Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Things I Like About Korea

Here's a list of things I like about Korea, so far. I'll update as good things happen :)

Objective Things I Like About Korea:
1. Squeezy jam (youtube video demonstration of this ingenious product here)

2. Incredibly cheap taxis (I can get across town for $5)

3. Reservable seats in movie theaters

4. Cheap, fast national train system (suck it, Acela)

5. You can get fresh fruit trays as bar food. For the price of one cocktail at a nice place in NYC, you can usually get a giant platter of fresh fruit, beer, and a thing of soju cocktail to share among friends. Going out in Korea is a whole different thing - I imagine it's tougher to meet people, but I'd MUCH rather go out with good friends for some food and drinks than sit with strangers somewhere with overly loud music. I always thought I didn't like going out, but after spending time in England, Greece, and Korea, it turns out that I just don't like going out in the US.

6. Public social affection. Even my high school boys rest their heads on each other or hold hands in class (on the downside - somehow deep-seated homophobia coexists with this uber-homosocial behavior)

7. Kimchi. Yep, I've been converted!

8. Absurdly cheap food. My go-to Korean dish sundubu jigae, a spicy seafood & tofu soup, is rarely more than 4500 won (and no tipping in Korea!). For comparison, after paying for the required stuff (lunch in the school cafeteria, bus/subway fare for my commute, and the cell phone that the State Dept requires us to have), I make about 1.5 million won per month.

9. Actual commitment to recycling. My habits have changed just from being here - my homestay doesn't even have a trashcan, anywhere in the apartment (kitchen, bathroom - nowhere)

10. High speed internet. Not so much yet on wireless, but personal homes and offices all have high speed cable lines.

Personal Things I Like About Korea:
11. The other Fulbright fellows. I pretty much like everybody.

12. My host family, especially my host siblings. My sister's English is fantastic, and we hang out an play madlibs a few times a week. I love helping her with her English homework. My host brother is so, so funny, so enthusiastic, and so bold. He's a riot, and he's happy all the time.

13. My host mom does my laundry. Even after I said I would do it.

14. My students. Classes 1-2, 1-3, and 2-3 make me smile, all the time. They're funny and talented and sweet, and I'm gonna miss 2-3 a lot after most of them leave for university in December. Considering I teach 6 classes, that's a pretty good batting average!

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