Being a legal alien has it’s ups and downs.
One of the ups is being the last surviving spokesperson for our lovely new president, Trump. One of the downs is the constant comparison of your new country to your home country. Me being the ungrateful garbage hole that I am, am no different. In fact, it’s almost all I do. That and sit on the toilet surfing Twitter for far too long.
Having lived in Korea for just under two years I still find myself thinking:
“Can they not shove me please?
“Why does everywhere smell like a hot fart?”
“Does everyone and their aunt, uncle and second cousin twice removed have to be touching me at all times?”
“I’m about to meet my maker with this taxi ride at any second now”
I’ve come down with a severe case of “Expat-itis”. This happens to a lot of expats and it just means you need a big bulldozer life overhaul.
In an attempt to cure my intensely irritating syndrome, I’ve compiled a list of all the things that I’m going to miss about Korea after going home to the big flag waving U S of A. This will also save my friends from hearing me complain for one more ear-bleeding second.
Small buttons for alerting staff. These bad boys are littered around Korea left and right.
Occasionally, if you’re lucky there are three buttons: one for the waiter, one for Soju (Korean alcohol) and one for beer. Just one press and like something out of Spy Kids, beer is at your table. Wizardry!
Do I sense a staff pager?
Why has no one back home thought of this?
South Korea is over here living in 2045 and we’re flopping around like inflatable balloon men just to get some napkins. No one coming over every 5 minutes asking if everything’s okay while trying to answer with a mouth full of potatoes. Excuse me, I’m trying to enjoy my food without spewing it into someone’s toupee on the other side of the restaurant.
This is first world innovation at its finest and honestly deserves a Nobel Peace prize. I can’t believe the West hasn’t taken this on yet. I don’t know how I’m going to live having to go on a mini public scavenger hunt every time I drop my fork.
Save us all the embarrassment and install Bing-Bongs.
2. Umbrella Holders
This is some next level Harvard architecture right here but I understand why it’s not in the West.
Umbrellas are for chumps. No one really uses them because we’re all lazy and “it’s just water”.
Let’s be honest though. We all hate being wet while trying to dump all the Costco-sized vitamins, cereal and rotisserie chicken into the trunk while holding one of their infamous hot dogs. I mean come on, soggy doggies? No thanks.
Korea has a genius Einstein-level solution. Outside of stores and restaurants are little metal contraptions with plastic bags inside. You stick your umbrella in, pull it back out and boom, there’s a plastic bag covering it.
No need to have your legs suffer the fate of looking like you peed yourself.
Jump on it America! #saveourpants
3. Street Food
This one comes without saying but one of the main reasons people travel around Asia is the street food. Downright scrumptious.
There’s places like New York and Chicago that have food trucks but no one does street food like Asia. Some of my favorites are:
Tteokbokki: rice cakes in Korean red sauce
Kimbap: sushi but with meat instead
Twigim: deep fried vegetables, dumplings or shrimp
Hotteok: pancakes with a churros flavor
It’s cheap, delicious and it can be found in the deepest pits of Korea’s sewage system. By that I mean, it’s everywhere.
There’s no way people in the West won’t love street food. It would be a mega smashing hit. Guaranteed! If not, I’ll send you all 200 of my Facebook profile pictures mid-emo phase.
4. PC Rooms
The unsung heroes of Korean culture.
Giant rooms packed with little cubicles, humongous monitors, snacks and screaming adolescent boys.
Most people come to play games and scream to their hearts delight but they can be used for anything. Hiding from your homework-hungry parents, binge-watching vine compilations, starting an online blogging empire and even diagnosing yourself on Web MD.
Aside from the smoke smell, constant keyboard clicking and occasional PubG post-defeat temper tantrum, PC rooms are great! They’re affordable and can we all take a moment to appreciate the top-notch headphone quality?
Since most people in the West use gaming consoles instead of computers, I can see why it hasn’t taken off. Even then, it’s such a cool place to hang out with your friends and it’s perfect for the regular lone wolf.
5. Food Delivery
Not that the West needs any more avenues to obesity but this would boom. The food delivery in Korea is lightning fast and you can get anything delivered. And I mean anything.
I’m pretty sure if you wanted to adopt a dog you could get one delivered to you in about 15 minutes. An infinite amount of cute, silky pooches? Yes, please!
Ice cream? Done.
Fried chicken? Done.
Croc jibbitz? Done.
Hear it arrive at your door in T-minus 10 seconds as a motorcycle whizzes down the street and stops at your doorstep before dumping all the food into your entryway.
How can you go wrong with Chinese delivery that comes in real dishes to your door? It’s like a home-cooked meal without the home cooking. The delivery man even zip-zap-zops over one hour later to pick up the dirty dishes.
I’ve started a Kickstarter for funds to personally import Korean motorbikes to the US. That way, I can have Chick-Fil-A and Shake Shack simultaneously deliver food to me at all hours while I watch hours of “Worlds most deadly animal attacks“ on YouTube.
After writing this, my expat-itis is one step closer to being cured like prosciutto. It’s nice to sit down and be reminded of all the things to be grateful for.
If you’re suffering from this deadly disorder, tired of your city and thinking of boarding a first class flight abroad take a minute to reflect on five things you love about the city you’re in. Even if all you want to do is roll under a bench and click your red heels to teleport back home to Kansas, which is actually where I would end up unfortunately.
What something unique you’ve seen in a country you lived or traveled in? Any other countries cultures you would like to appropriate, I mean adopt? Let me know in the comments below or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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