• Genesis

22 Reasons to be Thankful in Korea


As I'm writing this, I'm sure my family and friends are waking up and gearing up to be knee deep in Thanksgiving prep. Perhaps even for some of you, you'll be waking up and tending to a slight hangover from last night's pre-Thanksgiving festivities. To those of you running the annual turkey trot...bless you.

Korea doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving today, though they have a similar holiday honoring autumn, called Chuseok in September.

This is my 1st Thanksgiving holiday away from everyone, but I thought I'd still keep with tradition and share 22 things I'm grateful for here!

1. New chapters

I'm thankful for the personal growth I've undergone this past year, because all of it has brought me to finally push my doubts away and move to Seoul!

2. My cozy apartment

With the EPIK program it's luck of the draw, and I was worried I wouldn't end up a space big enough for JD and I. However, we really lucked out, and I'm super grateful. I love our space now that we added some homey touches.

3. Ondol floor heating. (온돌)

Speaking of cozy, I'm lucky enough to have an Ondol setting in my apartment. Ondol is unique to Korean architecture; heat transfers from piping underneath the floors and it makes for really warm happy feet when walking around. I can also warm up my clothes this way so I'm thankful to have this option for winter.

4. Safety and the kindness of strangers

It's hard to explain, but I somehow feel safer here than I did back home. Thankfully, I have not encountered any unsafe or uncomfortable situations while living here. I also feel very safe in my apartment and have no qualms about walking around the city. For the most part, I have been met with kind strangers who are willing to point me in the right direction, take my picture, and even offer me snacks. (Don't worry still not candy from strangers)

5. My co-teachers

As I mentioned previously, they really have been instrumental in making my transition here a smooth and comfortable one. I'm grateful for their friendship, and it's nice that we go on frequent outings together for bonding.

6. My students

No day is perfect, but they manage to make me laugh every day without fail. I'm thankful for the moments where we are all cracking up together and just laughing at a terrible chant that I taught.

7. Having a job as a teacher

I'm grateful to have a job and never take it for granted. Though short-term, I'm thankful to have job security too. I have more than enough to life off of here and teachers are really respected here.

8. Affordability

Seriously, it's shocking how cheap things can be here. I came here with the intention to save money, and life here makes saving a real possibility. I've come across ₩6,000 won meals with huge portions. ($5.31 USD) Soju at a 7/11 costs around ₩1,250 or ($1.11 USD), and clothing can be around ₩9,000 won ($7.97 USD), and I'm sure there are even cheaper options out there for these things! With each paycheck I'm able to cover expenses, save a bit, and still play tourist on the weekends.

9. Seoul convenient.

Need to get somewhere? There's a subway line for that. Headed to the park but forgot to bring food? Delivery is available everywhere. Need a quick facial and change of clothes for a last minute outing? There are beauty and clothing stores underground in the subway stations. Out late, done drinking and need to kill time before the 5:30am train starts up again? Pop into one of the many 24/7 cafés. I wasn't sure how I'd feel living in a huge city but I'm loving it!

10. Café Heaven

This is my favorite thing about Korea. There's literally a café for whatever vibe I'm feeling. Want to be surrounded by animals? There are cat, dog, racoon, sheep, and even meerkat cafe's. There's also a Harry Potter themed cafe, plant, Alice in Wonderland, and yes, even poop themed café.

11. Soju

That is all.

12. Monster Pizza

THE spot to go to after a late night out in Hongdae. "Spice girls" slice for the win.

13. Movies in English

When Jd & I 1st went to see Venom at the CGV, we were preparing to have to figure out how to understand Korean instantly. We had written down a list of Korean words that we thought were related to Venom. We let out a huge sigh of relief once the movie started. Western movies here are in English with Korean subtitles!

14. Netflix

Need I say more? Winter is coming and I will not be leaving my apartment. Currently, The Walking Dead is consuming my time. (Lame pun intended)

15. Knowing basic Korean and being able to tune out

I really want to learn the language while I'm here. However, Seoul is amazing because you don't really need to know much Korean to get around. JD and I try to use as much of the language as we can which isn't much. It's surprisingly nice though not understanding most of what is said when out and about. There's a nice sense of peace and quiet with not knowing the language. It turns into background noise and you can just think about your own things. In a huge city of over 9 million people, it's important to have some calm moments.

16. Nature

I never imagined this country would be as beautiful as it is. When I had images of Seoul in my mind, it was of all modern architecture. There are many parks that are well preserved and are a welcomed spot for picnics. Picnics by the Han river are also a must, and there's nothing cooler than looking around and seeing mountains everywhere.

17. Seoul Hiking and Nature Group

I'm grateful for Britta and Warren Kim for running an organization where people can get together for some fresh air. They offer fun hiking trips and excursions, and fun farm experiences too. This has been a fun way to meet new people and get outside the city. They recently hosted a friends-giving day for us!

18. My health

Yep, so far so good!

19. My S/O

JD you are my favorite human forever. So glad we are doing this adventure together! Thank you for supporting my ambitions.

20. Family

I'm thankful for all the family I'm surrounded with and for their support of this journey. Thank you for sending well wishes, words of encouragement, and for the occasional Skype calls! I miss you all a ton, and think about you all every day! Stay safe and I hope to see you all soon. Love you guys!

21. Friends, old & new

I'm thankful for my friendships back home, and hope some of you will be able to come out here and visit! I've met so many incredible people in just these short few months. The time spent with friends and nights spent drinking at a convenience store, hanging out at the park, and singing our hearts out at noraebang is something I'll always cherish.

22. My blog readers

Creating this blog has been really fun, and I appreciate you all for following along and sending along your questions and comments about life here! I hope to keep sharing more with you all. Gamsa habnida(감사합니다) !!

Thanks for reading! Wishing all of you back home and happy and safe holiday! Please have an extra slice or two, of pumpkin pie.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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