Guest Post by Pat Penny:
A country where everything is opposite of your expectations. This trip to Korea has been amazing in many ways, most of which involve tea, lots and lots of tea, but I think the thing that will always stick out to me most about Korea is how distinctive the culture is and just how similar Korea can be to America while being so vastly different at the same time. It’s all of Korea’s little quirks that make you fall in love with it. Where else in the world can you find 5 PC bangs (internet cafes) on the same block? Subway train’s have their own theme songs, and there is an entire genre of restaurants dedicated to serving fried chicken and beer. Then there’s coffee shops…that just happen to advertise that they sell: Coffee, Waffle, Tea, Beer, Soju, Whisky, Wine, Smoothie, Cake right on the store sign (at least you don’t need to check the menu). Korea also happens to have the worlds greatest cuisine. Ban chan (infinitely refillable side dishes), The many different kimchi, and Korean beef barbecue are only a few of Korea’s culinary delights I wish we would adopt in the United States. Not to be forgotten, Korea is also beautiful beyond words. The countryside is filled with lush green mountains dotted with massive temples, and meandering rivers cut through the landscape.
Korea is a land with no divide between old and new. Wandering through Seoul you are just as likely to see a Hanok (traditional house) or temple as you are a club or computer store. To match all the hustle and bustle of the cities, the countryside brings a new meaning to taking it slow and enjoying the present moment. Throughout the entire experience everything has a way of staying distinctly Korean. Korea just has a way of taking what they want from other cultures and changing it beyond all recognition to make it there own.Korea will always have a place in my heart, be it the new friends I made, The beautiful places I’ve been, or the lifetime worth of experiences I’ve had in just one month, Korea has definitely left an impression on me. There is so much I’ll miss about Korea, but I guess I’ll just have to sip some tea and wait for the time when I return again.