Random Things about Korea

I'll post about Thursday's events later when I've got a clearer head (and when Brian isn't hogging the laptop with all the pictures), but for now I wanted to make a list of random things about Korea. I know I'm giving probably a ton more details than any of you wanted to read, but it will help me remember what Korea is like in years to come.

Okay, some random things about Korea.

Everyone either speed walks or just plain runs. There is no such thing as a leisurely walk. We feel like old people with everyone passing us all the time. It's no wonder that they're all so trim. I have seen very few people, young or old, who looked out of shape.

The smell. Oh, the smell.
Korea definitely has a unique smell that I don't really know how to describe. Part of it is just cultural, I think, and isn't too bad. I'm sure it has to do with the different spices they use for cooking. But there are also times when the smell just smacks you in the face, and it is HORRIBLE. And I'm sure that smell has to do with all the sea food. In fact, our room is quite fragrant right now since Brian insisted on Korean take-out for supper (I stuck with a Quiznos sandwich).

Everyone is dressed up here. With the exception of maybe a percentage of college-age students, everyone looks great. I'm talking suits and really nice overcoats for the men and business suits for the women.

Along with being dressed up, the women are wearing high heels, boots, or in a few instances Converse tennis shoes. Mostly heels and boots, though. I have no idea how their poor feet survive. We have noticed alot of little tent-like shops along the sidewalks that have piles and piles of shoes. I think they must be repairing them. And if they're doing as much walking as we've done in the last two days, their shoes will need to be repaired often! Even the workers in Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts were dressed up. The women had on business suits, and the men had on dress shirts and ties. The skirts tend to be pretty skimpy! Lots of colored and textured tights to be seen.

Oh, and Dunkin' Donuts? They are all over the place, and they are quite upscale. Nothing like what you would find in the states. They definitely take donuts to a whole new level.

There are no public trashcans (or restrooms that we can find except in the subway). Seriously, no trashcans anywhere! Say you've got a Starbucks mocha or a gum wrapper and you just want to throw them away - you're out of luck! Just carry it with you.

And speaking of Starbucks, they are EVERYWHERE and everyone is drinking it. Coffee must be a big thing here because there are many varieties of very nice coffee shops. You really can find either a Starbucks or Coffee Bean or some other shop on every corner. They seem to be quite a bit larger than the the Starbucks in Nashville (no idea how they compare to other cities) and are very quiet and relaxing. We've visited several!

Once again, I have nothing to compare it to, but the subway system is absolutely amazing. I cannot believe how extensive it is. And once you've got it figured out, pretty easy to navigate. We have been all over the place and with the exception of getting off one stop too early (which was remedied by an extra long walk) and heading the wrong way one time, we have not been lost at all.

Koreans are very business-like. They do not make eye contact with us, and there are certainly not many smiles going around. They seem to ignore everyone around them. I'm wondering if this just has to do with being in the public because the people at the agency that we have met have been very personable. In public, however, not so!

There are alot of electronic gadgets around here. I've never seen so many cell phones, ipods, and other devices that I'm not sure of. We've noticed that almost everyone on the subway is either watching TV/movie on their phones or little screens, listening to music, or playing games. They all have headphones on. If I were more electronically savvy, I could tell you what they are, but I don't have a clue.

I think Seoul alone might be responsible for keeping all the Tennessee tobacco farmers in business. I cannot believe how many smokers there are - much more than the U.S. And they seem to be mostly men. I've seen some women, but the overwhelming percentage of them are men.

They do not believe in personal space. When walking down the street or waiting for the subway, they just push their way right on through. They seem to have no qualms about invading your space, you should just get out of the way! Even when you're standing in line for tickets, to order food, etc., if you're not already speaking and ordering, they jump right in front of you. And don't even get me started on how this affects you on a busy subway!!

I think I've given you more than you could possibly want to know about Korea for now. Here are a few more pictures of Rory taken in December by the foster family.



Comments

Amanda said…
Love all the pictures and just watched the video. WOW! Very diffrent from Nashville. What a wonderful experience for you guys. I also enjoyed reading all the neat facts about Korea. Thanks for sharing. It is so fun seeing all your trip.
Chris said…
oh, it's all so TRUE!!!! Your post brings back so many memories of Korea. The first time we were there I remember just thinking over and over, "So this is what Nathan has known all his life." It is just mind-blowing. Loved your video of Insa-Dong-- I would LOVE to be wandering those li
You captured Korea perfectly! I am enjoying reading your blog, Rory is so very beautiful! Sorry you didn't find those restaurants, maybe "10 minute walk" wasn't quite right. LOL Must have lost track of time.

One more day, and she'll be in your arms forever! :)
M :-) said…
Everything you said is everything that I have written down about Korea. It's all SO true! I remember emailing Jill and asking her how in the world the women survived walking in heels. We are 29 & 31, and I felt like we were 103 by the end of each day. LOL!
I LOVE all your details!!! Your blog is awesome, it's preparing us for our journey!!!! Thanks for letting us come along!!!!

Chelle
(Holt BB)
thorvet said…
I came across your blog today! Congratulations on your adoption of Rory! She's beautiful.

I also have a Korean son although he was born in California. He was a domestic adoption. Our daughter was born in China and has been home 3 years in March. Your description of Korea is very much what we experienced in China. Your children are just beautiful! Congratulations again.

Teresa
thorvet@hotmail.com
The Edgmon Gang said…
I love hearing all the details about your trip. Loved seeing the video of you guys getting out. I am so glad you were able to go there this time. The pictures of Rory are great. I love that they took so many and are giving them to you. Lots of scrapping!! One more day until Rory is with you forever!! Can't wait until Saturday evening.
Wendy said…
Am truly enjoying all of the details about Korea! Makes me want to go so very much! Both of our boys were escorted, so we have never been. Would love to take the kids.
Kaitlynsmama said…
Melissa,
Wonderful postings and pictures; reminds me of being there and how much I miss Korea.
Yoido Full Gospel Church is the Big one and it is on Yoido Island...WONDERFUL church!!
Blessings and prayers for you and your family.
Tamm
Helena said…
Maybe someday you can go back and visit some of the differently-smelling parts of the country!

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