Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Countdown for Breaking Cultural Mores
The following is a compilation of various mistakes made within my first four weeks of daily life in Korea, and - just in case you're unaware - nearly everything in Korea is written in Hangul characters rather than the Roman alphabet.
8. Buying fabric softener instead of laundry detergent.
7. Buying hair conditioner instead of shampoo.
6. Buying lotion instead of shampoo.
5. Stealing toilet paper from my workplace for nearly two weeks because I couldn't find a store where it was sold and also couldn't find anything else to buy that might possibly be mistaken for it.
4. Clasping my hands in a prayer-like position and bowing to thank every single Korean I met over the course of three weeks. It wasn't until someone asked me if it was a tradition I'd picked up in Thailand that I discovered typical Koreans don't actually clasp their hands to express gratitude.
3. Spitting out a half-chewed octopus while dining in a crowded restaurant.
2. Laughing loudly in a public restroom stall after pushing every single bidet button on the high-tech toilet.
1. Attending a company dinner (as the only foreigner) where I helped myself to communal noodles while using the wrong end of the chopsticks.