rice is a "live plant"

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I was so excited to hear about this company in California that starts with i and ends in herb (one word) that ships groceries, organic products, and vitamins and supplements to Korea. The shipping was reasonable and the prices weren't bad either. So, I placed an order and anxiously awaited the arrival of the goods. A few days later, I received a call from a Korean man on our cell phone. He was asking about a package and saying something about rice and quarantine and when I tried to ask questions he told me that his English was not that good and that I should have a Korean friend call him. The next day I asked my awesome supervisor if she could do me yet another favor and call the quarantine office. She kindly offered her help (as she always does) and called the office.  She then explained to me that the wild rice I ordered was in quarantine because it is a "live plant" and can contaminate Korea, etc., etc. and that there may be fines or quarantine costs to follow. Unfortunately we had to leave for a field trip then so we were unable to resolve the matter and would have to deal with it later. I felt so irritated all day and spent time thinking about worst case scenarios such as we get fined $1,00 for ordering a small bag of wild rice or we get locked up abroad for somehow contaminating the country, you know those kinds of things. Anyway, after the field trip my supervisor was able to call again and found out that the small bag of rice would cost 50,000 won ($50) to quarantine and then we could have it. I told her that that was absolutely ridiculous since the rice only cost $2 and that they could dispose of it however they wished. So it was resolved and I was told that the package (minus the rice) would be delivered to me. So, you may be thinking why did you need rice, I thought that in Asia there is rice in abundance (your thought, not mine). Yes it's true, you're right in thinking that we are able to buy and eat rice (the sticky white kind) easily here (fact). It is in abundance and delicious with many dishes such as kimchi jigae or bimimbap. But, after six months living in Korea and eating white rice almost every day I have grown tired of it and have decided to cut it out of my diet for health reasons. So the moral of this story is don't order rice off of the internet and try to have it shipped to Korea and don't trust that companies that ship here (such as starts with an i and ends in herb) know about import/custom/quarantine laws, because they don't and in the end you will pay the fines or get locked up abroad or have to live without your wild rice.
Remember: rice is a live plant!

teaching english in korea. 
blogging here: www.teachingintherok.blogspot.com


 

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