SEOUL: Things I will miss about the Great Nation of Texas


I visited Austin this past weekend one last time before I leave, and it was, of course, awesome. Whie I was there, I tried to get my fill of all things quintessentially Texas. I don’t leave for another eight days, but after last weekend I’ve already compiled a mental list of the things that will probably fill my mind should I ever get homesick in Korea. That list is as follows:

1) Tacos

Yes, this is cliché. But tacos are awesome, alright? Everyone says it because it’s true. I will particularly mourn my temporary loss of Matt’s old-fashioned deep-fried tacos, the crispy puffed kind at El Fenix, and the veggie tacos at Tin Star. Might try smuggling these onto the plane in my coat pocket. Then TSA will pat me down and get sour cream on their hands and be like “what?”

2) Fiesta Mart

I’m not sure if this is specific to Texas. And maybe they have something similar in Korea. But nothing can replace the giant, friendly red sign, the obnoxious yet endearing bird mascot, the faded wall decor advertising “CHURROS!” and “NACHOS!” and the more general “SNACKS!”. And, most importantly, the complete freedom to buy festive sock-slippers, foreign candy, and cups with lead-based paint at 3 in the morning. Fiesta Mart has my heart.

3) Driving

I have come to terms with the fact that there is no way I will acquire a driver’s license during my stay in Korea. This has been a tough realization and I would like to thank each and every one of you for your unending care and support during this difficult time.

4) Having a vague understanding of public transportation

Emphasis here on “vague.” I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I didn’t once walk along the side of Ben White for an hour and a half because I took the Burnet/Manchaca bus instead of the 1L. Or that I haven’t waited 45 minutes for the 7 at an incorrect stop. But hear me out: at least I know what the 7 and 1L are (sort of). I know where to put my dollar when I get on (by the way, St. Edward’s, GIVE US BUS PASSES ALREADY). And I know how to read the signs. I cannot say the same for the Korean subway system. I must prepare myself for another month or two of Being a Complete Scrub.

5) Not being a tourist

This one sort of goes along with the public transportation thing. Basically, I’m assuming it will be highly apparent in Korea that I have only the smallest idea what I’m doing. I’ve lived in Texas all my life, so I can usually claim exemption from being a noob on the simple basis of elapsed time. Here, if I’m in an unfamiliar situation, I can still generally blend in, lay low, and pick up on conversations for context. In Korea, not so much. I have a feeling I will be super obvious about everything roughly 80% of the time.

6) Large flat things

Examples: numerous fields on the drive to Austin, unobstructed views of clouds, wide streets in Plano, Kerbey Lane pancakes, Enchanted Rock, this state in general- Texas is the King of Large and Flat, whereas Korea is mostly mountainous, smaller, and significantly more populated.

7) Charmingly oversized capitol

Like, why does it need to be that big? It’s adorable! In a Clifford the Big Red Dog/How to Train Your Dragon sort of way. It’s like this giant lovable oaf that I get to walk around every time the downtown buses are on detour (which is like, every weekend, thanks to Austin for being obsessed with festivals and marathons). I have a little replica of it from when I first visited in 3rd grade, and I think I’ll take it with me to remember my favorite li’l big building.

8) Mumbling

I suppose this really isn’t specific to Texas, either. But mumbling in English is a luxury that I’m guessing I won’t be able to afford when I’m in Korea. Obviously, most people’s first language there is Korean, and even if they know English, I highly doubt my super-inarticulate-slightly-twanged-made-up-slang way of speaking will be very understandable. I need to get better an enunciating, projecting, and generally not sounding stupid.

9) Flip-flops in February

Okay, I don’t think I’ve ever actually worn flip-flops in February. I don’t really even wear flip-flops. But the idea that, if I so desired, I could get away with it without getting frostbite is glorious. FREEDOM. LIBERTY. EXPOSED TOES.

10) My friends and family, I guess.

They’re pretty cool.