Top 5 Things to Love About South Korea

Top 5 Things to Love About South Korea

Though we’ve only been here a few short weeks, already there are a million things I’m going to miss when I eventually get back to the States. Be warned, most of these have to do with food as I have a killer appetite and for the most part enjoy all things edible. But, there are still things outside of the realm of my stomach that are amazing about South Korea. Also, this list is only short for time’s sake. I could go on all day about the things that make me smile on a daily basis, but today we’re going to stick to the basics.

1. Delivery: In Korea, there is no delivery fee. I’ll go ahead and repeat that again: NO. DELIVERY. FEE. And, bonus points, they deliver anywhere. Guys, I have heard of people getting on top of MOUNTAINS and having food delivered to them, I kid you not. Even McDonald’s delivers, which, to an American, is kind of like dying and going to Heaven. In America there is not only a delivery fee, but often also a delivery minimum, which means the delivery man is not coming to you unless he thinks it’s absolutely worth their time. This is often the case with Chinese restaurants who will have something like a $10 minimum, oh, and you ALSO have to be in range of their delivery to get your food. Long story short, delivery in Korea ROCKS!

2.  Safety: Minus the somewhat, erm…free driving skills many cars and taxis seem to have on the road, I have yet to feel unsafe while here in Korea. This could be because I’m in a smaller city, but I’ve heard similar reports in larger cities of not having any trouble at all. I’ve walked down the street at 11 at night more than once, in two completely different cities here, and never once felt like I was going to be kidnapped at a moment’s notice. Again, as a rather small American female, this is a rare feeling to say the least. I daresay I’m more relaxed even in those situations where it’s nearly pitch black and I’m braving the cold to get home because not many people tend to be out after a certain time on a weeknight (or weekend for that matter) so it’s very refreshing not to be in so much of a hurry. Either way, I won’t say “Completely relax your guard, what’s the worst that could happen here???”, I’m just saying it’s much easier to breathe when you’re not constantly thinking about who you might have to karate chop in the neck to save your purse.

3. Coffee Shops: Let me tell you, if there is one thing I absolutely commend Korea on it is their love for coffee. I had heard about the many coffee shops that were available before I came to Korea, but you don’t realize until you see literally a dozen within a 5 block radius that you fully appreciate how popular coffee is. And it’s not just whole coffee shops either. There’s a coffee vending machine (VENDING MACHINE) no more than 50 feet from our apartment, at least 3 actual coffee shops just on our street and then a bajillion (it’s a real word, hush) different types and packages of regular, instant, or all inclusive coffee (these are the packets with the sugar, cream and coffee all in one pouch) available at any small convenience or corner store. Don’t even sget me started on Lotte and E-Mart. In the states I had maybe 4 cups of coffee a week depending on when and how long I was at work. Here I’ve had up to 4 cups in one DAY at work. I have literally started consuming the caffeine like it’s water, partly because of it’s availability, partly because I’m always partially exhausted at certain times during the day. I’ve started to slowly ween myself down to 1 a day before I have a coffee drip attached to me…

4. Prices: Maybe this is because I’m completely exhausted from paying at the very least $8 everytime I went out to eat anywhere in America or spent enough money on extracurricular activities to fund a small bank, but the amount of money I spend in Korea is literally nothing compared to what I would pay in America for even the smallest items. Everything ranges from reasonably priced to absolute skepticism over how cheap something is. Just as an example, Soju, the number one drink in Asia and also the world, is literally only a dollar. A 19% proof bottle of alcohol is ONE DOLLAR AND FIFTY CENTS. We easily polish over about half a dozen of these anytime we get together with friends to hang out, and that’s not even at dinner. I have a couple here in my city who told me they only spent $6 on an entire meal for the TWO of them. That is only slightly rare. Food portions, including your side items, are pretty sizable for the biggest eaters. It doesn’t even stop with food. I bought a pair of fuzzy, pink sweatpants for $3 at E-Mart and about died. A pair of slacks for a male friend of mine (who is fairly tall and a little bulky) cost him about $30. I easily pay upwards of $45 for good, business slacks back home. Suffice it to say, we spend a lot more because we think everything’s so cheap, but we always feel better because we have more than what we would have!

5. The People: Hands down the people of South Korea are my favorite part of the country. I have yet to meet one who was mean just for the sake of being mean. They go absolutely out of their way to help us as foreigners. Though they are constantly moving at the speed of light and can seem too brisk to interact with, they are absolutely willing to help you even if they can’t understand you. I’ve asked for directions or other random questions more than once to absolute strangers on the street and, even if it’s all in Korean, are more than happy to point me in the right direction, or even walk me there in one case! Basically you’ll never find a nicer group of people to briskly tell you that the chicken you’re looking at is too expensive and you should get “that batch over there”.

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