You know you’re in Korea when…

The time has flown, the seasons have come full cycle, and I’ve called Seoul my home for a year now. A year in to my stay in Peru, inspired by my fondness for the various wonders and oddities that stood out to me as a newcomer, I did a very brief round-up which has proved perennially popular.

Equally fond of and, occasionally, bemused by Korea, I thought I would note some similar observations to mark my first year here.

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And in no particular order:

A café isn’t a café without some kind of animal experience, be it cat café, dog café, or sheep café. Yes. Sheep.

You go for a quiet weekend walk by the Han river and all twenty-five million other Seoulites have had the same idea.

…and they are all recording the experience on their Samsung smartphone + selfie stick.

A young couple passes you sporting the ‘couple tee’ – they are both wearing identical tops. And probably trainers if you look down.

You go for a quiet weekend ramble up a scenic path… and all twenty-five million other Seoulites have had the same idea.

You are having a coffee and you need the bathroom. You go, leaving your wallet, laptop and mobile on the table. When you come back it’s all still there!

An ad campaign isn’t an ad campaign without a selection of random adjectives in English: “puppy! happy! purple! joy! – Life Insurance!!!

24 hour convenience stores really are open 24/7, and you can chill out with a cheap beer at their outdoor tables at any of those hours, winter or summer.

You go for a leisurely stroll through a park that has a slight incline and everyone is wearing ‘full set’. Heavy duty brand name hiking gear, including sports backpacks and hiking poles.

Your whole class of elementary school students somehow know brunch as a morning meal, but can’t remember breakfast.

A meal isn’t a meal without a side of pickled radish. (This is much better than it sounds!)

And this time I’d like to leave you with this wonderful video, which not only features a number of Seoul landmarks and inhabitants at their cheery best, but also the kind of collaborative, creative and fun social venture that Korea’s addiction to smartphones and the internet actually enables and encourages.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pieces of 8
    Nov 18, 2014 @ 20:52:24

    It feels like a steep learning curve when you first arrive in a totally new place. However, the benefit of being a teacher is meeting up to 100 new people a month who all want to talk to you about their lives, experiences, and, of course, the best (and sometimes worst) about their country.

    Whenever I am stuck for an idea about where or how to spend my weekend, there are many people who are happy to provide suggestions!



  2. Kang Ju-won (강주원)
    Nov 18, 2014 @ 08:38:28

    Fun read! Wow, it’s only been a year for you. Yet, you know so much! 🙂



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