Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Are you happy?

Last weekend my boyfriend asked me the question I knew he'd been wanting to ask for a long time. No, not that question. This one: Are you sure you don't want to go back to Korea?

I had my answer ready. I've had plenty of time to think about it over the past two years.

No.

And here's the thing, there is a lot of me that misses Seoul terribly so that wasn't an easy answer to come to. However, I'm certain God has me where he wants me right now and if I were to go back to Seoul then I would be doing it for myself and not for Him. I also have a massive love for my man so I wouldn't dream of leaving unless he came too and that not going to happen.

What do I miss? Well, here's a few ideas:

*The hustle and bustle, the bright lights and the delicious smell of street food as I walk around the city. Seoul comes alive after dark and it truly is a city that never sleeps. The photo is of the Galleria shopping mall in Apgujeong and the lights show pictures which flicker across the side of the building. And the Christmas lights, don't even get me started in those! Fancy a snack? Yup, that's covered on just about every street corner too.


* The transport system and the funny signs. The picture below was taken at Deagu Station on a weekend away and I laughed and laughed. This isn't a case of poor translation, it's simply their humour. The thing is, the sign probably works because I found Korean people to be more honest in their nature. My apartment was right around the corner from a subway station which would whisk me away to anywhere my heart desired. England just doesn't have that convenience in every city. If they do, you'll be lucky to be able to afford to travel on it regularly. 


* The beauty of the surroundings and the country in general. I have to admit, this picture was taken at the beginning of a teacher's day hike and I wasn't in the best of spirits. I turned up to work, was given a "survival pack" (that's when i knew something wasn't quite right) and a t-shirt which matched the other staff members. I tentatively asked a colleague what was going on and she told me we were going to "hike all day" and then "eat delicious food". I was torn - I disliked hiking but I loved eating. Turns out the hike was beautiful yet a little boring as I didn't have anybody to speak to and the food at the end of the day was well worth waiting for. 



* My friends! Silly photobooth pictures (below is an example taken on Valentines Day), food (I'm such a foodie), weekends away, excuses for parties, people to laugh and cry with and people who became my family when my real family were on the other side of the world and time zones made it so hard to speak.


* Cute kids! Okay, I know English kids are cute too but Seoul has a special place in her heart for children and families. Children are so treasured and swooned over. This is my co-worker's little boy in his Halloween costume and in his little trailer he's pushing he has my shopping bags. He was so much fun as his Korean and my English seemed to blend into one sentence.


* I admit, celeb spotting was a way to while away cold winter's evenings. This one was taken in Sinsa whilst looking for Kim Bum. It was also a great place to just watch people whilst you ate and there was nothing better than people watching in a different culture.


* Care packages! This needs no explanation and would be a reason to go back if any. This one was a special one because my (unnamed) family member put in a Christmas cracker which was classed as an explosive by customs. Cue an awkward phone call from Korean customs about why I'm being sent explosives.


* 80's disco night at the ice-rink. I'm not sure why I miss this, maybe it's the hilarity of it or maybe it's having the confidence to get to the rink on the other side of the city looking like this (complete with neon pink dress and leg warmers out of the shot) because people stared at me anyway and after a couple of weeks I just didn't care about it anymore. My self-confidence has dwindled since being home, so maybe the freedom is what I miss most. 


* English teaching. This was obviously a drama class and not a regular teaching method. I tried teaching in the UK and hated it but teaching ESL was great and so rewarding. 


* Cheap sports games. Many an evening was spent eating take out with friends whilst watching baseball.

*The historical culture surrounding you everyday. I know England has this too, but in my opinion the Korean architecture is more beautiful and the customs, particularly respecting your elders and those you don't know, are brilliant.



*The Christmas lights! The freedom to be stupid in public too (obviously).


*Concerts. K-pop was fun, quirky and made me want to dance. So I did, in many an audience. It was like being in a sweaty club with a live band - amazing nights!