Beautiful Korea – (photo credit via 500px.com)
You guys know that I really want to go to Korea. After I get my BA, I want to live there forever and eat jajjangmyeon and kimchi and translate books. My friends have frequently asked me why. It’s a tough question, so let me outline a few of the most important reasons.
First off, I love the Korean language. Since I’m studying Linguistics, this is important. I want to be a translator, and I want to work with my favorite language – Korean. I don’t know why I like it so much. I just think it’s beautiful, the written language appeals to my artistic side, and I like that they have varying levels of respectful language.
Okay, I love food. Anyone who knows me knows this. I get really excited about food, and the surest way to make me happy is to give me something delicious to eat. And, of course, I love Korean food. Mexican was my favorite before I found Korean, so I think it must be the spiciness. I adore spicy foods. So if I can eat tteokbokki everyday, I think I’ll be content.
I love Asia, but Taiwan is way too hot and humid without the benefit of cold winters. The Korean climate, from what I’ve heard, does get hot and humid (and a monsoon season; yippee!), but they also have bitingly cold winters. I love winter and the cold, along with all the cute fashion that goes with it, so that is appealing.
Culturally, Korea is often referred to as the most Confucian of all the East Asian countries. While I don’t like some aspects of that ideology, I do like the focus on harmony. See my post on why I love Asia here. In ancient China, Korea was referred to as the “Land of the Morning Calm.” Why wouldn’t you want to go anywhere called that?
Koreans are also referred to as the “Irish” of the Orient (The Korean Mind, Boye Lafayette De Mente). This is because of their poetic nature, willingness to fight over offenses, love of drinking and partying, and fierce spirits. That analogy just makes me feel cheerful. From friends of mine who live in Korea, I’ve heard that while they are slower to warm up than people in Taiwan, they are crazy awesome friends once you get to know them.
So there you have it. A very brief reason why I love Korea. Really, it can’t be explained. So just deal with it.
NOTE: Since I will be going to Korea in June, I will probably write a response to this post after I’ve been there. It will be interesting to compare expectations with first impressions!
Also, do you think it’s odd to love a country you’ve never visited? I don’t. I think people can love anywhere, Japan or America or France or Korea, if they’ve lived surrounded by the products or seen it on TV or studied it and found it to their liking. Just my thought.