Little things are going to annoy and bother you no matter where you are in the world. Whether in your home country, or travelling, or living abroad. The “honeymoon phase” of culture shock has no doubt worn off since arriving here in Korea over a year ago, and there are definitely some things that grind my gears about living here in Korea.
Let’s take a lighthearted and not-meant-to-be-offensive look, shall we?
1. The Driving
Because sometimes I feel like I might genuinely die. Cab drivers especially, are notorious for speeding through red lights, weaving in and out of lanes at a distance way too close for comfort (with no signal, because that would just be too logical), and just all around driving like they think they are Nascar drivers.
In addition to going uncomfortably fast, they also have difficulty maintaining a steady speed and constantly press on and off the gas pedal. Resulting in me, the passenger, feeling like throwing up every two minutes.
2. The “Aisle Seat Bus Dwellers”
Ok. Bear with me, this takes some explaining. Picture a city bus, with the rows of seats on either side, seating two people; one window seat, one aisle seat. I don’t know what it is, but there is a general trend among the vast majority of public transit riders to only sit in the aisle seat when they are alone. This is fine! However, back home, once the bus starts getting full, this “aisle seat dweller” with usually move to the window seat, so the person standing can sit down in the aisle seat. This is not the case in Korea. Every time this happens to me, I literally have to crawl over them to get a seat. AND THIS ISN’T ME BEING RUDE! This is after the Aisle Dweller and I have made eye contact and they motion to the seat next to them, for me to sit down. Then, once it’s my turn to get off the bus, cue the awkward crawl across their lap again.
I have racked my brain trying to figure this one out. Are these Aisle Seats simply more prestigious than window seats? It does get a little draft next to the window in the winter. Perhaps there isn’t even a reason, but nevertheless, it grinds my gears.
3. The Pressure to Eat
Because sometimes I just don’t feel like eating cake at 9 in the morning. Korean culture is very oriented around sharing food, and them wanting to feed you is simply them showing you they care (so I have been learned, and been told). It is kind of rude to reject food, and as the people pleaser I am, I oblige. The combination of aiming to please, and loving all food but equally loving eating healthy, serves to be a bit problematic, and a source of anxiety for me.
(Sidenote: This may be a double edged sword. I am also extremely thankful for this free food I am being given, and all the new food I have been able to try, because of this).
4. The Lack of Public Garbage Bins
Because sometimes this girl doesn’t feel like carrying around her garbage until she finds a bin to put it in! No wonder the littering here is bad (…but that’s a story for another day).
5. Soap Bars Everywhere
Because when I want to clean my hands, I don’t really want to touch a grimy and slimy soap bar that everyone else has touched. Liquid soap pumps please and thank you!
6. The horrrrking & spitting
And there you have it. 6 things that “grind my gears” about South Korea.
Until next post,