I woke up this morning with an urge to write about how much our outlook has changed since we first arrived in Korea. It has been almost 3 months already and I can’t believe how fast time has flown by and how much we have learned about each other and ourselves. I can only imagine as to where we will be in a year.
Adam and I have spent a lot more time talking about life and love and happiness since we arrived in Korea. Our days and lives here run at a different tempo then back home. I know my attitude has taken a 180 turn towards the positive side and our love for each other has quadrupled.
Before coming to Korea we had no idea what the country would be like, nor did anyone we knew (at least they thought they knew) The country does not react as if they are in harms way, it doesn’t “stink” like cabbage and garbage and it is not a poor country by any means. As an expat in Korea we of course experience things differently then if we were born and raised here, brought up in the Korean culture.
In very few circumstances have we been treated poorly by the locals. Everyone is extremely helpful and proud to share with us about the land. On a few occasions the older generation has kissed our hands and said “America, Best.”
I feel that over time I am becoming more and more defensive about the wonderful ways of the Koreans. Their simplified life and customs are mocked sometimes by newcomers and people from back home and all I want to say is, “stop, I have never been so happy living as I am here.” Koreans in love share quiet whispers and hit each other like 5 year olds to show their affection. They really don’t hold hands or show any PDA. At first Adam was afraid of disrespecting their culture by putting his arm around me and such, but we are passed that now. Koreans, when they have reached “relationship status” wear matching shirts and underroos. Adam and I talked about that last night and think that it is such a simple thing to show their love, the whole world can see it. At first we thought it was bazare and quite funny, but now I find it a beautiful gesture. I can only imagine that a 12 year old girl can’t wait for the day she is able to wear a matching shirt with her beau.
Our life here is much more simple, there is no stress over bills and phone calls. There is no showy contest on cars and bags and fancy homes. I would not say we have become lazy because physically we are more active here then I have ever been back home, but we have not a worry in the world. We do our job, come home, enjoy each others company and plan our next weekend getaway without crushing the bank. Adam even bought me a mickey mouse shirt and I am not embarrassed to wear it. (brands mean nothing here and everyone wears mickey mouse) I am not too worried about leaving my house without makeup or my hair done perfect. I am not concerned about fine dining or a new coach purse.
When newcomers arrive (foreign teachers) I almost feel bad. They are still caught up in the “western” lifestyle and are so stressed out for having to live differently then back home. I remember our first request for a care package with things like pepper and oatmeal because we didn’t know how we would survive without it. Now, I don’t know how to survive without our tea kettle to purify our water and our roof to dry our laundry.
I know we are very far away and living a different life then we ever imagined, but I know it was the best decision we ever made.
I think back to where I was two years ago. (previous to meeting Adam) two homes I couldn’t afford, loans and credit cards, a car way too expensive for me because I thought I needed it, stubborn as a mule and the “I know everything” attitude. Here I am, no car, no home, my credit cards will be paid off in two months and I wear the same clothes once a week due to a minimal wardrobe, and you know what…I am happier than ever.
When we talk to people back home we are constantly reminded of the state of the economy, everyone’s everyday problems and the stress everyone is under to live the “American Life” It is hard to explain it to people back home, but we talk often of how much we wish we could give everyone back home the type of life and relief we feel here.
Of course Koreans have some crazy habits that I don’t know if I will ever get used to ie. chewing very loudly with their mouth open, hacking a loogie in the road in front of you, shuffling their feet as they walk, walking with their heads down so you run into each other, pencils with no erasers (they all carry little erasers on the side) but these are so minimal they are almost nonexistant (unless you are having one of those days where everything annoys you)
Keep shopping flights and come visit so we can share with you this beautiful land.