My days are slowly coming to an end in Korea. I’ve tried to compile a few ‘transformations’ I’ve noticed in myself or others after living in Korea for quite some time. So, I give you…
“You know Korea is your home when…”
– Western fusion food tastes good.
– you don’t notice the fellow wagooken passing by.
– you own any of the following clothing items: a sparkly tie, mittens with the faces of animals on them, a big puffy winter jacket, a winter hat in the shape of an animal head, or a t-shirt with English that makes no sense whatsoever.
– you feel awkward not holding up the “V” in pictures.
– you can win a shoving fight with an ajumma on the subway.
– you don’t worry about the 8 year old kid walking by himself down the street at 10:00pm.
– you drink hot coffee through a stirrer straw.
– the ajusshi smell is more comforting than is repulsing.
– when talking to family at home, you refer to your fellow American friends as foreigners.
– you feel comfortable striping down to your birthday suit at the public bath.
– you wonder what the big deal about Itaewon is anyway.
– you keep a toothbrush at your desk at school/work and change into slippers when teaching class.
– you have cravings for kimchi.
– you curse (or cheer) in Korean rather than English. FIGHTING!
– photos of cows and pigs hung in the windows of restaurants don’t keep you from eating there.
– you know more about Korean geography than your Korean co-workers.
– you’ve memorized all the jingles to Korean commercials.
– you can calculate down to the minute how long a trip a trip on the subway will be.
– you don’t even notice that the fish you ordered came still has its head.
– you find yourself bowing to other foreigners.
– you are comfortable using a squatty potty.
– you wear a mini skirt in freezing temperatures.
– you eat ramen in your apartment with chopsticks.
– popping open a cold one and relaxing in the plastic chairs at the local 7-11 is a perfect afternoon
– you prefer a certain brand of soju.
– walking over vomit patties on the streets doesn’t make you gag.
– your idea of a cure for a sickness is drinking hot water or lemon tea.
– you remember to throw away any trash inside, because there’s no way you’ll find a trash can outdoors.
– you don’t feel the need to make monthly trips to the foreign food stores and can’t remember the last time you went to McDonalds.
– you prefer to sleep on a heated floor than a bed.
– you’re okay with the corn on your pizza.
– you and your significant other wear matching sweatshirts, or hats, or… underwear.
– you play more Korean drinking games than Western ones.
– you know better than to write a student’s name on the board with a red marker.
– you consistently win when playing games of Hwatu with friends.
– you’ve successfully helped out an old Korean lady with finding the right bus to take.
– you find yourself pronouncing English words with an “-uh” or “-ee” attached to the end.
– Hite and Cass beers don’t taste so bad after all.
– you can comprehend even the most broken English with ease.
– you look both ways before crossing the sidewalk.
– you’ve played chicken with cars, trucks, and motorcycles.. as a pedestrian.. and have lost.
– loudspeakers on trucks advertising fruit sales or promoting a political candidate are just background noise.
– you know that double barber poles are not a place to get your hair cut.
– you see a foreigner and suddenly are more aware to protect your belongings.
– high heels are acceptable hiking or ice fishing gear.
– you buy a pair of scissors to cut meat at home, as using a knife just feels awkward.
– kindergartners owning cell phones is not strange.
– you no longer curse at the cars driving down the sidewalks.
– you know the names of animated characters and own socks displaying their faces.
– you can sing along with K-pop hits but know nothing of what’s on the radio back home.
– you update your cell phone charm on a monthly basis.
– you use an umbrella in the rain, the snow, and the sun.
– you consider the vibrating belt at the gym a sufficient way to lose weight.
– you’ve not only tried, but bought BB cream, and have added sunscreen as part of your daily skin care.
– you don’t do a double take when you see the construction man- who is actually a dummy that quite resembles a lego guy- signaling cars to slow down.
– you’re on a first name basis with the lady at Kimbap Chungguk.
– you are clueless to any references to pop culture your friends back home make on their Facebook statuses.
– you incorperate Korean terms of endearment such as “unni” and “oppa” into your conversations with friends.
– you don’t mind the guy next to you on the subway sleeping on your shoulder.
– you cheer for the Korean team before your own country’s during the Olympics and World Cup.
– you feel homesick when you go on a trip or return to your own country and can’t wait to get back Korea: home, sweet, home.
Feel free to add more!