For what it's worth, I sure missed you.
I spent an action-packed two weeks in California and relished the time with family and friends. Laguna Beach, Disneyland, San Francisco, In-N-Out... hard to top all of that, and boarding my return flight to Incheon was no small feat.
Now that I'm back, the culture shock is even greater than it was when I stepped away for a week in August 2010, and I'm agonizing over what to write about. Since moving to Korea in September 2009, I've tried to faithfully record my daily experiences and provide an insider's view of what it's like to live in Seoul. However, I think in an effort to focus on the positive, I've painted an unbalanced picture. As is the case anywhere in the world, there are good and less-than-good aspects to living here.
Some positives (referenced in earlier posts):
- Roti buns
- Naengmyun, mandoo, and hotteok
- Excellent public transportation
- Super cute stationery and office supplies
- Abundant samples at grocery stores and no penalty for double or triple dipping
- Awesome, low-priced cosmetics that come with lots of free gifts
Some less-thans (a.k.a. things I didn't notice while in the States):
- Pushing: e.g., yesterday an older woman in a full-length fur coat pushed me not once but twice while in line at E-Mart. The first time I smiled politely; the second time I cried: What are you doing??! No response.
- Lack of cautionary signage in construction areas: e.g., on a walk this evening I nearly got hit in the head by a block of falling concrete; fortunately it only tagged my foot.
- Lack of door etiquette: e.g., yesterday the security guard of my building let the door he'd just walked through shut in my face as I tried to exit. Holding doors open is just not part of the culture, and I'm still coming to terms with it.
- Game of chicken: e.g., pretty much any time I step foot outside I'm involuntarily involved in a game of chicken except instead of in cars, it happens on foot. Usually I wait until the last second to step aside (thus rendering me the chicken), but every now and then I keep walking straight, only to wind up getting shoulder-checked.
Incidentally, Happy New Year! Here's to 2011... let the adventures begin.