Revival

This afternoon, I was half-sleeping on the subway when the older man sitting next to me called out to an old woman selling gum. Sometimes people wander through the subway cars selling gum or some other little item to make money, but I rarely see anyone look up at them, much less buy what they are selling. […]

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Being a Foreigner: Pros and Cons

Being a foreigner in Korea (specifically a half-white American who doesn’t speak much Korean) has its pros and cons. Here are some observations I’ve accumulated over the past six months: CONS: – Getting stared at. When I walk down the street, I can’t tell if people are looking at me because they think I look […]

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Joining a Gym (in Korea)

Last week, I finally joined a gym here in Korea! Best decision ever! I had been telling myself that I didn’t have time to go to the gym, but basically all it took was getting up earlier, and then I found I magically had plenty of time for everything! (Getting to bed early is always […]

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Cultural Observations

It is SO good to be back in Korea!! As soon I ordered a berry smoothie in the Seoul Incheon Airport in Korean and paid for it with my Korean debit card, I knew I was home. Here are some random observations from my trip to Taiwan. Things Taiwan and Korea have in common: Older […]

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Divided Families

Last night, I watched a documentary former Fulbrighters made about Korean families divided by the Korean War. The focus was Korean Americans whose immediate family members are still in North Korea. I was thankful the room was dark, because tears were literally streaming down my face. It got me thinking. I am living far away […]

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Staying in Korea (Indefinitely?)

I am becoming more and more sure that I am going to stay here in Korea. For exactly how long, I have no idea, but at the moment I’m thinking at least another year or two past the end of my Fulbright Grant in June. I may have alluded to this idea in past posts, but I […]

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한국말 (the Korean language)

One of the hardest parts about speaking Korean for me is keeping my level of formality consistent. Yesterday my Korean friend asked me, “Why do you keep using 존댓말 (formal speech)?” I was like, “I can’t help it! I always forget! Why? Did I use it just now?” I didn’t even realize how I had […]

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눈치 (Noonchi)

Last week my aunt asked me if I knew about noonchi and was surprised when I told her I’d never heard of it. She explained that it is anticipating and meeting people’s needs without being told to. She said this ability is very important in Korean culture and that I should start cultivating it. This clears up a misunderstanding I […]

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