Wednesday, June 10, 2015

El mes de Mayo y Marce


The semester is about to come to an end at work, and for the first time I felt fine ...until last weekend (more on that later).

Every semester the students start to feel tired and pretty much like they are over it by week 12/13 (out of a 16 week semester). Most of the time I feel it too, and I start to get lazy and sometimes even irritated. But this semester I was ok. Not tired. Not lazy. Not over it. I think the reason is that I've been keeping busy almost every weekend that I just didn't feel it. 

Anyways, I thought I start first by adding some cool things to The List. 

114. Hand washing. I thought I had talked about this before, and I was trying to find the entry on my blog but didn't find anything. Here it is: Many Koreans do not wash their hands after using the bathroom. Yup. Ew. Gross. Disgusting. WUA-CA-LAAAAAS! 

And this is not an overgeneralization. I see it all the time. And I know I am not the only one who has noticed it. 

Seriously man, like, why not? I have no clue. If there is a reason, please tell me because otherwise I will continue to judge every single person who doesn't wash their hands. I've been told that this happens in the men's restroom too, so it's not just women. 

If they are doing it because they are pretty sure there isn't any err, splashings(?) on their hands, you still can never be one-hundred percent sure, so just wash your damn hands.

Could this link to other lacking preventative things such as not obeying traffic laws? Taking shortcuts in safety? Who knows. But it's pretty disgusting. 

When I worked at an elementary school, there were many times when I was in the bathroom, and students would try to leave without washing their hands, so I would chase them down the hall and bring them back to the bathroom. 

I would totally do that at my university, but students rarely use the bathroom instructors use, and I am not about to tell my Korean coworkers to wash their hands just because I don't want to create a problem. 

Now keeping this in mind, let's move on to the next topic.

113. Double dipping. There was a lesson in one of my conversation textbooks about things that you should and should not do when you travel to other countries who have different etiquette rules, and I remembered this. I think I had forgotten about it because it has become so normal for me that I don't care anymore. Which is funny because it shocked the crap out of me when I first encountered it. 

Double dipping is OK people ...well, it is in Korea. A lot of the food in Korea is served in a way that is meant to be shared, so you end up dipping your chopsticks or spoons into the same dishes over and over again. 

Then Selene, do you mean it's ok to spread germs? Mmmm, I don't think that's how Koreans view it. Actually, they don't care too much about germs. I've talked about these weird bar soaps they have in almost all bathrooms, gross! How they get sick and still go to work/school. And obviously the above entry, GROSS!!!!!!!!!!

But like I said, I don't care anymore. I don't even think about it. I just eat. 

116. A4 paper. Who would've known other countries use different size paper? When I first arrived in Korea and was handed my contract, the first thing I noticed was the paper and how different it looked. I wasn't sure if my eyes were deceiving me or what, but as soon as I took it home and compared it some sheets I had, I confirmed it. In the U.S. we use letter size paper (8in x 11.5in), but here everything is in A4 paper (8.3in x 11.7in). So as you can imagine, folders, notebooks, and binders correspond to this size. 

117. Blabla Story. I think this is a really funny thing in Korea. I started noticing right away and collecting pictures. 


 

Why do so many things have to be ".... Story"? Beats me. I think they just want a name in English for their store and go for the easy thing. 

118. No customization. Ugh this bothers me so much! Like, a lot! Why can't I have my burger with extra cheese or my pizza with no corn? Lame. It is very rare that restaurants will allow customization. Actually, it's not even about allowing it, but about them not understanding the concept that different people like different things. I've gotten the most confused stares when I try to customize something. They look at me like I'm crazy. The only places that do do customization for sure is Subway and Starbucks. There are many other foreigner restaurants that also allow it, you just gotta be polite about it.

Interesting thing: at Subway, I've noticed that Koreans do not customize their sandwiches. They just get everything that normally comes with their sandwich. Two words people: chipotle sauce! Try it. Try it on everything. 

119. Bag drinks. I've talked about how in Korea it is perfectly ok to drink on the streets. How you can go to you local convenience store, buy a beer, and take a seat on their nice street plastic chairs (#4 and #66).

But you can also totally get cocktails! ...in a bag! ...to go! This is not from convenience stores; although you can make soju cocktails. Anyways, party areas such as Hongdae have these types of businesses, so unfortunately it's not everywhere. The best part about them is that they make your cocktail as you want it. They do not hold back if it's not strong enough. Summer drinking has officially begun!


Long island bag cocktail


120. Cassettes. Can you think of the last time you saw a cassette? How about a brand new cassette at a store? I can! It was about three years ago in Pohang when I stepped inside a music store, and there they were. Walls of cassettes just waiting to be bought. Who buys them? Maybe the guy (below) who had a cassette player. You can't see it on the pic, but you can see he is looking at his next tape. Last time I had one of those I was twelve.

Here's a cassette that immediately caught my eye. Blink's 182 Enema of the State. I had never even seen it in cassette form! Crazy.

I have also seen bus drivers with their collections of cassettes next to them within a reachable distance from the wheel. So cute! Awww the good old years of mix tapes...

I'm sure everybody has some cassettes laying around in storage, but does anybody use them? Do music stores still even exist back home? lol

Going back to the beginning of this post, I wanted to briefly say how grateful you should be if you are with your family. Yes, I know it's my choice to be away, but when bad things happen, I do wish I could be with my family. I grew up surrounded by them (immediate and extended), so I always had a support system. In Korea, my friends are my family, but when tragedy strikes, it's hard not to get homesick and cry my heart out because all I want is to hug my mom. 

It's been a pretty crappy week. I lost someone who I thought I still had time to visit soon. Everything was so quick that I don't think I have fully processed it. Writing helps. 

Gracias por haber darnos la familia que tenemos hoy. Ya nos veremos en otro mundo. 

Peace! 

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