Are we all the same? No, and thank god for that. Can you imagine if we were all assholes? This world would be even worse off than it is now. You can’t help but wonder if the good people are just going to fade into obscurity one day. I feel that way whenever I see the comment section under a feminist post. People just have a lot of hate that they’re not finding an outlet for. Before this post goes completely on its head, there are certain factors that separate us from one another. Namely, what we deem to be rude and what is acceptable. It kind of makes society function, if we didn’t have these unwritten rules, we’d all just be doing our own thing causing chaos.
These small societal understandings also create a lot of frustration and a desire to lash out if they’re contested. When you move to another country where you are the vast minority (try 1%) you have to fit in with what is accepted in that country. You learn pretty quickly which little ‘character traits’ you agree with and which ones are going to rub you the wrong way. It’s up to you if you’re going to let them ruin your life or if you can be the bigger human and look past them. There are things Koreans do that the world would think are extremely rude, but here, they’re just… normal? They’re not rude here, you’re just conditioned into thinking they’re rude because of your upbringing.
Things Koreans do that the world thinks are rude
They spit all the time
I’m going to start with the one that I will never get over or get used to. The yacking sound of mucus being drawn into your mouth is not a sound I’ll ever be ok with hearing. If you take the yacking out of it, the actual spit being spewn on the pavement if chunky and absolutely revolting. If it’s from an aged citizen they don’t really care if your feet are in the way and you’ll need to jump out the way pretty quickly. There are those that take it too far and spit indoors or on the subway, but it’s totally acceptable to spit on the pavement whilst walking. I was prepared for this one, my sister had mentioned, but holy shit I was nowhere near ready enough. It’s a game of face control whenever it happens.
They eat with their mouths open and make a lot of noise whilst eating
You can’t just eat noodles, you need to slurp them audibly to make your neighbours know how wonderful this meal is. Chewing is also something that shouldn’t be kept hidden, you hear the munching and with the mouth being open, it makes for some interesting listening. I know it’s my conditioning of what is polite, but I can’t help feel a little queasy when I listen to it while I try enjoy my meal. I’m getting better at accepting it but it still catches me off-guard sometimes. Slurp, slurpy sluuuuuuurp!
They don’t say bless you after you sneeze
As an atheist that isn’t in a rush to be blessed by the Christian faith, this one doesn’t bother me too much. I actually find it funny when my sneeze is met with complete silence. Saying ‘bless you’ after sneezing came from the times of the plague where people felt that by blessing a person, they might not die. Sneezing was a symptom of the plague and people thought that those who sneezed were banging on death’s door. I don’t know if Korea didn’t get the memo, chose not to care or just had thought ‘meh, not for us’ because they don’t say it here. Not mad at this because when you have an inconsiderate friend who decides to sneeze 10 times in a row, it just gets tiring to give them all that blessing.
They don’t hold the door open for you
I literally face planted a door during my first week here. You don’t need to be a guy holding the door for a woman, common western etiquette is to hold the door for someone who comes in after you. Koreans just don’t get that and you will walk into a door if you’re not careful. It’s become second nature for me to prepare myself to take over the door opening responsibilities. I’m truly an independent woman.
They push you and will bump into you
Whilst I was living in London, it didn’t even occur to me that being in crowds could be like bumper cars. People just minded one another and would walk with caution, minding the human traffic and avoiding people whenever necessary. In Korea, your shoulders will get bullied in crowds. They just push right past you and are often not mindful of others when negotiating busy areas. In the beginning, I thought they were picking on me because I was a foreigner, but I quickly learnt that they don’t discriminate. Errrrrrr’body is getting shoved. Walking down the street sometimes triggers me after a long day because no one is mindful and there is no order! It’s not a ‘keep left’ situation; it’s just very unorganized chaos.
They are brutally honest when judging your appearance
‘You’re putting on weight’ is not considered rude – they’re just simply stating a fact. You will be opened to a world of facts here in Korea. They will openly tell you things about your face that you never knew before. You have a ‘high nose’ is my favourite. It means the bridge of my nose is high and sticks out from my face; something that is desired here in Korea. Another unknown compliment to Westerners would be the ‘small face’ praise you’ll receive. The goal in Korea is to have a small, girlish, face and it’s a feature they’ll visit doctors to achieve.
You might think that people telling you the good and bad parts of your appearance might be off-putting but I like it. People say shit about you behind your back all the time, it’s about time we heard the juice to our faces. It’s good practice to see how much those ‘love myself quotes’ actually match our personality. It’s a test to see how much your ‘non-ego’ goals are holding up. Teeheehee.
I like Koreans, I find them absolutely incredible and I am writing a post on the AMAZING things Koreans have taught me – so, stay tuned ya’ll! Connect with me on Instagram (my stories are unfiltered and magical) and Facebook.