So, I've officially passed the 11-month mark. It's crazy how time flies.
With less than 4 weeks left in Korea I'm starting to think about the things that I'll miss, the things I won't and the things at home that I'm the most excited for.
Things I'll miss about Korea:
- the wonderful friends I've made here
- my students ... they are just so cute
- Korean food ... especially kimchi jiggae and korean bbq
- our amazing apartment
- running along Haeundae beach, eating at Haeundae beach restaurants, Haeundae beach in the summer, coffee dates on Haeundae beach ... getting the point?
- the gorgeous Busan scenery
- being treated like a celebrity/ movie star ... great for the self-confidence!
- random acts of kindness by Koreans ... too many to count, but they have all been appreciated
- my easy, easy job
- every day being a new adventure
- the amazing home delivery system
Things in Canada that I'm excited for:
- seeing friends and family again - it's been too long!
- dexter, my puppy
- wide open spaces (oooh selwyn, how I've missed you)
- driving a car
- food, food and more food ... Wendy's, Pizza Villa in Bridgenorth, Frosted mini wheats, Greek food, ketchup chips, veggies and dip, Starbucks chocolate chip banana bread, pitas, deli sandwiches, good salads, salt & vinegar crispers ... the list goes on and on. Clearly I'm not a healthy eater, and I foresee a massive weight gain in my first month home!
- summer in the Kawarthas
- going to a real gym and getting reacquainted with a Bosu ball
- living in a familiar culture. As interesting and educational as life in Korea is, it can also be difficult and frustrating at times, and I'm excited for things to be familiar again. Not having to worry about the language barrier, social customs and constant staring will be a welcome (and relaxing) change.
Now ... things I will not miss about Korea:
- the lack of personal space, and disregard for the personal space of others. In my time here I have been shoved, pushed and bumped into more times than I can count. It can get very frustrating. I understand that Korea is incredibly crowded compared to Canada, so it just isn't practical to say "excuse me" to everyone in your way, or "sorry" to people you have sent flying, but it's still something that bothers me.
- the smells! Kimchi, fish paste, garlic, old man kimchi-burps, sewage ... Korea can be a smelly place at times, and I don't see myself missing this assault on my senses!
- not understanding what the #*&% is going on. Yes, it's an adventure everyday here, but it can be tiring to never know where you're supposed to be, what you're supposed to be doing, or the proper way to do things. I've definitely developed a new-found respect for immigrants to Canada who face a language barrier. I can only hope that Canadians are as helpful to these people as Koreans have been to me, because it really is tough at times.
Overall it's been an incredible year, and I've learned about myself, met some incredible people, gained a better understanding of another culture, and seen some beautiful places. I am so happy that George decided to come to Korea with me, that we adopted OoMi and that we've been able to share this amazing, stressful, crazy, beautiful experience. I have no regrets about this year. Korea is a great country to live and work, and I'd recommend the experience to anyone who is willing to be open minded, and has a sense of humour.
The next month will involve a lot of goodbyes, packing and some trips to sights around Korea that we haven't seen yet.
I am so excited to return to Canada ... there really is no place like home!
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