Friday, December 19, 2008

You know you've been in Korea too long when.....

Some people wonder why I don't walk around with headphones in my ears all the time like everyone else in the world. It's mostly because the thoughts in my head can entertain me much better than music can. I'm not sure if anyone else would be so amused by these thoughts, but that ok with me. Today I started thinking to myself of all the little things that have become normal to me here, and thought I should make a list. Maybe this is way overdone, but it's still fun for me. So here is my list.

You know you've been in Korea too long when:

1) You can rate restaurants by how good their kim chi is.

2) You, too, stare at the foreigners.

3) Cheese ramyon (pronounced chizuh)is a meal to you. It goes by many names: Lunch, Dinner, comfort food, hang over food and food to eat when you're sick (clears those sinuses right out).

4) The thought of going back to the states and having to eat Top Ramen again is slightly depressing. Mostly because there is no spice.

5) You think eating cake with chopsticks is normal.

6) You think eating rice with chopsticks is slightly awkward.

7) The thought of paying tips again when you go home depresses you.

8) You check the exchange rate every day.

9) You're accustomed to speaking to people in one word sentences. Then when someone replies back in near perfect English, you feel like a dumbass.

10) You can't make a complete sentence in Korean, but you know every swear in the book. You may or may not shout them out loud on the street and watch the reactions you get from ajossis.

11) You are healthy about as often as you are sick at home.

12) When you use wooden chopsticks they feel abnormally light to you.

13) You add Uh or Ee to the end of words when you talk to people in the hopes they will understand you better. It works about 50% of the time.

14) You don't look up movie times or even what is playing in the theaters. You show up and watch whatever is playing in your language. Then you realize that A) 90% of what comes out of Hollywood is crap and B) This is why you didn't go to the movie theater once a week at home.

15) You've realized that octopus is unappetizing, not because of the taste, but just because of the fact that it is octopus. It really doesn't have much taste on it's own, and if cooked right isn't even that chewy. Remember to embrace the octopus.

16) You are glad you don't have a car.

17) You are an expert at dodging motorcycles on the sidewalks.

18) When you bump into people by accident, you fight the urge to apologize. You realize that, no matter what language you say sorry in, you're going to be looked at strangely.

19) You proudly drink your beer in chairs outside the Family Mart and wish public drinking was acceptable in the US...

20) ... Until you have had the misfortune of meeting up with too many soju drunk ajossis. Then you start hating drinking culture in Korea and wish you had found a country where alcoholism wasn't mandatory for men over 30.

21) You're willing to strip down naked and bathe with others of the same sex. Jjimjilbang is amazing.

22) You forget that at home you couldn't stick out your hand and get a taxi in 30 seconds.

23) You also forget that at home you needed something called a designated driver. No, not because you're driving home drunk here, but because who has a car to drive anyway??

24) You go to the doctor for whatever small malady that afflicts you. And the doctor's visit + the AIDS cocktail of drugs they prescribe you for your cold costs less than a bottle of aspirin at home.

25) You've started to forget how to cook because eating out is so cheap.

26) One of your top goals in learning Korean is to master calling for delivery. (It's actually a really good goal to set for yourself. Not only does it give you a skill, but it means you have some serious Korean skills if you can understand that phone conversation with a stranger). You may or may not have a pile of take out menus that you've collected from your apartment door, waiting for that miraculous day to arrive.

27) You've forgotten the actual definition of the word "service".

28) You can almost half the price of whatever you're buying in Dongdaemun.

29) Your ability to speak in complete, coherent sentences has gone way down.

30) You have a love/ hate relationship with Itaewon. It's sleazy, grimy, and not Korean at all. Yet... it's the only place you truly fit in.

I may add more later, but I think this is enough for now. Please, feel free to comment and add your own or comment on these.

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