Oh Hey, I am in Seoul By The Way

So I must admit, I am horrible at updating this thing, not that it is not obvious.  I’m going to aim for two posts a week from now on!  Three if I am really feelin’ it, and one if I absolutely do not have time.

Since I have been gone: family vacation in Tanzania has ended, my month back at work has also ended, and I flew off to start my semester abroad in Seoul, South Korea.  So you know, things I had a lot to write about.  Look for many posts coming your way!

On to today’s post.

Today, September 23rd, 2015, marks my one month anniversary of being in Seoul, South Korea.  When I applied, I knew I would be going alone and as the only student from my school.  I was fully aware that all I knew about the culture was from the media, the entertainment industry, and from having some Korean friends.  I knew that there would be culture shock and that it would be difficult, but I did not expect it to feel like it did/sometimes still does.

It is not that I feel scared or alone here, but I guess I just did not realize to the full extent what it would be like to throw myself into a country and culture I had never been to.  Full force.  By myself.  For an entire semester of my junior year.

I love it.  It has been thrilling and it still is.  Of course, some things have been hard, I have been scared, and of course worried (I actually ended up catching the cold that was going around in my second week, which turned into mild bronchitis/pneumonia that is (thankfully), after two visits to the hospital (not emergencies) to see a doctor (the hospital is amazing, by the way! Pretty much a mall), going away).  But this experience has been great and I know it will continue to be as I learn more about myself, Korea and Korean culture, and what I really want.

Enough with the sappy stuff–

Ten Things I Have Learnt About Korea in the Past Month:

  1. Trash cans are hard to find, both on the streets and on campus
  2. Cheese is a flavor here- ice cream, muffins, sweet cheese breads, cheese and cream (not to be confused with ‘cream cheese’) cookies, you name it
  3. One thing that I had to get use to back in the U.S., is that everyone walks on the same side you drive on.  So now I am use to it, right? Except when I forget what side I am suppose to walk on, because you know, is left or right?  I’ll never know.  Just keep me off the roads.  ANYWAY.  They do not do that in Korea
  4. You bow when you greet someone and when they greet you.  You bow when you say goodbye or when someone says goodbye to you.  You bow when you say thank you to someone or someone compliments you.  Bowing happens a lot and is seen as rude if you do not.  It has become a reflex now, I kind of like it
  5. As I have learnt in the U.S., wearing short-shorts, short skirts, and short dresses, is not always seen as “appropriate”, but wearing lower-cut tops, and showing shoulders is just fine.  I have learnt and observed that in Korea, it is exactly the opposite.  How interesting right?
  6. People in Korea strive to be paler, which is also contrary to what Western women (generalizing here) strive for…the grass always seems greener on the other side?
  7. You can smoke almost anywhere, including IN clubs.  And, if you cannot smoke somewhere, you just smoke in the bathroom (I do not smoke, just for reference)
  8. Brushing teeth is a big part of society here, I have seen many women brushing their teeth in the restrooms at all times of the day and night
  9. Almost all fresh fruits and vegetables, especially fruit, are very expensive
  10. To my surprise, they love really spicy food here

I am sure I have missed some other big ones, but these are the ones that come to mind right now.  I am also not by any means saying that any of this is bad, it is all just new.  Just some first observations, and I am loving it!