Sometimes living in a different country you forget that some of the very odd and different things around you are in fact…odd and different. Here are some more things from around Korea that I first thought were odd and different but now just blend into the background.
Down every road at night it looks like a mini version of Vegas.
When I first moved here and started teaching kindi, they would always say ‘shi shi’ when they had to use the bathroom. As a naive newcomer, I assumed this was the proper way to say ‘bathroom’ (because kindi kids always speak in perfect grammar right?). I went to a restaurant and tried to practice my newly learned Korean phrase on the waitress to ask where the bathroom is. She started giggling and pointed towards the bathroom. I learned later that ‘shi shi’ is the equivalent of saying ‘pee pee’.
This may just be the best thing ever invented. It’s a call button, and it’s placed on every table in most restaurants around here. So instead of a waiter hounding you every few moments if you need something, they only appear if you press this little button and call them. Absolute genius.
This is common hiking gear in Korea. Bright as a rainbow and covering every inch of your body.
No, we don’t feel in danger. But yes, we have talked about the ‘what if’. And don’t worry mom, as much as we joke about stealing a boat and rowing to safety, we have a slightly more secure plan than that.
Outside of a new business you can find several large planters sitting out with ribbons on them. These are bought by the company or friends and partners of the owner to wish the new business good luck.
Not knowing appropriate or more importantly, inappropriate gestures. In the states it’s common to play the game ‘I’ve got your nose’ with little kids. Little did I know that the gesture that we use with our thumb in-between our two fingers is a very vulgar gesture here in Korea. I unfortunately learned this after I had done taught it to every single one of my kindi classes. Sorry parents.