Friday, July 20, 2012

7 Ways I've Changed in Korea

Believe it or not, I have been writing these last few weeks, it's just all been kept in notes on my iPod.  Now we're back, and here's what we have first.

I have about five months left on my contract here, and the American shore is getting closer and closer.  I know I'm not moving tomorrow, but reflections have already started taking place.  I've looked toward that culture I'll be returning to, and I've compared it to the culture I've become a small part of.  I've been collecting the differences, and I'm telling you now that this is going to be a small series...

My Korean Transformation, Vol. 1

#1 - I'm less afraid of moving cars.
Cars and people share both the sidewalks and streets here.  Unless you're on a road more than two lanes wide, feel free to vie for space with the big, heavy, moving cars.  They're used to going slowly to not run over people.

Image via Missy at her Travelog
And here's one other photo by Christopher J N Brown.

#2 - I will shove with my elbows to get a spot on the subway.
Usually it's just the older people who act entitled when it comes to spots on the subway, but when middle aged and younger people get in a rush, even they stop caring about those things called queues.

#3 - I'm cool with spitting on the sidewalk.
I never thought of spitting as much of a big deal anyway because I wasn't around many people who did it nor who cared. Now that it's common, I just don't mind.

#4 - I give exaggerated responses to many things that would usually only garner an "oh, really?
I don't know why Koreans tend to be melodramatic, but they do, and it's caught on with me.

"I haven't eaten kimchi all week."


#5 - I have no problem with putting used toilet paper in the trash can.
The plumbing system is different here. Or, it must be, because people rarely flush toilet paper here. It goes in the trash. I was grossed out my first months here, but now it's completely normal. (I'm also very glad I don't have the job of being a Korean bathroom custodian.)

#6 - I'm unphased when I see a whole subway car of people whose eyes are glued to their cell phone screens.

When I first arrived, I was shocked to see how closed off everyone was on the subway. I've only ridden a subway in America once, many years ago, so I have no idea what it's like in the States, but I'd never seen anything like this before. Halfway through my stay here, I started riding the subway more and more. I was reading books, people watching, and minding my own business, but I ended up getting bored and then everything started to make sense.

I now watch TV shows on my iTouch with my headphones on and my posture slouched, too.

#7 - I would totally wear couple tees.
It would be one-eighth ironic and mostly goofy fun, but I actually really want some couple tees.  My boyfriend is very, very American, and, though he visited Korea for 13 days, I don't think he can be convinced

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