Saturday, April 11, 2015


Thoughts on Living in Korea

I remember being excited when we found out that we would be moving to Korea but upon announcing the news to my family and friends I was shocked by their negative reactions.  I think part of their negative reaction was because I would be moving so far way but the other part was a genuine negative attitude towards living in Korea.  I could not understand why people who had never lived in Korea could have such a negative view.  My family felt sorry for me and my friends did as well.  They would say things like "I am so sorry you have to go to Korea" and "Oh, I am sorry, how long do you have to stay there?”   I had to stop myself from reacting and being filled with negative thoughts regarding our move.    Then I realized something, the people that I knew who had actually lived in Korea were very positive but the people that had never lived in Korea were negative.

Sometimes in life you have to evaluate situations and be cautious about listening to others and I am of an age when I tend to set the opinions of others aside and arrive at my own conclusions.  Luckily that is exactly what I did in this situation.  I decided to suspend my judgement and opinions until I actually had something to base an opinion on, besides isn't that what intelligent adults do?  I am so glad that I did and that I moved forward and took the giant leap of faith and moved to Korea with my husband.

A few of my family members and friends told me that I was a brave woman and I would tell them that it wasn't so much that I was brave but instead the desire to keep my family together and be with my husband was stronger than my fear of the unknown.  Driven mostly by the need to keep my family together after having been separated for so many deployments, all I wanted was for us to be together and if that meant in Korea, then so be it.....

Korea is probably one of the best kept secrets ever!!!  In the eight months that I have been here I have grown to love this country.  Now keep in mind that when I say Korea I specifically mean South Korea.  This country is filled with so many wonderful things that I could never relate to you in words just how wonderful it is, nor could I ever express the magnitude of how wonderful it is to be living in Korea.

I will however, try my best to explain what I have experienced since we moved here just a short eight months ago. At first everything here was strange and unfamiliar.  My surroundings seemed like something out of a movie.  There was strange writing everywhere and buildings that did not look like any buildings I had ever seen.  The highways, houses, shops and even the people were all unfamiliar and strange to me.  As time has passed I have realized that these very same things are now familiar and they no longer seem strange to me at all.  Hidden inside my strange surroundings I have found a wealth of fabulousness (is that a word?).

I have found coffee and tea houses, cafes, makeup shops, villages, gardens and so much more.  I have visited aquariums and theme parks that are unlike any I have ever seen.  I have seen massive engineering feats that astound me. They can build anything and there are no obstacles that they cannot overcome.  Every place that I have visited is clean and well cared for and the staff is always very courteous and proper.  Koreans put great care and pride into everything that they do from sweeping the streets by hand to building and maintaining immaculate massive buildings.

The people that work in customer service actually dress well and wear gloves.  I love when I check out at a shop here and the ladies are wearing pink gloves!  When you shop in their stores they make you feel important and special.  They almost always offer you a gift and they remember you when you come back and they take care of you. The places here make you feel glorious!

Everything that everyone thought and told me about Korea that was negative is simply not true.  Like I said this is one well-kept secret and I want to set the record straight.  It is not that Korea does not have its problems but it has that something that I have been missing and thought was gone forever.  What it has is people who are working and take great pride in their work, businesses that thriving and want your business and world class customer service.  Korea also has a deep seeded cultural background that extends some 3000 years.  The best fruits and vegetables in the world that are produced here.  A recycling program that is Earth friendly and should be a model for other countries.  Koreans love their country, their land, their jobs, their homes, the things they build and their culture.

All of this comes at a price, there is nothing cheap in Korea.  You pay for what you get and you get so much more than what you pay.  Now don't get me wrong you can find some fabulous products at low prices and some of life's simple pleasures that are affordable.  The atmosphere in every shop alone is worth the price, the service makes it well worth the price and the quality of products is unmatched (at least to anything I have experienced thus far in life). 

There is an array of reasons why things are so wonderful here in Korea from political to the means of production but that is for another post.  I will say that there are industries here, factories, products, service and technologies.  People have jobs, they respect other people and property (you never see tagging or graffiti here), they respect their land, they take pride in everything, and there is a productive self-sustaining way of life here.  It reminds me of the 1960s era in America.  A time when people worked, when we had factories, when you were treated as a person not a number, when we produced our own food and when we were not in debt to others.  Being a lover of all things vintage may have something to do with my love of Korea because there is a vintage American vibe here. 

When I was preparing to come to this country I talked with one beautiful young lady that expressed how much she loved Korea.  When I told her I was moving here she said, "oh please take me with you, I miss it so much.  She had lived here before, many years ago and she told me how wonderful her experience was and that she would give anything to live here again.  Now I know why she loved it as I too have grown to love this country.  I don’t know how I am received by the Koreans although they are all good to me and very seldom do I get the feeling that I am not welcomed but I can tell you that I am quite taken with them.  I wish I could convey in words what it feels like to live here, to taste their fruit and vegetables, to visit their shops, experience their culture and to see and experience the beauty that is Korea.

Hugs from Korea,

Tea Cottage Pretties


  1. What a wonderful post, Beverly! Before I came to Europe I lived in Asia! Frankly,
    I wish I could move back I miss it so much :)
    I hope you have many more opportunities to explore South Korea!

    1. Thank you so much. I typically like to post DIY, tutorials and, of course, shabby chic goodness, but I felt the need to share our adventure a little. I am so tickled that you liked my post. Hugs, Beverly

  2. Replies
    1. It really is great living here and we are learning so much. Hugs, Beverly


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