It hit me pretty hard the night before we left that I was really, really, really, really, going to miss South Korea, and I plan on returning, most definitely. When I first landed I truly didn't know what to expect. I had read some articles and school assignments on South Korea, and I was vaguely aware of the food. I had no idea what to expect about the true nature of South Korea, both the people and the place, until I got there. The unknown might scare some people but for me I was so excited about finding out whether or not I would like it there that I didn't really think about how I would react if it wasn't really my "cup of tea". I decided I would say yes to anything within reason, power through sleep deprivation and experience every little bit of Korean Culture that I could in what little time I was there.
Luckily, I had a great group of people with me who were game to join me in my quest; we squaded up right after we got to the hotel at 10 PM: calling all those who haven't slept in over 30 hours and can be in denial about it just long enough to experience Seoul on a Saturday night. The whole week we made a point of going out, every night, experiencing a different part of the city every night and several new types of food a night, really, really, just a whirlwind of fun, food, new experiences, and of course 4 hours of sleep a night if we were lucky, and it was so worth it.
Overall my impressions of Korea are riddled with an inherent jealousy that comes from living in the "greatest country on earth" only to find that there is a beautiful, wonderful country that from my short experience there beat out the US of A in a lot of ways. Although my needs, desires, and priorities as a 24 year old college student are decidedly different than say a mother of 4, what I will miss could take up a novel, these are just a few:
-food, food, and more food: from sit down restaurants to street vendors with meat on a stick, almost across the board food was simultaneously cheaper and of better quality than in America. Who the hell needs a dollar menu when you can get something so much better for the same price?
-nightlife: the city is always buzzing, there's always somewhere to go, and always something to do, we probably went to about 20 different neighborhoods in Seoul and it seemed like there were a thousand more we didn't get the chance to experience.
-Clean: for a city of 12 million people, Seoul was remarkably clean, the which was even more mind boggling when one realizes there are almost no public trashcans like the ones all over DC. Try finding a trash can in Seoul, you'll see what I mean.