Livin' La Vida Expat

expat glamour korea

 Expat: Ur Doin' it Wrong

For A and myself, this has made us sort of outcasts. Korea has a famous Mud Festival, which is a big draw for expats and tourists. All the guidebooks and hearsay tell us that it's basically one giant, mud-covered, alcohol-sodden party: generally a good time. It's famous. It's the Korean Expat Experience. How could you live here for a year and miss it?

Problem: A and I are not into that sort of thing. We have no intention of going to the Mud Festival. Our idea of fun is hiking up one of Korea's gorgeous mountains and spending an afternoon in the woods. We don't think this is better or worse, it's just what we enjoy.

But it seems we are missing out on the expat experience. We haven't made it to all the Places You Should Go, we haven't seen all the Things You Should See. Or if we do go, we mess it up pretty badly.

Our best trip was to a no-name inn situated in Korea's eastern mountains, totally off the beaten track, where we were the only guests and treated to a family meal with the inn's owner on the Lunar New Year. It was a total mistake, and it only happened because we were crazy enough to want to visit Korea's highest peak in the dead of winter. In other words, a genuine adventure.

We tried to see the World Expo, and that went terribly thanks to poor planning (on both sides), but we loved lunch at a Buddhist temple on Buddha's birthday celebration, again something more in line with our particular interests.

I wouldn't call those failures, but we certainly learned our lesson: stop trying to be something we're not.

It seemed we were just no good at expat living (though we do spend a fair amount of time at cafes writing).

With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet...

Instead of the Mud Festival, we are planning a visit to a random beach along the western coastline in one of Korea's biggest nature preservations. We're excited to see some birds and other rare animals.

Boring? Perhaps. Glamourous? Certainly not.

But, that's how we roll, and if there's one thing Warrior Spirit is all about, it's accepting your own unique version of life. Trying to fit ourselves into the Expat mold did not go well, so we'll just do our own thing.

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