Thursday, February 25, 2010

You Get Used to it...

There are numerous cultural and whatever else differences between home and Korea-this is obvious.

But there are a few things I wasn't expecting to get so used to:

1. Like having strangers fall asleep on your shoulder on the subway. This happens. A lot. A couple days ago this guy, probably not more than a couple years younger than me, falls asleep. His head slowly but surely makes its way to my shoulder. It's just more comfortable that way. This happens more frequently on really early and really late trains, but I never count it out. The Koreans are too good at falling asleep in moving vehicles. (and they have a magic ability to wake up right before their stop. amazing)
1a. I do not have this ability
1b. I haven't fallen asleep on anybody yet, but I hope to do it before I leave. Preferably on a hot Korean. Or an ajuma (grandma). Because that would be just too funny.


2. Men peeing on the street. A lot. As a sidenote, I've seen about a million more men peeing on the streets here than I did in Paris, so suck on that all you haters. The men just stop and go. Sometimes they don't even move to the side of the walkway. Yesterday I saw a three year old peeing in a drain...in the middle of a group of buildings. Awesome. Teach 'em young.
2a. Good thing there's nothing to see there
2b. It's like they don't even have to cover anything up!

3. Having it take at least an hour to get anywhere. I swear. Actually, if it takes an hour I'm happy, because thats good time. I've become quite good at reading with people surrounding me, staring at my English books.
3a. Sometimes the long distance sucks because the guy next to you will be chewing whatever food he's eating louder than you can think. I hate this.
3b. Sometimes its nice though, because its not like I can make the train move any faster. So I have more time to read. And people watch. And have strangers talk to me in Korean.

4. Having strangers talk to me in Korean, even after I've plainly stated (in their native tongue) that I, do not, speak Korean (I know its a surprise). I have an uncanny ability to pick the train with the craziest crazy people. Every time. One time there was this ajuma in the corner of the train who had a walking stick. Every couple minutes, she would go crazy with her walking stick, and just lash out and hit the wall, floor, and seat next to her. No one dare sit closer than 5 feet to her, in fear of their life. Another time this old guy was just sitting there, singing (or chanting) to himself. Which is fine. He does what he wants. But then he stands up and sees me: a white person. Out of a train full of Koreans, he approaches me and starts talking. Maybe his eyesight was bad. He just rambles off in Korean and I tell him I can't speak it. This doesn't bother him (maybe he's deaf?) and he keeps talking. One guy close to us translates, "Where are you from?" and so I say the U.S. This still doesn't stop the old guy and he keeps it going for another minute. I just stand there. A group of girls a couple feet away laugh. Finally, the old guy moves away from me and starts chanting again...but in no time he's back to my side, asking me questions. Or at least I'm assuming he's asking me questions. I liked him better when he chanted.

5. Sour Candy (comparable to sour straws...but better). I just love it. Best Korean candy out there, hands down.


(PS: Remember how I saw Backstreet Boys last night? I'll be living on that high note for a long, long time. In fact, I'm wearing my new concert t-shirt right now and I'll probably sleep in it...and wear it tomorrow.)

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