I'll admit, I haven't had a real culture shock since I've been in Korea until now! I've officially been here for a little over a month, and I'm just now starting to notice things I haven't before.
For starters, over the weekend, I traveled to Seoul, it's the capital of South Korea. When I tell you people are RUDE. Usually in a crowded setting, it's apart of American culture to say, " excuse me" or "sorry" when trying to get by. Koreans don't do that at all, they just push pass each other. My new Korean friends told me "not to take it personal because everyone here in Korea assumes that everyone has somewhere important to go. It's nothing rude about pushing or shoving." Now imagine how much irritation I had to hold back and let go after hearing that.
Next thing you know, another thing happens. I'm on the subway train, and there's an open seat. It was odd to me that the color of the seat was pink when comparing it to all the blue seats on the train, but I brushed it off. I tried to sit down and all my friends screamed, " you can't sit there!" Like why it's an open seat, I've been standing and walking for fifty eleven hours! Come to find out, they have specific colored and reserved seats for only pregnant women. It sounded dumb to me at first, but then it dawned on me that this seat was sort of a smart idea. Not everyone is considerate enough to give their seat on a bus or train to pregnant women, so why not just reserve one to make life easier? When discussing the pregnant seat with my friends, it also came to my attention that it is a specific section reserved for elders on the subway train, not for handy cap, but elders. This was so backwards, but things get a lot crazier than this.
A few days later I went out for dinner and drinks with the head managers and people I work with at my campus cafe. So I tried to put a piece of meat in my mouth ( I was starving) and one of the girls I sat next to said, "you can't eat yet, you have to wait for the eldest to start eating first before you can." Boy, WHAT? People must of forgot I'm not Korean and neither am I from Korea. This is one custom I refused to listen to. I'm hungry so I'm about to eat, f*ck all that waiting sh*t. Well at least that was what I wanted to say, I waited lol. Then while at dinner, one of my working buddies told me that when you are drinking with someone older you have to turn away from them and cover the side of your face and cup while drinking. This is to show respect because it's inappropriate to drink in their face. Like come on now, if that's the case, then drinking should be prohibited for young adults. I'm grown as hell and I'm two years passed the drinking age, I should be able to drink in front of who ever I want, long as I'm not breaking the law, right?
And here's the killing part, I tried to use the public restroom, the toilet was ON THE FLOOR. I heard of Holes on the floor in China being used as toilets, but really they thought I was about to squat over that to pee? #TooClassy4That! I held my blather until I found another restroom that had actual toilets. When I found another one, they had the regular toilets, thank gosh, but I had to wait in line before entering the stall to get toilet paper because most don't believe in providing a roll of toilet tissue per stall. This way they can save paper and limit the use of it. Over all my experience with public restrooms was horrible.
And OH MY GOSH, the thing Americans always wished for: Buger King and McDonald delivers here in Korea. Like how can they allow this in Asia, and exclude North America from having fast food delivery? They just get all the special privileges here.
It's clearly a lot of things here that are totally different from what I'm used to, but being in a different country is all about adapting to new ways of life and trying new things. This blog isn't to scare others from traveling, it's more so to prepare you for the unexpected, and trust me it's going to be ALOT of the unexpected in a place that's not the United States.