Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A day in the life

I decided I would try to give everyone a little peek into what life in South Korea actually consists of. I'm always finding things that are specific to Korea, but I haven't documented them for everyone to read yet. So here they are.

-I've been asked what my blood type is by several Koreans. When I say I have absolutely no idea they look at me as if I grew a second head. They're shocked. I guess a blood type tells a lot about a person, so I usually just make an answer up.

-I really can't explain to you the noises you'll hear in Korea. I think my favorite, and one I find most bizarre, is the war-like propaganda I'll randomly hear coming from fruit stands. I'm not kidding. You walk by a little stand in the back of a van selling something like herbs or fruit and there will be a bizarre voice yelling something from a loud speaker. It really is difficult to explain. One friend told me about a comic he read in which two people were walking by this bizarre event. One friend asked what was going on and the other said, "Either the nazis are invading or nectarines are on sale." And it's so true.

-Socks. There are entire tables dedicated to selling socks at various markets here in Busan and I've heard they are a popular gift to give.

-It's totally normal for hospital patients here to leave the hospital for a little bit and roam the streets, gown on and IV drip attached. I've seen patients in restaurants, stores, taking walks. It's just no big deal.

-Service. People here really will do their best to always make sure you're accommodated and comfortable. From my short time in the country, I see that they really do aim to please. My best example of service comes from a man working at a 7/11 right outside my apartment. I go in the store frequently to buy all sorts of items: water, food, candy, beer. One time I went in and the bar code on an item didn't work right, so he gave me a free energy drink for my "time wasted," which was about 4 seconds. Another time I went in to buy just a bottle of soju, so he gave me a bag of potato chips for free, because he didn't want me to get sick. He's the best.

There are so many other things I have noticed about the culture and people, I could go on for days. I make it a point to jot down these observations so I can write about them, share them, remember them. This is just a small chapter in what could be a book about, "Why Korea is so Awesome."


  1. Blood type to Koreans is like astrology to Americans. I think I only got asked that once or twice though, cos I was mostly around college students and foreigners.

    And service is AWESOME! I hung out with the English teachers a lot in Anseong, and they were good friends with the owner of the bar we always went to. Every time, we'd get a food platter or fries or walnuts or something, all service.

    Has anybody spotted your tattoo yet? When people saw the one on my wrist, they'd immediately start poking at it and exclaiming over it. They nearly crapped themselves when they saw the one on my foot.

  2. Yes, the tattoos have been spotted! I get different reactions from the kiddies. Some think they are really cool, others are confused, some of them want me to try to wipe it off. They're so bright eyed and bushy tailed when it comes to things like arm hair and permanent skin decoration. I love it.