Korean culture (part 2)

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One of Tim’s coworkers gave him a book this week that used to be part of orientation.

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It is interesting. Half of the book talks about things Koreans do that would seem rude to Americans. The second half of the book discusses things that Americans do that would be offensive to Koreans. I wonder why they stopped using this as part of orientation?

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As we settle in to normal life in Daegu, I have noticed a few interesting differences.

I think that if you asked Clarissa if she liked Korea, she would probably tell you that she loves it because she gets candy everywhere she goes. She had hiccups on the bus one day and the elderly lady sitting in front of us gave her some hard candy to suck on. Twice this week, women took her picture and then rewarded her with tootsie pops. While we were in the Samsung store, an associate gave her a lollipop.

Clarissa and I spend a lot of time looking out the window. There is a busy intersection in front of our apartment building so we see a lot of cars go by. For the most part, Korean cars are black, white, or silver. It is rare to see a different color unless it is a bus.

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Renting is also different (not that I have much experience in the United States, but what I think about renting is different). For example, we will probably never meet our landlord. They own our apartment and pay our utilities. But we only interact with our realtor. She showed us all of the apartments. If we have a question or concern, we call her. We give her the rent money. She also “signed” the papers at the housing office. I say signed loosely because Koreans do not sign with a signature. They have a stamp with their symbol on it. The ink looks red.

Also, in getting to know our realtor, she said her son was ten, but in America we would say he is nine. Children are considered one on the day they are born. So when a Korean asks how old Clarissa is, I say two. On base, I tell Americans nineteen months though.

Another interesting thing is that they don’t really sell baby monitors in South Korea. We looked at the baby specialty store and emart. We asked and they didn’t carry them. We didn’t bring our monitor from home because the voltage is different so it would not work without a transformer. So we had to order one online from Europe and have it shipped to us. I don’t know the real reason it was so difficult to find a monitor. I have a theory, but it may be completely wrong.

There are two types of apartments in Korea. One is residential and the other business style. The residential apartments are traditional Korean apartments. They only have air conditioning in the master bedroom. They do have windows and balconies to keep the house cool. The business style apartments are larger and more expensive. They have more western conveniences like a bathtub and more air conditioning units in the apartment.

My theory is that most of the young families live in the residential style apartments. If the master bedroom is the only room with air conditioning, maybe most of the family sleeps in that room together. You don’t need a monitor if your baby is in your room.

I think I need to do another post on the things in my apartment that you would not find in the United States.

3 thoughts on “Korean culture (part 2)

  1. John

    We didn’t have a baby monitor when you were young. Doors could be left partially open, however, loud, healthy lungs prevailed. (Even though we used a white noise machine.)

    • suzfaust

      With our new house, her room seems so far away. The living room is between our bedroom and hers. I sleep with earplugs. I don’t know if I would hear her or not… I know Tim will most likely not.

  2. Marianne Sharkey

    Love the post. I agree with you …The book should be part of the orientation I would find it very helpful and welcomed.

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