New Year: Korean Style
New Year is usually characterised by a terrible hangover, wallowing in self-pity, drinking copious amounts of tea and watching Disney movies.
Whilst Koreans are known for their love of a good party (Korea drinks on average 14 shots a week), NY is celebrated slightly differently. The idea is to get up very early (or stay out very late) and watch the first sunrise of the year. For our final NY in Busan we welcomed in 2017, Korean style.
New Years Eve was spent revisiting Bujeon market, eating bibimbap then indulging in some noraebang (karaoke). The UK was still doing the countdown when we woke up to incredible views over Busan’s Gwangalli bridge. I really enjoyed the Korean way of celebrating New Year, I felt so much more proactive for January 1st although I couldn’t imagine doing it in Blighty’s miserable weather. It’s hard to believe I can now say to friends and family, ‘see you this year.’ I’ve become so used to being so far, detached even, to the goings on of life at home. Soon I’ll be leaving Korea and the sunrise was a great welcome to the new year as well as a sentimental goodbye to this amazing city.
새해 복 많이 받으세요 – Happy New Year
Hong Kong: somewhere
‘福 Fu is the ultimate good luck character. Good fortune, wealth and good luck.’
This is my last post of 2016. Whilst I’ve been living in Korea the UK has left the EU, we’ve got a new Prime Minister, a different 5 pound note and Darlington has a frickin’ Nandos. It’s safe to say a lot has happened in Blighty.
From a personal perspective, another year in the expat bubble has been pretty great. I’ve preferred having a full year cutting out the awkward adjustment period, revisiting places and ticking off experiences I didn’t get to do last year in Korea. Whilst the UK made some terrible decisions *cough-Brexit*, I will look back on 2016 fondly as the time I travelled to Sri Lanka, Japan, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taiwan and… Japan (again). I really can’t complain.
Now that it’s coming to a close I can’t help but feel anxious and excited about what 2017 has in store. Sometimes new years can mark new starts whether its giving up chocolate or…walking more? I don’t know, I never kept resolutions. 2017 certainly will be a new start for Dave and I as we’re leaving Korea in February. 2 years ago I had mixed feelings about moving to Korea and now knowing I’m returning home soon, it’s exactly the same. With a couple months left, my mind is already preparing for the transition. You may be wondering why we’re leaving. We have not fallen out of love with Korea but it feels like its time for a change.
Busan will always be my home away from home. Korea will remain special and I’ll be incredibly upset to say goodbye. I’ve never been a home bird and it’s mostly an unknown returning to the UK but I can have some peace of mind knowing its the right decision. At least soon I’ll be able to play Pokemon Go; I’m way behind the hype, its not available here.
I will continue posting my black and white photos and who knows, I may move abroad again in the future. For the meantime 2017 is being kicked off with a trip to Cambodia, a birthday in Seoul, more travels, my best friend’s wedding and finally seeing my family. I’ve always been a planner but maybe I need to accept that sometimes we can’t plan everything.
Happy New Year and love the ones you’re with.