Monday, March 28, 2011

You know you're in Korea when...

ts hard to believe that I've been here for six months, but yes, a little over six months or 190 days to be exact.  Of course, you come here and have high expectations of what you'll be able to achieve by the 6 month mark- I'll have saved some money, I'll know if I want to re-sign or resign, I'll know basic Korean and read hangeul, I'd have traveled a big chunk of Korea... and of all these wonderful things I'd thought I've had done, none of them have really been fulfilled.  However, I still find myself intrigued and learning things about life, myself and Korea on a daily basis, which makes my move to Korea worthwhile.

However, as most public school teachers use on a regular basis to read up on information pertaining to life and school work in Korea , there was a thread named "You know you're in Korea when...." and these are but a few of my favourite responses:

-you flinch everytime you turn on the sink, fearing you forgot to turn it from shower mode to sink...
-you are told you are teaching a new after school class... and it will start in five minutes.
-everyone, including the beggars on the street have iPhone 5's
-you can buy a bulgogi burger at Macdonalds.
-you're expected to go out with all the teachers on a weeknight...get completely drunk with them...and then expected to show up to work the next day completely fine with no signs of a hangover
-your coffee is more expensive than your lunch.
-Ajumma power is stronger than the whole of the North Korean Army.
-you have at least one friend of a friend that knows someone who has died from leaving a fan on with the windows closed.
- when you find yourself becoming impatient because your taxi driver IS stopping at a red light.
-70 year old ajumas hike up the mountain faster than you..
-Your flight from Incheon to Bangkok on Christmas Eve is half-full of English teachers.
-you catch yourself giving in and "konglishing" up your English to be understood. Ex. " bus stopu", bus-u, homeplus-uh and don't even realize it right away
-when you constantly have to reposition your legs as you sit on the floor at a restaurant just to feel comfortable, but then you see 80 year old ajumas and ajoshis getting up and down with no problem.
-the bus ride to the amusement park is scarier than any of the rollercoasters therein
-almost everything you think is going to be chocolate-flavored turns out to be bean-flavored instead

Things that are no longer so funny/weird:
- seeing a grown man check himself out in the mirror for 10 minutes and play with his hair
- people taking several pictures of themselves with their phone
- people slipping and falling
- teenage boys on the bus sitting on each other's laps and playing with each other's hair
- shirts with atrocious things written on them (ie; student in my school was wearing a shirt that said 'this b&@#* dont fail' - the swear word wasn't bleeped out)


  1. HAHAHHA people slipping and falling! This a funny list Shelley! I get really annoyed when I take the subway home at like 9:30 and all of the high schoolers are out and they swing their bags and kick each other THE ENTIRE TIME. They always run into me and well, its Korea so they don't really notice.

  2. I heard about this happening in Korea. When I came, I didn't notice this as much. Maybe next time when I come.

  3. Shelley,

    I'm Charles Montgomery from the Nanoomi/ReadBuild book project:

    We're looking for submissions including lists. I thought this list was pretty funny and wondered if you wanted to submit it.

    The book will be published in English and Korean. Check out the link above, and get back to me if you are interested.

    charles (at) ktlit (dot) com

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