Oh, Korea.

A good many months ago, the following list appeared several times on my Facebook newsfeed. I can’t remember who shared it, and I don’t know who the author is, so I take absolutely no credit for any of it. But I was clearing my inbox and found a message where I forwarded it to my mom, and it made me laugh all over again, so I figured you should get to do the same.

*I must state that the punctuation used is not my own. I believe that there is such a thing as an overuse of ellipsis…

Here’s that list:

When you’ve been in Korea for too long, some things just don’t seem strange anymore…

  • Pedestrians share the sidewalk with automobiles and motorcycles…
  • Restrooms don’t have toilet paper or paper towels…
  • Every child you pass on the street will say ‘hello’ to you…
  • Children love arm hair…
  • Every city bus will have at least 2 teenage boys sitting in each other’s laps and playing with each other’s hair…
  • People think you should board the train first before allowing people to get off…
  • You leave the house almost every day with the hem of your pants soaking wet…
  • Cell phones are meant to always be turned on…
  • People love to know your blood type…
  • Growing a beard ages a guy by 20 years…
  • Kids and non-smokers are invincible to second-hand smoke…
  • Trash can fires are not just for the homeless anymore…
  • You are at risk of being hit by a car the second you walk out of your apartment…
  • There are more oscillating-fan-related deaths than shootings…
  • Other foreigners fascinate you…
  • People think that it is really nice to meet you once again for the 300th time…
  • Most laws are merely suggestions…
  • All food is “delicious” with no exceptions…
  • You never shut your bathroom door for fear of drowning…
  • You only hear Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga’s names twice a week now…
  • The school bell makes you crave ice cream…
  • The apocalypse has not arrived… it’s just some guy selling fish…
  • The naked man is doing unnecessary lunges in front of the mirror in the gym changing rooms…
  • You carry your empty coffee cup for a long time after you finished it…
  • The smell of kimchi, garlic and soju is an aphrodisiac…
  • Every woman under 30 is incredibly good looking…
  • Everyone is fascinated by their own face and like to take lots of pictures of themselves…
  • You need to start making a schedule of your laundry waiting period…
  • Fish and rice belong at any breakfast table…
  • Walking backwards in a circle is a great way to exercise…
  • It makes sense to remove your face mask if you need to sneeze…
  • You can’t find pornography anywhere but there’s at least 5 brothels in every small town…
  • There are only 2 languages ever spoken – Korean and English…
  • Little kids traveling alone on public transit is nothing to be concerned about…
  • Loud construction workers are Korea’s answer to the alarm clock…
  • Any decent men’s tie should sparkle…
  • Animals love to advertise their own consumption….
  • Everyone, including 7 year olds, has a nicer cell phone than you…
  • Even if you are fast asleep on the subway or city bus, you won’t miss your stop…
  • At least once a week you crawl across your apartment floor to get something you forgot after putting your shoes on…

~~~

Did you laugh? Did most of it ring true? Of course, yes!

After reading that, I decided to make my own list, and to ask friends for their input.

Here’s what I/we came up with:

You know you’ve been in Korea too long when:

  • You can pick out a single noodle strand using metal chopsticks.
  • You own only one fork, but several sets of chopsticks.
  • You don’t own a knife, and you cut everything (from noodles to meat) with kitchen scissors.
  • You only lock your apartment door if there are other foreigners around.
  • Guys’ and girls’ cuteness are measured by the same factors: shininess of make-up, quality of perm, coordination of pastel and/or brights in clothing choices. Oh, and of course, heel height.
  • “Hiking” refers to going on a glorified walk wearing designer gear in obnoxiously bright colours.
  • “Hospital” refers to anything from doctor’s consultation rooms to a clinic to that big place where people go for heart surgery.
  • Selfies!
  • You know the tunes of the subway jingle, your washing machine jingle, actually, just about every jingle.
  • Words like “ne”, “aigo”, “chincha”, “ya” and “hul” have replaced their English translations.
  • “ㅋㅋㅋ” (“kkk”) has replaced “hahaha” or “lol”.
  • “^^” has replaced the regular “:)” when typing.
  • You use a “~” where you used to type a “-“.
  • What? Do you mean there are fruits besides apples, bananas, strawberries and oranges?
  • Why yes ~ tomatoes! These are now a very acceptable add-on to fruit salad.
  • When someone speaks to you in Korean, you respond with a convincing “yes” despite having No. Friggin’. Idea. what they’re saying.
  • Dokdo is ours!
  • You bow to everyone, Koreans and fellow foreigners alike.
  • Dinner isn’t dinner without the free vending machine coffee afterwards.
  • It’s OK to not wear shoes inside, but heaven forbid you reveal a shoulder.
  • One of the big considerations when choosing a holiday destination is the whether you’ll be able to shop for clothes and shoes in your size.
  • Before saying “no”, you suck in air through your teeth so as to convey your “regret”.
  • The only consideration when buying shoes is how quickly you can get them on or off.
  • You pronounce your name phonetically, using Hangeul sounds.
  • A latte costs more than a meal, and that’s OK.
  • Every hard copy book you own has a “What The Book” price-tag.
  • You no longer hold your breath in crowded elevators.
  • And last, but not least: you’ve Americanised/globalised/Konglishified your accent to the point where you accidentally use that accent when speaking to friends and family back home – much to their amusement.

I’m sure there’s millions more. In fact, after typing this out, I took to The Googlez to see what I’d be up against. These two posts in particular made me chuckle, and I figured I’d share them, too:

Chris in South Korea

If I had a minute to spare…

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And as always, my disclaimer. Every country has its quirks. I currently live in Korea, so this is where I observe stuff. Etcetera etcetera etcetera…