It has been a couple of months since my last culture post. I’ve been collecting a list of things to write about.
Golf is very popular here. There is a huge golf course on Camp Walker and I have seen Koreans golfing every time I am on post. It doesn’t matter if it is ridiculously hot or raining, they are still there. Our apartment has a gym with dedicated space for a golf simulator. There are several golf simulators on our bus ride from post to our apartment. I have yet to see a miniature golf course however.
Umbrellas are also popular. My family and I walk around in rain jackets. But I have yet to see a Korean wear a rain jacket. They use an umbrella. Also, on a hot or sunny day they use umbrellas to keep cool. Koreans often want to share their umbrellas with Clarissa. On one occasion, it was raining and three different Koreans held their umbrellas over us so we did not get wet while we walked from the bus to the chapel (about a fifteen minute walk). Older ladies usually hold an umbrella over Clarissa while we wait for the bus on a hot day.
Another thing that I have noticed is that the delivery man or repair man comes on time in Korea! They either give you a specific time or an hour range. Thus far, all deliveries and repairs have arrived on time or fifteen minutes early.
If you buy a large item, like a television for example, the stores do not carry inventory in the store. So you go to the Samsung store, pick the item you want, and then schedule the delivery for later that day or the next day. When the delivery man comes, he hooks up your item for you and takes the box away.
The television schedule is interesting. We have over 200 channels, some of which are English channels. You can pretty much watch CSI 24 hours a day in Korea. There are a few kid channels that Clarissa likes, which is how we were introduced to her latest obsession, Tayo. It is hard to figure out the television schedule (mostly because I can’t find anything online in English). When you go to a channel, it tells you the time that the show is on the air. It is not usually 7:00-7:30. Often it is something like 7:12-7:34 and then there are ten minutes of commercials and the next show might come on from 7:50-8:36.
If you go to Emart or Home Plus (which remind me of Walmart and Target), you have to pay 100 won (about 10 cents) to unlock your shopping cart. When you finish shopping, you return the cart and your coin is returned to you. If you don’t bring your own bags to bring your items home, you have to pay for the plastic bags (about 20 cents each). Emart also has a locker area to store bags and other items. They have specific lockers for pets! A few times, we have seen dogs waiting in a locker for their owner to shop. Emart also has a room for mothers to nurse and change their babies.
Almost every dog we have seen so far in Korea is small. We have seen dogs riding in bike baskets or being held while their owner goes for a walk. The only exception is an American friend who has a large dog.
Even though Korean kids start school in September, they go to school through the end of July. The difference is that they get a month off for Christmas and Spring Break so they only get a month off for Summer. I think I might like that schedule better because you get more breaks in between. It might prevent burnout?