I just can’t shake the feeling that one of my struggles in Korea is facing constant sameness.
It’s hard to explain exactly how much everything is the same here. Many of the Buddhist temples look the same–wooden structures painted bright colors. Many of the cities look the same. Wonju, Cheongju, Dangyang, Seoul, Sokcho, Gangyang. Every city I’ve been in looks remarkable similar to the one I’ve left. It’s like an ever-expanding suburb. Family Mart, GS Mart, Paris Baguette, Pizza School, LG, Samsung–all of these businesses occupy many of the buildings in Korea. The apartment buildings seem to be of the same design and materials. If you look long enough, you start to notice the differences.
But the constant sameness becomes grinding. Even long-time ex-pats who live in Korea, agree that it’s easy to get lost here because everything looks so similar.
And some days, I just want something different to eat. And I remember there are only two Mexican restaurants in all of Korea, both in Seoul and making it impossible for me to have chiles rellenos anytime I want. Then there are the days where I just want to eat something that isn’t spicy, hot, meat-filled, rice and red bean paste. It’s not that I don’t like Korean food. I love it. But somedays it would be nice to have a brownie that is like a brownie from home.
My biggest frustration is finding food I know from home like pizza and then being completely disappointed by how un-pizza like it is. So I end up eating the weirdest pizza I can find. Meanwhile I keep drinking beer and soju, eating bulgogi and teaching.
That constant sameness has just been dragging on me lately. Some days I just find myself wishing for something different. Of course, it makes finding any differences or variety even more of a treat.