With only three weeks left before I’ll leave Korea for over a month, I’ve started to reflect on the things that I’ll possibly miss and definitely look forward to coming back to in early August for my second year here in Seoul. I guess you never really know what you have until you realize that you might lose it, and with my Denmark trip moving closer each day, I’ve started to become more mindful and appreciative of the small things that give me special joy here in Korea. For your convenience and inspiration, I even decided to compile a list. So here we go:

  • The fresh smell of a warm Korean summer morning.
  • The campus radio playing Korean pop music while I walk to my office.
  • The warm greeting by my doorman every time I enter and exit my building.
  • The smell of street food on every corner.
  • The sudden urge to laugh out loud when my best friend sends a text saying nothing but ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ (hahahahahaha in Korean)
  • The mountains on every horizon.
  • The colorful signs written in hangeul everywhere.
  • My students who always greet me with a smile and a deep bow when I meet them on campus.
  • The kindness of strangers.
  • The convenience of public transport.
  • The discovery of new types of snacks in my local convenience store.
  • That feeling of accomplishment when you realize that you just held an intelligent conversation using only Korean.
  • The constant discovery of new music I like.
  • The amazing street performers in my local neighborhood.
  • The fact that I’m never bored.
  • The beautiful view of the Han River and its many bridges. My favorite bridge is Yanghwadaegyo.
  • The cuteness factor of Korean emoticons. (Google ‘Kakao Friends’ or ‘Line Friends’)
  • The many Korean coffee shops.
  • The sense of victory when I’ve deciphered a Korean newspaper headline.
  • That feeling when you stand in the middle of Gwanghwamun square.
  • That sense of joy when I’m wearing my daily Hanbok. (Modern version of traditional Korean dress)
  • The taste of bingsu (Korean dessert) in the summer.
  • The view of one of Seoul’s landmarks like Seoul Tower or the 63 building. If I go a little up the street where I live I can see the 63 building and if I walk to the end and make a right, I can see the Seoul Tower. I love my neighborhood.

I’ll end this post of positivity by sharing with you probably the sweetest Korean song I’ve heard this past year. It’s performed by Standing Egg (I love that name for a band) and it’s called 네 생각 나더라 (I’m thinking of you). I couldn’t find a version with lyrics included, so I’ve added them below. Enjoy!

 

둘이 이제 혼자가 아니라 둘이
다른 누구도 아닌 너와 단둘이
외로웠던 지난 날들 모두 뒤로 할래

baby I love you
네가 아니면 안돼 I need you
혼자 수없이 되뇌이던말 with you
오늘은 너에게 말할수있을까

한걸음씩 너에게 점점 다가서다가
눈이 마주칠때

내머린 하얗게 눈앞은 까맣게 아득해져가네
나도 모르게 튀어나온말
언제부터일까 아침에 눈을 뜰때마다
네생각 나더라

never be too late
숨겨왔던 내맘 truely
아낌없이 너에게 다보여 줄래
외로웠던 지난 날들 모두 뒤로 할래

한걸음씩 너에게 점점 다가서다가
눈이 마주칠때

내머린 하얗게 눈앞은 까맣게 아득해져가네
나도모르게 튀어나온말
언제부터일까 아침에 눈을 뜰때마다
네생각 나더라

난 너만을 원해 꼭 너여야만 해 준비했던 말들이
입가에 맴돌아 네곁에 겉돌아
자꾸 돌려 말하게 돼

내머린 하얗게 눈앞은 까맣게 아득해져가네
나도 모르게 튀어나온말
언제부터일까 늦은밤 눈 감을때마다 네생각 나더라

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