Living abroad can be hard sometimes, there are many things that I miss and there are things that I don’t miss from the States (Texas).
No matter where I am I definitely miss: My family – being teased (frequently) by my op-pa and un-nee, hanging out with them, and just being a part of a family. My friends – I’m used to spending a lot of time with my friends, going to Mass together, cooking and eating LOTS of food, watching and dissecting movies, praying together, and having long conversations, etc. My car – I miss getting in my car and driving, not having to rely on public transportation to get somewhere and not having to worry about what I’ve boughten and how am I going to get it home. The beach – I miss going to the beach and walking around, although the beaches in Galveston were still recovering from Ike last time I was in Houston. Good music – local and national good rock music is pretty easy to find in the States and the music scene in Houston is awesome, elsewhere, not soo much… Variety of food – since most of the world is represented in the States, you can get almost every type of food imaginable and pretty affordably, too.
On the other hand, public transportation is amazing in other countries around the world, with the price of gas rising everywhere, public transportation is comparatively much cheaper than driving yourself. Museums are cheaper and in Korea, tend to have better exhibitions as far as quality goes. Not that there are interesting people in the States, but abroad I’ve been able to meet individuals who see the world from a completely different viewpoint (not American) and seen a little, tiny piece of the world through their eyes, although it hasn’t always changed what I think.
Korea is a bit different experience than when I was in Morocco or Europe, for one thing, I can get good peanut butter and books in English easily and not for too much more than in the States. And because of the huge American military presence in Korea and their families and American English teachers, there are several stores selling American or very similar to American products all around Seoul. I can even get salt and vinegar chips here. Papa John’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Bennigan’s, Friday’s, Outback Steakhouse, McDonald’s, Burger King, Jumba Juice, Smootie King, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, Coffee Bean & Co., Gloria Jean’s, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, Lush, the Body Shoppe, Popeye’s, KFC, Subway, Quizno’s, Tous Les Jours, Au Bon Pain, Krispy Kreme Donuts, 7-11 all have franchises here. Also, Tesco’s, Homever, and Home Plus have stores here. Just walking around you can see franchises of foreign stores and eating places and signs in English everywhere you seemingly turn around. Half of the cooking supplies in my kitchen are not only western, but a good percent is high quality western ingredients (organic extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar, parmesan reggiano, etc.).
I’m reminded of several years ago, when Will Ferrell was still on Saturday Night Live, he was doing an impression of Dick Army on some political show and he was talking about nuked Israel and Palestine and making the rubble into a parking lot for a Walmart and calling it America II. Once that was done, the States should nuke the Korean peninsula and call it America III. After being here a year and a half, Korea is already America II without the nuking.