  • Going to the open air market to buy fruit...  I've come to love seeing those few people I take the boys to buy fruit from, and although I don't know what they're saying in Korean to the boys every time we visit, I can tell that they think C & P are pretty cute.
  • The kid cafes...  The boys loved going to play at the play places/kid cafes, and although it may not have been so easy to find new places to take them, it was always worth it to find places they enjoyed.
  • The quick service at the airport...  The check in line has always been longer than any immigration or customs line, which is so polar opposite of the airport in Houston.  You are seriously in and out, often times without any line at all!
  • The spicy Korean ramen soup.  Kelsie, can I get an amen?!
  • Having Starbucks a walk away, at the bottom of my building.  I'm not a Star-aholic by any means, but I have been known to enjoy a nice, warm cup of hot chocolate when it's cold outside.  I can walk down, grab it, and be back up in my place in 10 minutes.
  • heated toilet seats---Need I say more?
  • The culture.  The temples.  The mountains.  The cherry blossoms.  The people.

In all seriousness, Korea has been our home for the past 18 months.  We'll be leaving a part of ourselves here and will remember Busan with great fondness for the rest of our lives.  This is an amazing city, and I'm just so thankful that we had an opportunity to come here as a family and really immerse ourselves in the culture.  What an experience!

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