I love making lists. To do lists, inventories, bullet points, talking points, shopping lists, etc. You get the point. So as I was sitting in Holly's Coffee in downtown Daegu on Sunday, I made a list. My iPhone was dead, I brought no reading material, and I needed some caffeine to revitalize me before I continued my exploratory trek about the city.
Now, this list may not be anthropologically sound but my interest in cultural differences drove its creation. This is a list of things I find amusing/different/notable/nuts about Korean culture. I hope to make this a regular type post, as the length of the list is continually growing. So, let's take a look at what made the list this week:
* Couples Matching Underwear/Polos/Everything: Korea seems to be a huge couples culture. On many occassions, I've witnessed a boy and a girl strolling down the street, hands locked, and um, yeah, wearing the same shirt. No, not like, "Oh! We both decided to wear red today. How funny." more like, "Hey hunny, let's wear those blue and striped polos with the turtle on the pocket downtown today." It is the exact same shirt. I've been warned that there is also couples underwear. Leave that to the imagination (or at least until I find a good picture!)-This point also references another point I made: no one ever goes out alone, it seems (more later).
*$10 Waffles: Waffles are delcious. They are really an international sensation. From the breakfast haven of the Waffle House to the surprise "goffre" stands in the Madrid metro, waffles are available pretty much everywhere, including South Korea. However, the waffles I've seen here (adorned as many places do - fruit, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, ice cream, etc) are expensive. You say, "How can a waffle be expensive? It's a waffle." My point exactly. These aren't laced with truffle oil nor sprinkled with beluga caviar. They are waffles with ice cream. And they will run you $8-12. I haven't tried one yet but I hope they're worth it!
*The Mini Pizza Lady: Downtown Daegu is rife with drinking foreigners, whether they are English teachers, army guys (and gals), or just expats in general. This market has been seized by a very special entreprenuer: the mini pizza lady. Her set-up looks much like an over-sized Easy Bake oven on a cart. Her pizzas look pretty quality, too and are cheap. I've been told it's a must try and will be sure to add it to the "To Do in Daegu" list.
*2 Sets of Toothbrushes: I have 2 sets of toothbrushes here in Korea: one for home, one for school. The first week I was at Daesung, I noticed all of the teachers brushing their teeth after lunch. Obviously, I felt left out. And I happen to just love dental hygeiene so I seized the opportunity to fit in and bought another toothbrush and tube of toothpaste. Now, every day after lunch, I brush my teeth. It feels great.
*Indoor Shoes: Although I have not invested in a pair, many other EPIK teachers mentioned they were highly encouraged by their colleagues to bring a pair of "indoor school shoes" to leave in their office. It's a good idea, preventing the tracking of mud, rain, poop, etc into the school building. However, there is one fatal flaw: many schools here in Korea have multiple buildings in which you are required to travel outside to get to. Mine is such a school. So now, that pair of "indoor" shoes becomes a pair of "indoor/sometimes outdoor" shoes. I may grab a pair at some point but that depends if I can find a store that carries a 270 in women's shoes (As I was told by a shoe store clerk on Sunday, "270! That is man size!" - Thanks).