I’m moving back to Denmark at the end of July and while I’m mentally starting to get ready to leave Korea, I’m becoming increasingly aware of all the things that I’m sure I’ll miss the moment I’m no longer on Korean soil. You may wonder why I’ll write a “things I’ll miss” list when there is still quite some time left before I’m moving back. The truth is that I’m mostly writing this list as a reminder to myself of all the things I need to remember to be grateful for in my daily life in Seoul. It’s far too easy to grow accustomed to your surroundings and take them for granted. So I began to compile this list in my head over the weekend. A wonderful weekend, where I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy some time outside of Seoul as well as in the heart of the city center.
Here’s what I’ll miss (and remember to cherish for the next couple of months) in random order:
- The beautiful gingko trees along every street in Seoul. I love how they make the city explode with colors of green and how their leaves are shaped as a traditional Korean fan.
- The many mountaintops surrounding Seoul, and once in a while hiking all the way to the top of them.
- The sunset over the Han River with its beautiful bridges.
- The ease of transportation to any corner of the county of Kyeonggi-do (greater Seoul area).
- The smell of Seoul – a combination of mountain air (on clear days, mind you) and street stalls selling various types of fried food.
- The many festivals. I love how Seoulites manage to make a festival out of anything. Cherry blossom festival, Lotus lantern festival, fireworks festival, I may even go to a vegan festival in a couple of weeks.
- The amount of sunshine even during the coldest months.
- The flowers in the spring. Every late April, right after cherry blossom season, Seoul practically explodes in a rainbow of flowers.
- The picturesque Hanok houses, not just in Bukchon, but anywhere in Seoul.
- The small traditional coffee houses I’ve discovered and visited again and again.
- The bookstores. Oh, the bookstores. I’ve spent countless hours in Kyobo and YP Books and I’ll surely miss being able to go there regularly.
- The excitement of exploring a new neighborhood. I consider Seoul my second home, and I feel I know the city very well. Nonetheless, I still continue to find new and exciting neighborhoods all the time and the thrill of exploring them is amazing.
- The convenience of fast service and free wifi practically everywhere.
- The rainy days. I’m definitely used to rain in Denmark, but rain in Seoul is different. There’s something magical about walking around Seoul with your umbrella while smelling the rain while it clears the air off of all the dust and dirt.
- The mornings. Korea is often called “the land of the morning calm”, and when you walk outside early in the morning, you’ll know why. I’ve had some of my best Seoul moments before the rest of the city has woken up.
- My students. The students at Sogang have touched my heart and soul and I’m so incredibly thankful for having had the opportunity to teach such bright and inspiring young Koreans. I’ll miss them dearly and I’ll look forward to coming back and teaching them again in the summer and winter semesters. Hopefully for a long time to come.
While I’ll never become truly Korean, Seoul will always be my home. A home I will always come back to again and again. My plan is to spend a couple of months every year in Seoul, and that’s not bad at all. It will give me something to look forward to whenever I’m away, and while I’m starting to feel ready to go back and live in Denmark, I take comfort in knowing that my flight ticket to Denmark will be a roundtrip back to Seoul in the winter. For now, I’ll just soak up as much of Seoul as I can, and collect as many memories as possible. Always remember to make every day count!