Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Slippers and shuffling

Things that seem normal after 2 months in Korea:

Extremely wide roads – the street outside my school is 11 lanes wide – literally.

Wearing slippers indoors – this makes you shuffle.

All manner of vehicles on the pavement – from bikes and mopeds to trucks. They not only park on the pavement - they drive on it too.

Cars without colour – white, black, silver and grey. That's about it.

Small children grabbing me (and my earrings) all day long – Ah the joys of elementary students.

Bowing – When in doubt, I bow.

Aloe (as in Vera) juice – holy crap this stuff is tasty!

Chopsticks – even the metal ones.

Patients outside the hospital – in their gowns, often with their IV drip and occasionally smoking too.

Being stared at – not as big an issue as I expected, but it does happen, and it does seem normal-ish now.

Physical contact - I'm no longer surprised when a shop assistant strokes my arm or I see children to play with each other's hair. It's really nice actually.

Babies strapped to their parent's back by a blanket – this seems to be the mode of transport of choice for many a wee one. The parents must have awesome knot-tying skills.

Noisy as all hell mobile phone stores – oh the K-pop. Wonderful on the dancefloor; unnecessary on the street.

That truck that drives around my neighbourhood with megaphones - I gather this is in aid of some business or other. Mainly it is annoying and a little creepy, but now it is normal too.

Two-handed giving/receiving – whenever you hand something to someone, or vice versa, you are supposed to use both hands. Failing which, the other hand should be under your forearm. Sounds cumbersome, but quickly becomes automatic.

Bins full of used toilet paper - I didn't say 'Things that seem nice...'

Awful beer – Hite-uh and Cass-uh are the most common – neither is any good. I am no longer agog with either.

Doors that open outwards – subtle difference, but felt so wrong to begin with.

Jets overhead – we're near an American base so there are a lot of fighter jets flying above Siji.

No bins in the street – This is only a slight exaggeration – yet the streets are still pretty clean.

Phone numbers in car windshields – often cross-stitched and always 'cute', car owners display their phone number so that they can be contacted if the car needs to be moved. I'm told it is also good courtesy to leave the car in neutral in case it needs to be pushed out of the way.

Being surprised – all the freakin' time.

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