*don’t understand or something that’s taking great efforts to get used to.
I really enjoy living in Korea, but there are some things that take some getting used to. There’s things you love and hate about every place so this is by no means a bash Korea piece. I should also note that this is just my Korea. My experiences in my city and my town. So let’s get to it.
1. Pedestrians don’t have the right of way: I can’t count how many times I’ve almost been struck by a vehicle while walking to my school. And it’s never me doing anything wrong. I can be crossing on a crosswalk but cars don’t care and they don’t have to. Some mornings I see policemen patrolling. I think they are looking for reckless drivers but they are just there to stop jaywalkers. Which brings up my next point it’s hard to really BLAME the jay walkers for trying’. At stop lights cars go first. Then pedestrians. There’s no button for you to press to get priority. You just have to wait. And at a 5 way stop light that can take a while. Sigh. I know if I don’t leave my apartment at a specific time I will miss my cross light and it pisses me off when I do. Also! There’s no stop signs where I live! So cars coming out of small streets just barrel out–nearly running me over constantly.
2. Dudes spitting everywhere: Of course I’ve seen people in plenty of places hock a loogie or two on the streets or sidewalk, but I have never seen it like here in Korea. It’s usually males. And they aren’t shy about it! Sometimes you just gotta clear the phlegm from your throat and eject it, I understand. I’ve had to do it and I try to be discreet as possible. But no. Not the dudes here. You’ll hear it all around you. The loud cringe-worthy sound of sticky phlegm being sucked out the nasal passage and forced up the throat… then you watch out. It’s especially intense near popular smoking areas.
3. Lack of public trash receptacles: I often hear that Korea doesn’t have many trash bins because of the overhaul they’ve had in the trash and recycling systems. As I’ve said before–trash here was one of the most unexpectedly frustrating things to figure out here. I still don’t have it perfect, but I have to purchase special bags for rubbish. Some people don’t want to make this extra purchase and I guess they were dumping their home garbage in public bins. So there began to be less bins. At least that’s the theory I’ve heard. But can’t you still have public pins with smaller openings that lock? Anyway, trash usually goes on the side of the street and due to the lack of public bins, pedestrians begin piling their various waste on top of these piles and it just gets pretty messy/smelly.
4. “For the good of the group”*: This one can go both ways. There are some things I really like about group culture here. For example the sharing. People typically share what they have. But sometimes it makes it so people don’t do or say what they feel or mean. Like, you may not be that big of a drinker or a night owl, but you will try to keep up with everyone else because that’s what’s expected. You might be too tired or stressed to play volleyball after school, but you go anyway because you’re needed. When I do decide to go along I feel like I’m earning points, and if I don’t–I lose them. I think it makes it difficult to break into an already established group of friends or for other to venture out of that comfort, but I guess that can be true for anywhere.
So that’s my list. Do any of you have similar annoyances? What are some things you don’t like about where you live? Of course a “Things I Love about Korea” list will be coming soon. Until then, let’s get out there.