Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A few more observations

Hello! A short update so everyone knows I am still safe, despite what you might have heard on the news. I keep a little notepad with me at all times so I can write down things I observe. I like to notice these little differences. It interests me, but it also makes me thankful for all the luxuries I have at home. Here are just a few more, continued from the last list.

-The holidays. I can't say for certain that Christmas is as commercialized as it is in the states, but I definitely think there are some companies making bank on this special day. I don't have cable and I don't watch TV, so I can't say whether or not television programs are flooded with commercials telling you to buy this toy or go to this sale. And there was certainly no Black Friday, obviously due to the fact that Thanksgiving isn't celebrated here. But a lot of stores do have giant Christmas trees put up already and Christmas decorations are readily available here. I asked my students if they celebrate Christmas, and I would say about 25% yes.

-Birthdays are different here as well. It's a little difficult to explain, and I know I'm going to probably give some wrong information, but here's how I understand it to work. Everyone still has their individual birthdays, but when you're born, you're already 1 year old. Then when the new years roles around, everyone has a birthday. So since I was born in 1988, everyone born in 1988 with me would turn 23 at the same time. You still celebrate your birthday on the day you were born, you just wouldn't say you turned older on that day. You're still 12 or 83 until the new year! And what I found most odd... If you were born on December 26, for example, you're 1. So then on January 1, you're 2. So when you're just a few days old, you're already considered 2 in Korea.

-I will often find myself speaking in Korean sentence structure. A student explained to me that Korean is very short, unlike English, where the sentences are very long. For example, and again this may be wrong, she told me that in English you could say "I have a lot of money." But in Korean, it would simply be "Money. I have." So students will often say to me, "Candy. Give me." or "Money. Give me." because that is how their sentences are structured. Since I spend a good deal of my day talking to little kids, I try to speak to them in a simple way. So forgive me if I come home and the first thing I say to you is, "Hug. Give me."

-The weather. Korea definitely has the extremes. When I first arrived in August, I remember getting off the plane and feeling mortified; how could it be so humid?! Apparently, July is the wet month, so I can only imagine the state my hair will be in. This winter has been brutally cold, as well. It doesn't snow which is nice, but it is windy. Having grown up in Illinois I would say that I'm accustomed to cold winters, but this cold has certainly tested my patience! I've heard that spring and autumn are quite pleasant, though it only lasts a short time.

-Food. Overall, I'm not very adventurous when it comes to new cuisine. I know what I like and I stick to it, which has proved to be troublesome during my travels. I would say the most curious I've ever gotten with food was eating snails and frog legs in Paris, which is really quite a shame. I accidently ate a little piece of squid here and thought I was going to absolutely lose it, but did my best to hold it all in. I've tried popular Korean dishes and I think they're quite delicious, but it's nothing out of the ordinary. I think it will take a lot more persuasion (and soju) to try the dog, bug larva, chicken anus or whale. Yes, certain restaurants here sell whale meat (or so I've been told). I think I would rather starve.

1 comment:

  1. i could never get up the courage to try bug larva there. all my friends were like JUST SLURP IT DOWN, YOU SUCK IT OUT OF THE SHELL. terrifying when you've had a lot of soju and have no idea what they are.

    also i get you on the korean sentence structure thing. just wait til you get home and are still speaking in broken english, it's maddening.