culture shock

The Weird Thing About Korean Bathrooms

Or rather, things. Or rather, Alfred.

Sorry, that is a joke with an incredibly narrow scope, but I'll leave it in and see if anyone gets it. Maybe I'll give you a prize.

ANYWAYS. I figured that since I spend so much of my time thinking about bathrooms, I'd better make a post about it, in hopes that after taking the time to write about my problems, they might plague me less. Here's hoping!

1. Where the hell is the toilet paper?


Before I moved to Korea, I never realized how lucky I was to be able to assume that all bathrooms would have toilet paper. I took toilet paper for granted. It was always there, unless I forgot to buy it. It was something I could count on.

Late-Onset Culture Shock

I think the hardest thing about living in Korea, as a foreigner, is what feels like constant scrutiny. Maybe it's easier in Seoul, or Busan, places where being a foreigner is no longer so noteworthy, but in my small city and smaller neighborhood, I feel as if everyone is super interested in anything and everything I do, from the moment I step outside my door. If I buy bread at the bakery, the owner wants to know why I'm buying it. For dinner? Breakfast? If I run into my students, they want to know where I'm going, why am I going there, who will I meet? Friends? Korean friends? American? A boy? Girl? Your boyfriend? North Korean spies?

How Has Korea Changed Me? Part 2: Modesty in Korean Fashion

As promised, this post will talk about modesty in Korean fashion, and how that has changed the way that I personally dress. In other words, this post is about my scarf addiction how I didn't choose the cardigan lifestyle, it chose me.



I DON'T HAVE A PROBLEM YOU HAVE A PROBLEM


Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy: Awkward Questions in Korea

I’m not the most private of people, but I was raised on the idea that there are certain topics that are accepted as taboo in casual conversations: religion, how much money you make, weight, politics, etc. Unless speaking to a close friend, I’ve always avoided these topics out of a combination of politeness and a horrible fear of insulting someone. But everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked I moved to Korea.

I’ll give some examples of questions that no longer shock me.


Open Letter to Prospective and Current Epik Teachers,

If you’re anything like me, the closer you come to getting on that plane, sending in that application, or whatever step you’re at, the more freaked out you are. I get that feeling. As I recall, my entire last month in Seattle was split between frantically trying to see everyone I knew, and obsessively looking up such seemingly inane yet vitally important things as “Can I buy toothpaste in Korea?” (Answer: you can, but it tastes odd) Because I know where you’re coming from, my biggest advice to you, in the timeless words of Douglas Adams, is this: Don’t Panic.

Under Siege: Dirty and Smelly and Fusion Babies

"I'm not just saying this because you’re related to me, but I used to think that all foreigners were dirty and smelly... but you're not." - a close relative who I am not permitted to name by title until the statute of limitations expires.

Does this mean I've pushed down the barriers of prejudice in Korea by just a little? Perhaps not, because this close relative went on to expand on that thought by adding "When I pass them in the street, I can smell their bad smell, they look unkempt and their clothes look years old. But you always look neat."

And apparently I don't smell that bad either. If only foreigners could smell as wonderful as Koreans.

Filed under 'accidental truths close Korean relatives tell you when they finally let their guard down after five years'.

Under Siege: Get Out of My Taxi!

I remember that it was cold and raining very heavily that morning. So heavily, that when the taxi finally pulled up outside the the last station before I headed out into the wilderness towards Gijang, its windows were steamed up and I couldn’t see the driver. The wait had been so long that I’d begun to wonder if I was ever going to get to work, and I really didn’t rate the chances of the woman who’d arrived behind me to start a queue at the designated taxi point.

On ‘Culture Shock’

I’ll freely admit it, I’m a bloody awful blogger as soon as something major happens in my life. Some people (perhaps most people) find that to channel big changes into something creative is the best way to manage the change itself…maybe this is what years ago made someone a dedicated diary writer, and now makes for a successful blogger. I have recently realised that I am the exact opposite of these people, and deal with significant change by  completely ignoring it until it either goes away or becomes manageable purely by virtue of the fact that I have been ‘getting on with it’ for a long enough time. Unfortunately, this makes for a crappy travel blog, and for that I apologise.

However, there’s no point crying over spilled Maekkoli. In this post I’ll attempt to detail my own (confused) feelings on the dreaded ‘Culture Shock’.


I'm Grateful To Have My Job

Today I read an article from The Grand Narrative, "Advice to Women Looking for Work: "Say you like to sing and dance." It reiterates the story of one young lady who has gone through so much in her life just to find herself not getting a job. This story highlights how students these days are filled with ambition and the desire to get a quality job, but come out to a world that doesn't match.

I want to talk about this aspect of Korean society because I think it might help those living here or who are considering it. As for me, I got a dose of this part of Korean life when dating two Korean men. So I also think it is important for the ladies to hear about how dating Korean men will likely mean you come to know this aspect of Korean society very closely. More importantly it can end up shaping your relationship and future with said person.

e-FM Week 36: Love Hotels, Sex and Adultery (Banned)

The english waves come inAbout 'Open Mike in Busan'

Introduction

It took 36 weeks, but I finally had a script refused for broadcast. When I started doing my weekly segment with Busan e-FM, it was with the agreement that I could be honest about my experiences in Korea, but the question is, does Korea want to be honest about itself?


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