I never expected to enjoy my stay in Korea as it was more of a means to an end. I know tons of friends who were there for less than a week and still saw more places than me. In the early days of planning my stay, I was almost ready to eat free rice, ramen and kimchi for lunch every weekday- that's the worst scenario I planned for myself. So I was surprised when life in Korea turned out to be more pleasant than I imagined.
Here are things I'll miss in Korea:
- Education - While it's true many people People are preoccupied with KPop, I'm amazed with the topics average citizens preoccupy themselves with. People in Korea are at least interested in business, economics and technology. With the country trying to lead the pack in VR and AR technology, it comes up quite often in newspapers and the average person has a clue about these things. It certainly is refreshing from Filipinos' preoccupation with telenovelas and personal take on politics. Speaking of AR and VR...
- Industry - Korea is heavily invested in its own industries. My bf recently bought VR goggles for KRW 10 000, about PHP 400. That's insane!!! Samsung is not that cheap here, but you get tons of support, selection and innovation with the existing products. Not just in technology, but MOST IMPORTANTLY BEAUTY. With beauty factories based here, the market is pushed for constant innovation and is able to treat the consumer right. They can listen and adapt quickly to consumer needs, and are easily able to provide free samples to boot.
- Transportation - I still hate walking, but I always say I've never had to walk more than 10 minutes in Korea unless I chose to. There will always be a subway or bus to cut the trip, and the fares are fairly cheap. Some people even have their credit cards integrated with their bus cards (which I would've loved to have, but never figured out how to do!)
- Safety- I can go home any time of the night or day and never worry about myself. I never worry about leaving my phone to hold my place on a cafe table and anything I drop gets returned. It's definitely an adjustment having to once again remove earrings in certain places or having to check my phone constantly - even if it's kept inside my jean pocket.
- Fast work - I was at Cibo the other day with my mom and we waited 20 minutes for our bill. I renewed my license, too. It took 1.5 hours (which my sisters said was fast) with a card arriving "sometime in June or July". My EMS arrived on April 10, and we had to send someone to get it yesterday because by April 25, we didn't even see a shadow of a notice card of a fucking 5-day delivery!. And when our guy got there? It took them 5 hours to release my box. It's fucking ridiculous how slow Filipinos work! Everything will be done tomorrow, next week, fucking next year. It's amazing anyone still functions. It's definitely relaxing in Korea to know you'll have what you have when you need it. I'm pretty pissed I ca n't live like that anymore.
There are many good things about the Philippines, in comparison, but I can't believe the shit our people have to deal with on a daily basis. It makes me sad and stressed that we consume so much time stuck on inconsequential things.
I also realized something: the things I'll miss about Korea are all about comparisons against a developing country like the Philippines. Which leads me to say two things a lot of people will hate me for:
- The Philippines can be awesome, but we don't stand a chance because we're too dumb to realize our ship is sinking. We can move forward as individuals, but we don't know how to develop as a nation.
- Sorry Kfans, but Korea is not perfect. It's very foreigner unfriendly which is why most of the things I will miss about it are about it being developed; very few things are about the national character.