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Monday, October 20, 2014

Reflections: Month 14

Happy Monday Y'all. 

I hope you had a wonderful weekend. 

Last week, I hit my 14th month anniversary of living in Korea. We are down to only having 7 months left in the country. Time is flying by. It's exciting to be moving on to the next stage of our lives, but it's also sad to be on the downward side of our expat adventure. 

Throughout the last month, I've been thinking about my time in Korea and all the many ways I've changed since moving here. When you move to a new place, whether it's across the country or across the world, it's natural that some habits and ways of your life are going to change. And it's natural that you hold onto some things from your old life. This is kinda what I've been thinking about the last couple of weeks- and here is what I've come up with.

Things That Have Changed: 

1. Shoes off in the house- this actually changed when I moved to Hawaii back in 2007, but the habit continues here in Korea. When I see people wearing their shoes inside- it drives me crazy! I watch TV shows and I'm like "who wears their shoes on their bed!" I know this habit is going to stick with me back in the states.

2. Squatty Potties- While there are tons of Western toilets here in Korea- there are also many Squatty potties. Most public bathrooms have both set up. So if you're in line you just go to which one opens up first. I used to be scared about using them, but now it's no big deal. I'm really glad I got used to them because in Mongolia- we were lucky if we had a squatty potty while out on the road. It was usually just a nice hole in the ground and good luck.

3. Tissues- Speaking of potties. Let's talk tissue aka toilet paper. Since moving to Korea, I've started carry travel toilet paper with me. Most places around Seoul have toilet paper, but I've run into plenty of places that are BYOT. I've learned that it's better to be prepared then not. So tissues are always in my purse- wherever we go.

4. Style- I have gotten so used to the way Koreans dress. I actually love it. I haven't going shopping too much here, but I know it's in our future. I love the baggy sweaters. And the legging skirt thing that's going around. I love the mixed patterns.
{In fact, I tried the mixed pattern thing, but I just looked like a hobo... unfortunately this was the day for school pictures for the website... so Awesome!}
I love the weird Konglish on the shirts. And I love couple outfits. When I see pictures of people back in the states- I'm like 'wait- this is what people are wearing....' So mixed patterns and baggy Konglish aren't in fashion?!? I'm so confused.

5. Seeing other Westerners- Whenever I see another foreigner, I stare. It's like whoa- what are you doing here. I've actually realized that I hate being around other foreigners. I hate being able to understand their conversations. I don't really like hearing English- which is weird I know- but there it is. I much rather hear a bunch of Koreans talking. Koreans are loud, but for some reason foreigners seem louder- maybe it's because I can understand them. {Sorry if that sounded rude.}

6. 'Foreigner'- I use the term foreigner. I used to use Expat. Expat is much more glamourous, but Koreans say foreigner- so I say foreigner. This is how I describe myself, which I think is so bizarre, but that's what happens with changes.

7. Chopsticks- I can't believe I went 25 years without knowing how to use chopsticks. In my defense, until moving to Hawaii, there was really no need. And even then- I never ate Asian food. So really I just needed it here in Korea, and once here I learned within a couple of weeks. Now I see people using a fork to eat Ramen, and I'm like ummm- that's not how you eat that. :) I'm so judgy.

8. Palate- The foods that I am willing to eat has increased by a lot. I used to be such a picky eater, but I've gotten a lot better. I love sushi, esp. sashimi. I constantly crave wasbi. I've eaten octopus and loved it (if prepared right). I've eaten kimchi- which I'm not a huge fan of, but I love kimchi pancakes. Since being married to Matt my food range just keeps expanding and expanding. Which I love because it's so much easier for us to eat together. I still love my simple turkey sandwiches (that are hard to find here), but I also love Asian food a lot more. Give me some Pho, or a nice Korean stew and I'm set.

Things That Haven't Changed:

1. Metric System- Still don't use it. I convert every km into miles. Every kg into pounds. It's all just easier for me to think in miles and pounds.

2. Currency- I convert everything back to USD. Because the Won and Dollar are so close- this is pretty easy. But I always use Dollar- which is weird because we get paid in Won. I don't know why- but I can't seem to kick the Dollar habit. Although- I do much prefer the currency in Korea. I love that each bill is a different size and color. And I love that the change is much more useful. Whenever I hold USD- I get a bit confused because all the bills are the same!

3. Potatoes- I am still a potato person, and I think I always will be. Korean rice is delicious- in fact, I think it's the best in Asia (and I've had my share of rice). However, when I am at my home- I want potatoes.

I think change is a part of the expat life, and that's how it should be. You grow while living in a new place. You should adopt new ways and take them back with you. At least, that's my thought on the matter.

In what ways have you changed? 


  1. I like how the Koreans dress too. I need longer shirts for all my leggings, or find some of those skirts they put on! And I stare at foreigners too ;) At least when I'm somewhere where I don't expect them!

    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one! I want to go shopping so bad!

  2. I think it's neat how we grasp a new culture and incorporate it into our lives as well as retaining some of our own culture. Makes us unique. ;)
    So where are you headed next after 7 months?

    1. I think it's great as well. I love that we are mixing different cultures into our family. We are applying to a few grad schools back in the states, so for the next 2 years that's what we'll be doing. And then hopefully we can head back overseas!

  3. I still convert most of the metric system as well although I am getting better with at least the km and miles. Currency just makes more sense to me when I convert it to USD. I think it is interesting as well how strange it feels hearing English around me instead of Icelandic, always sounds a bit too loud but that is probably because I can understand everything they are saying.

  4. Haha I always and everywhere have tissues, especially when I go out, no matter which countries, there is just nothing worse than no toilet paper, right?^^


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- Alex