Top 10 things I love about Korea

22 Jan

I’m naturally quite a pessimistic person so in a pursuit to be more positive I’ve decided to compile a list of the top ten things I love about living here.In no particular order here they are:

1. Sticking two fingers up, despite how angry my face might appear, still means ‘victory’. The Koreans are literally defying my negativity with an overwhelming sense of optimism. Frustrating yet cool.

2. The convenience stores are exactly that because they never EVER close.

3. Koreans are overly impressed by my mere and pathetic attempts to speak Korean. A simple ‘hello’ or ‘thank you’ has had them clapping, literally. Although, it can sometimes mean that a taxi driver will begin to have a full lengthy conversation with me, at which point I turn take on the social ability of a horse as I ‘neigh‘, (Korean for yes), in response to everything he says.

4. Koreans think I’m beautiful, (their words, not mine!) purely because my eyes aren’t brown, I have pale skin and blonde hair. I’m not looking forward to returning to the U.K and having my bubble burst.

5. More often than not brainy kids = cool kids here. It was quite surprising to me that the kid with the glasses, that puts his hand up all the time, is the one the others are envious of. Had he been in the UK he/she would be having the contents of his school bag emptied on to the floor and be called a ‘swot’, ‘geek’, ‘teachers pet’ etc. But instead, here, the other students ask him/her for answers and praise him/her for being smart. It’s amazing.

6. Paris Baguette and Tous Les Jours. I love they’re egg custard tarts, cheese cakes and hot chocolates. I also love that they’re everywhere. They’re as common as a Gregg’s bakery back home.

7. Disorganisation is generally expected. This works out tremendously well in my favour, being as disorganised as I am.

8. A complete disregard for health and safety. This might sound like a bad thing and I was permanently aghast with my mouth wide open with the things I saw in my first week here. However, once you stop looking at things as though your taking a hazard perception test you realise that it’s actually pretty good. If, for example, you were to trip on the numerous wires that are traipsed across the pavement, it doesn’t mean you sue the family-run grocery store for everything it’s worth until the owner can’t afford to feed his or her children. Instead it means you watch where your bloody going next time, and rightly so, and I say this as a clumsy person.

9. The honesty and trusting nature of the Korean people. There is one occasion in particular which succinctly demonstrates this. That is when Lawson’s school Director gave us her credit card for a week when we went to Thailand. Her credit card! This is unheard of in the UK. People would say she must be mad. Lawson’s credit card wasn’t set up for on-line banking so we were unable to purchase flight tickets. She kindly paid, for which we reimbursed her of course, she gave us her card in case we needed it for verification. I feel surprisingly safe here. Probably safer than I do back home.

10. Finally, the cheapness of everything. Although, I think when I initially came to Korea I had delusional ideas of exactly how much I could save. It’s not as cheap as Vietnam or Cambodia, of course, but if your prepared to do without Western home comforts it is still about fifty percent cheaper than the West for prescribed medicine, public transport and a sit down meal. I’m going to include ‘service’ here too, otherwise it’d be the “Top 11 things I love about Korea” and no one likes an odd number. ‘Service’, as they call it here, simply means ‘free’. It is common practice to be given a hand full of make-up samples in shops or a free plate of chips. Great, eh?

If you can think of any others feel free to add them bellow as a comment.

This post was inspired by an excellent fellow TEFL blogger, Allie. Visit her site here!

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