Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I Like Korea: Reason 1

I know I write a lot about my tribulations at the workplace and so I worry that my blog casts off a negative impression about life in Korea. Therefore, I want to present posts called "I Like Korea" to counteract the negative experiences I have here. I feel there are many occurrences that I forget to mention that would help other people see that Korea is a fun and enriching place.

I would just cover this in one post with a list of the reasons why I like Korea, but I felt it would be more significant to examine each one with singular posts.

Random Acts of Kindness:
Many might feel that Korean folks, out in public, are cold people who keep to themselves. Sure when you walk into a building the person in front of you typically doesn't hold the door for you. But it's their way, right?

What I am talking about here is the random gestures of kindness that I receive from complete strangers out in public.
  1. "You're beautiful!":  I don't mean to brag here, but there are times when random individuals near me look me in the eyes and say "You're beautiful" or "Oh, so beautiful!". I take it on the account that I have blue eyes and curly hair and this strikes them as different. Last week, when I was exiting the subway station making my way up the escalator such event occured. An older gentleman got on before me and I could tell he was looking my way. Eventually he leaned over and asked me where I was from, and then finished the conversation with the beautiful line. Although a little awkward it did boost my morale and make me feel better about my self-appearance. (I have gained some weight this lovely winter). 
  2. Old Ladies Giving me Candy: I can recall on numerous occasions sitting next to old ladies who handed me some candy. One time it was traditional type candy that is handmade. In these situations I can't help but not eat what is given to me, even if the candy happens to be ginseng. At first I didn't really understand this kind gesture, and found it unnecessary.  But after all it really warmed my heart and helped feel a part of Korean culture.
  3. Service: Perhaps in any country if you smile and are polite you can get a little something extra when ordering food. There are times when I am ordering food somewhere and try my best to do it in Korean, and end up getting an extra leg of chicken or something on top of my order. Korean folks like to call this "service", when you get something extra at a meal. It goes without saying that it isn't just something exchanged between Koreans and foreigners. This kindness I feel is a good token of Korea and shows them as fairly generous. 
I think that is a good list of the random acts of kindness that I experience here. I am sure there are more memories of sweet gestures from Korean folks but those written above are the major ones.

All right, well I hope you are enjoying your Tuesday. ~


  1. Hi Joy!

    I love this post!

    My first random act of Korean kindness was on the plane out here... the man next to me talked to me for ages about Korea, explainned to me how to eat bibimbap, and then helped me when I was generally dazed and confused at Incheon airport.

    The next time was some guy who helped translate something for me in a store and then insisted upon giving me a ride home with all my shopping.

    And my 6,000 won hairdresser is so lovely. I pay 6,000 won per appointment, but leave with sweet potato by the kilo!

  2. There have been a few times when on the subways that people have offered to let me sit down... when i first got here i had hurt my leg and had this major bruise take over my leg even though the spot was small... and this older lady asked me to sit down next to her cause she thought my leg hurt. i thought it was sweet! also, when they just tap me to move out of the way instead of push (it's seriously never happened to me so far)... that's always so sweet! ^^

  3. I love this idea! I do a lot of complaining about the workplace, too, and even though I take to heart and remember the good moments, it seems I do less talking about them to others. I might steal your idea.

  4. Stephanie ~ What blog do you have? When I click on your name it says I am blocked from looking.

  5. I think entries like this will not only help your readers see Korea in a brighter light but also help you remember why you are still there. When you notice the positives around you it makes the negatives dim a little bit.

  6. Nice idea...
    What Korean customs are you adopting in your behavior?
    That would be a nice addition to this post idea too.

    I think the man on the escalator was hitting on you... In general around the world...older men really like younger women!


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