Sometimes I Miss Korea: Reminiscing about my life In South Korea

There are days when I catch a glimpse of photos from Korea – my former students doing their kimchi smiles, lanterns dangling in the streets of Seoul in anticipation for the Lotus Lantern festival, or someone instagramming a bowl of sundubu jjigae – and it makes me miss Korea a little bit.

Korea will always be a special place for me. This is the country where I:

– moved overseas on my own for the first time
– got my own apartment
– met a special boy who is now my travel partner in crime
– was entrusted with a class full of students
– sang in front of people because noraebang makes you do strange things
– had to learn to read a new alphabet
– explored a mega-city on my own
– and ate strange creatures for the sake of trying new cuisine

In many ways, Korea feels like the country where I ‘grew up’, and I feel more attached to it than I anticipated.

I didn’t think I’d miss Korea very much once I left; at the time one year in the outskirts of Seoul seemed like enough, and it probably didn’t help that my last few months in the country were spent enduring the coldest winter of my entire life (yes, worse than Toronto and worse than Montreal!), however, now that I look back on my time there I can appreciate some of the smaller things that I took for granted.

Since I’m feeling kind of sentimental about Korea today, here are a few photos to reminisce:

Sometimes I Miss Korea: Reminiscing about my life In South Korea: Reloading my T-money card in Seoul

{Figuring out the metro. One of these four does not belong.}

Pyeongtaek, Korea walking around the rice field

{A summer walk through the rice fields of Pyeongtaek.}

Fish market in Busan, Korea

{Visiting the fish markets in Busan.}

Traditional performances in Suwon, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea

{A traditional performance taking place in Suwon.}

Noraebang: Singing Room in Korea

{Noraebang: Korea’s infamous singing rooms. Tambourines included.}

Hannam – Itaewon – Seoul, Korea

{Strolling unfamiliar neighbourhoods in Seoul.}

Eating a traditional Korean feast at a sit down on the floor restaurant in Insadong

{A meal for 3 people. This is how we do things.}

Sam feeding cats at a cat cafe in Seoul, South Korea

{Visiting a cat cafe in Seoul. Sam has very attentive pupils.}

Dog and duck play together in a Korean backyard

{The land where dogs and ducks are best friends. Could be an isolated event…}

Playing with puppies in a rural area of South Korea

{Playing with puppies on a chilly autumn morning.}

Eating jeon, a savoury Korean pancake

{Eating jeon – a savoury Korean pancake – and you bet it was good.}

View of N Seoul Tower atop Namsan

{N Seoul Tower seen from the base of Namsan.}

Visitng the Korean Folk Village in Yongin

{Visiting the Korean Folk Village in autumn.}

Eating Korean barbecue (galbi – marinated short ribs) on the grill

{Showing us the proper way to eat Korean barbecue. Look like a caveman.}

Giant bouncy bear toy inside a Korean department store

{A giant bouncy bear in the department store. Where was this when I was a kid?}

Ice storm in Pyeongtaek, South Korea

{When winter arrived and Sam was happy but I wanted to cry…}

Eating lunch at a local Korean restaurant

{A little soup with ox blood never hurt anyone.}

I can’t quite pinpoint what it is I miss about this country. Maybe it’s the tasty food served in hot pot dishes, the random cultural performances that would take place around the city every weekend, or the sound of Big Bang or PSY’s latest hit playing in the streets.

Or it could be the country’s strange quirks like robot mannequins bowing to customers in the shopping district of Myeongdong, the abundance of cat and dog cafes in Hongdae, or the men in business suits swaying down the streets after imbibing in a little too much soju.

For that brief year I was there, Korea felt like home.

I’m not saying I’m ready to move back to Korea quite yet. This current adventure around Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand has been great so far, and I still have a whole lot of ground left to cover around Southeast Asia as well as over in the Indian subcontinent. However, a little trip to Korea to reminisce and see it with fresh eyes would certainly not be out of the question.

Have you ever lived abroad for a period of time?
Do you still miss the place?