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There are obvious differences to living in a foreign country.
The people look different, they eat different foods,
they speak a different language, blah, blah, blah.
The real uniqueness about a place is found in the little everyday stuff.
Here are a few observations.
|Heating System||Korean heating systems use hot water running under the floor. It works better than I thought. Usually, Koreans sleep on a thin mat on the floor and because of this system don't use heavy blankets.|
|Paying Bills||All of my bills are delivered within a few days of each other and due on the last day of the month. I take them to any Korean bank, regardless if I hold an account, and pay them in one lump sum. Talk about easy! It's truly a beautiful thing. Side Note: One of the bank tellers uses an abacus. She's a speed demon on that thing and always correct!|
|Bathroom Lights||Bathroom light switches (at home or in public) are located outside of the room next to the door. When I went home for a visit I kept pawing the wall outside of bathroom only to find it bare. The first few times were forgivable, but then it got to be ridiculous. Also, many of their faucets are opposite. Up shuts the water off. Down turns it on. This is a nasty little trick for someone (like me) who suffers from occasional dyslexia.|
|Cutting Food With Scissors||This is true especially for meat, but it also comes in handy for noodles. To clarify; all of this scissor cutting is done in meal preparation. No one is at the table snipping at their steak.|
|Eating On The Floor||Many Korean homes don't have a western style dining
table. They have a square table with legs about 1 ft. high and
everyone sits on the floor while eating. Most of the time these
tables are brought out only at meal time and set up in the living
room. This is done mainly to save space.
Restaurants that serve only Korean food will have these kind of tables. Thankfully, some offer taller tables with chairs. Trying to eat a whole meal sitting with your legs crossed can be brutal.
|Kimchi Squat||There is a unique sitting position that's very common for Koreans and unattainable for Americans. It's kind of like a catcher's stance except their thigh's are almost vertical and their feet are completely flat on the ground. They can stay like that for hours and look comfortable. I've tried it and it's impossible. I challenge you to try it.|
|Titles||It's more common to be referred to by a title than your name. For instance, a Korean is more likely to address a female friend as "big sister" than her name. Another example occurs after a woman has a child. She ceases to be known by her name, but as "so-and-so's" mother.|
|Waving||When motioning someone to "come here". Koreans keep their palm down. It is very similar to the gesture we would use to say "sit down". When someone I'm following gives me this signal I always hesitate, thinking they want me to stop. Then they just wave more aggressively. It's like a car trying to get out of first gear. Go? Stay? Stop? Start? What am I supposed to do???|
|Personal Space||I guess because the population is so dense, their buffer zone is much smaller than ours. Also, they have no concept of waiting in line. I've been waiting next in line (leaving space behind the individual in front of me) and had a Korean walk right in front of me. And they get served before me! Hello! Am I a mirage?!|
|8 Molar Suck||Instead of saying um, ehr, uh, etc. Koreans will suck air through their teeth making a hissing sound. We call it the 8 molar suck.|