I ended up going for my medical and physical exam today. I was supposed to go yesterday, but no-one told me I couldn't eat from 9pm the day before. I did. Therefore - I ended up having to go today. Anyway, it would seem nothing could go smoothly for me at this physical so inevitably hilarity ensued. It was both horrifying and humiliating. I will save you the gory details. But the punchline is ... today I carried around a jar of wee in my pocket. For the whole day. It's okay because it was mine.
And at least it didn't leak.
Today, 11/11, was Pepero. I hadn't heard of it. And neither have you I'm sure. Basically the big corporate chocolate company here in Korea made up another Valentines type day where you give chocolate to your loved ones. The kids love it. I do too because of this!
From the moment I arrived at school this morning I had little chiddles shoving chocolate into my arms shouting "Pepero, Pepero!" I couldn't eat it of course because I had my physical, but I hoed in after BECAUSE I EARNED IT!!!!! I'm saving these others for later.
Instead of the ultra-embarrassing story of my medical exam here's eleven fun facts/observations I have learned/made in Korea so far. Enjoy!
(1) In Korea they drive on the right hand side of the road. I remember when I was a kid and I went to the States, after two months I still wasn't used to it. I would look out the windscreen and gasp or clutch the seat. Strangely I am at peace with it here (although there is NO WAY I would drive!). I put it down to GTA. I think it really has made me used to being on the right. What this does mean, on top of a lot of things I really have to concentrate when crossing the street.
(2) There is very, very little written in the Roman alphabet. Everything is written in Hangeul(Korean alphabet). The road signs have a bit, but not always. I hadn't thought of this so I am learning to read Hangeul much faster than I had anticipated!
(3) I'm not completely clear on it but the Korean government changed their alphabet and unified it to correspond more with the Roman alphabet in 2000. Basically what this means is now there are two ways of spelling everything as many people seem reluctant to change. Something like that. For example Bucheon would be written Buchun by the locals (they pronounce it Poo-chun). But it is written Bucheon on all the (government) road signs. Of course stupid westerners like me now pronounce it Boo-chee-on which is all wrong.
(4) G and K sounds seem indistinguishable to Koreans. Also L and R, and P and B. I often can't tell if Koreans are saying N or M but that's me not being able to distinguish.
(5) Don't get me wrong. I'm LOVING the food here. But it's tricky to find food that isn't sweet. Bread and even chips seem to have quite a bit of sugar in them. All the sauces I've tried are sweet. I haven't tasted many chips but they've all been sweet. I had a cracker yesterday- braced myself for the sweetness. Mmmmmm it was salty and good. So happy!
(6) Koreans seem to love tv shows which have people doing stupid things and then they put sound effects and graphics over the top. While I would have thought it would be hard to fill a half hour slot with this kind of thing, these shows go for at least an hour. An hour of guys wearing vibrant womens leotards doing Jazzasize. Poorly. With "whoops", "prrrrts", "dings", "wah wuhs", and colourful Korean words and cartoon/photo images popping up over the top (It's better than Lipstick Jungle/Idol/Grey's Anatomy though!).
(7) (Paranoid sounding entry) For every person in the street who stares at me, I'm sure there's a handful who walk past without even a glance. I'm not saying I don't stand out (I've seen one other western person since Friday), it's just not as bad as I'd thought it'd be. But I'm not saying there hasn't been some staring!
(8) Pedestrian crossings have two lanes of "traffic" with arrows telling you what side you're supposed to be on.
(9) I'm not as cold as I thought I'd be. It was 2 degrees celsius outside this morning (average temperature Nov. 6.9, Dec. 0.2, Jan. -2.5, Feb. -0.3) but my apartment is very warm and I wouldn't know it was cold out. I don't have the heating on (I think - I can't read the controls). I wonder if it'll be a different story in January...?!
(10) So much is different for me here but at least they are on the metric system!
(11) The Korean for yes is "Ne" (sounds like neh) This means every time someone says yes to me I initially think they have said no. If you say "thank you" to someone in Korean quite often they will answer yes. "Neh."
Larry - "Thank you Jim."
Jim- "Yes. Yes you are thankful."
Just to prove I am actually in Korea. Here is me with a Korean man. Oh yea! That's my birthday cake!
My first ever bunch of flowers!
"Me so solly. Does my smoking offend you?" Heh heh - goin to hell...
Scary-assest shop mannequin ever.
WHUUUH?!!! WHAT?!!! Where is this exactly?! OMFG MUST GO!!!!
I just thought this was cute. In a textbook at school.