Thursday, May 8, 2014

Random "Living in Korea" Stuff

There are a few quick and random things about living in South Korea that I thought I'd share:

1) Pennies - as in, there are NO US pennies used on Yongsan Garrison. If something costs $2.48 and I use 2 quarters to pay, it's really $2.50, as they don't have pennies for the owed change. Sometimes this can work to my favor, as I have gotten a nickel back if change owed is 3 or 4 cents.  It must all work out in the end, but to a super saver like me, it's been an adjustment.  I know...just let it go...

2) Recycling to the extreme - some of my family and friends back in the states have to recycle, and some do not (which drives me crazy!). Here, the entire area under my double kitchen sink and a portion of my kitchen counter are dedicated to recycling. We have to bring our recyclables and trash downstairs to the basement each week, with separate bins for paper and cardboard, metal cans, plastic bottles, styrofoam containers, glass, food waste, plastic bags, other regular trash, clothing, and household appliances/items. Some people here complain; others don't - honestly, I find it refreshing and appreciate it.

3) Toilets - this may be too much information for some, but it made me laugh, so I'm sharing.  I had a run-in with a female squatting urinal at a public restroom a few weeks back.   They look like this:

Thankfully, Michael was not with me at the time, as that would have added a whole new level of hell to the "using the restroom with a preschooler in tow" scenario.

4) Traffic and drivers - both can be pretty horrible here. And I know I will have friends who say something about how bad drivers are in NYC or Atlanta, etc.  Believe me when I say they have NOTHING on the drivers here. Road signs, lane lines, and lights are merely a suggestion, even with traffic cops "directing" traffic. And if you are a motorcycle/scooter driver (which there are a TON of), rules do no apply at all - especially areas for pedestrian crosswalks or sidewalks - all are fair game at any time. And let it be known, that despite all good intentions, expat drivers will be assimilated in order to survive and actually make it through an intersection sometime during this century.

5) It takes a village...  Children are loved here. And as such, random strangers will help your child at any time. Some memorable moments so far:
--the waitress who wiped Michael's nose while we were eating out;
--the man who popped Michael onto the back of his son's bicycle at the play park so they could ride together;
--the older gentleman who gave him a whole handful of candy while on the subway for sitting nicely.

There are also the funny "rockstar" moments, where strangers will take pictures of your child while they play or want their picture taken with them - foreign kids are a novelty!

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