“When in Rome….

I have been in S. Korea for 4 months now and it hardly seems plausable that I am a third of the way finished with my first year's contract! There has been so much to take in and experience, that in some ways, it feels like I have been here a lot longer than just 4 months. On the other hand, I don't yet speak the language, and feel as thought there are SO many other things I want to do here that it feels like time is slipping away. But this blog really isn't about that..

When one lives in another country, it's common to experience culture shock. I can't say that I have gone through much of a culture shock experience here. People tell me, "it's coming, just wait." But frankly, I don't believe it! I didn't really experience culture shock in Haiti either, so I guess it's just in my DNA to easily adjust in foreign environments! Don't get me wrong, there have been frustrations and curiosities on my part, but nothing symptomatic of culture shock. In fact, I find myself doing things that I found quite strange when I first got here… and that IS what this blog is about.

Below is a listing of (and some explanations for those that I felt needed it) some of the habits that have come so quickly, so naturally, and may be so strange to those who do not live here:

  • Norabang (17)
    Let's EAT!
    School dinner 10-22-09 teachers

    I talk with my hands/gestures in addition to super anunciation. (YES, even MORE hand gestures than normal) 

  • I bow to folks upon meeting and leaving– even my non-Koreans.
  • I hand  things with my right hand and make sure the left hand is touching my right arm. (This is a sign of respect)
  • Anytime I talk about something in the negative (I can't, don't, no, etc) I make an X with my forearms in front of my chest.
  • Karaoke is just a part of  life
  • Full sentences have become something only reserved for native English speakers. The rest get key words/phrases with losts of gesturing.
  • The sound "uuuhhhh" (like when you get punched in the gut) now means "Yes" and "Uh-huh" and is used frequently while listening to anyone speak.
  • Korean men are now attractive to me 

— I know that some of you now need a minute to process that last one–

  • Sitting on the floor (to eat or socialize) for hours is no longer torturous, but still must be done with straight legs, rather than "indian style"
  • I have lost my adversion to tofu.
  • I no longer ask what something is before I eat it. There realy is no point in knowing.. either I'll like it or I won't.
  • I now ask people I meet for the first time three basic Korean questions:

~ Where are you from/ what's your hometown?

~ How old are you? —Everything, including the conjegations you use, revolves around your own age in comparison to that person's age.

~ What's your blood type? —Koreans strongly believe that personalities are formed by the type of blood you have (A, B, AB, O)



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