Sunday, August 8, 2010


Alright, so I've failed. Miserably. The more comfortable we get in Korea the less odd things seem. It feels weird to write about what I ate for dinner when it has become more of a norm than Western food. Korea feels normal to us now. We don't find things nearly as odd as we did when we first came. I have to keep reminding myself that these things are not normal. These pieces of our everyday lives are not what we are used to and will not be there when we go home. These are the things that I should be writing home about.

As summer goes, we have been extremely busy. With added summer classes... travel plans... and my picture pile going into the several thousands... it has been easier to ignore my blog and keep on with the adventure. Well that stops now. I am going to do it. I am going to update you on our lives in the couple of months that I have failed to report. I will be dedicating this week to several updates. Starting now... with a list of things that we have found completely and utterly normal in the last year... that I need to keep reminding myself are not normal to me.

Public bathrooms are hard to find, which is hard to believe considering the high-rises are every two inches. When you do find a bathroom, there is no guarantee of the cleanliness of the bathroom. It is not entirely shocking if the bathroom has no sink, but rather a hose coming out of the wall. Female urinals are highly common and toilet paper is not. If you are very lucky there will be one roll of toilet paper at the entrance for the whole bathroom. So if you go to the stall and forget toilet paper... you will have to drip-dry. Most public bathrooms, however, don't supply toilet paper. I always carry some in my purse with me for this reason. If you eat at a restaurant in the same building as the public toilet, you can usually get some toilet paper at the door of the restaurant on your way to the toilet. This can be embarrassing if you have a Number Two coming and now the whole restaurant just saw you mummy-hands the TP. 

There are no gender-biased colors. Even older men and grandpas will wear hot pink shirts with rainbow umbrellas and a glittery cellphone, and no one turns their heads.

Koreans do not use a top sheet. All sheet packs only include a fitted sheet for the mattress.

Popsicles and ice cream bars are sold individually, rather than in boxes. Prices range from $0.30-$0.70 per ice cream treat.

Corn can be found in nearly every food. Corn is in sandwiches, coleslaws, side dishes, and even on cheese pizza.

Fresh produce from grocery stores is not cleaned prior to purchase. The first time I was shopping for carrots, I found a pile of muddy looking orange things and had to take a closer look to realize they were carrots still covered in mud. Apples are also not polished and are individually saran wrapped.

Service is awesome. If you are at a restaurant and you are being a good customer (ordering a lot of food or booze) they will bring you "service" which is basically just free stuff. Sometimes we get our soda for free, or extra vegetables for free. Nights out drinking we have been given appetizers for free. As they bring you your free item, they set it on the table and say "service".

There are also service items in grocery stores. Things are taped to products. For example, on a box of cereal there may be cereal bowls taped to a box. We have bought cereal boxes with a wide variety of free items attached including, but not limited to: cereal bowls, spoons, cereal fresh bag sealers, coffee, highlighters, crayons, garment bags, a Smirnoff hat, and a fleece blanket. In fact we usually don't buy cereal anymore unless there is some free crap taped to it.

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