I taught English in South Korea in 2009-2010. It’s an interesting place that is difficult to sum up. South Korea is a country with both feet set firmly in the past, with eyes stretching towards the future, but with few thoughts about the present. What does living in a place like Korea do to your psyche? My expectations have changed a lot during my twelve months there.
* I think that if I can’t get my way, the solution is to make whiny noises until people give in.
* I think it’s okay that coffee costs twice as much as beer.
* I think that things like garlic bread and pasta sauce should always have sugar on them.
* I think a bag of chips should be opened sideways.
* Every time someone says “That’s very hot,” I think “Hot. Hot. That’s very hot.”
* I also expect my students to connect two objects not with a straight line but with the craziest squiggly line ever.
* I think it’s normal even during drastic crayon shortages for there always to be too many peach.
* I think that leaving my fan on while I sleep is risking certain death.
* I think I need to apologize to my friends for “not having what it takes” if I want to leave the bars or clubs before 5:30 am.
* I think that pitchers of beer are always mega-ginormous.
* No matter what the time of year is, I think bars should be simultaneously decorated for Xmas and Halloween.
* I think that, no matter where I’m eating, it’s a good idea for the food to be served with sweet pickles and kimchi.
* I think it’s okay to get only one plastic bag even when I buy a month’s worth of groceries.
* I think I’m in a really fancy restaurant if our group gets more than one menu and we are allowed to keep it during our whole time there.
* No matter where I am in the city, if the nearest 7-11 is more than 3 minutes away I think it’s a major inconvenience.
* I think it’s perfectly normal for businessmen in otherwise formal attire to wear a snoopy or teddy bear sweater. Or a hat that looks like an animal.
* I think “panties” is a unisex word.
* I think it’s just a normal day when I see dozens of people on the subway and on the streets carrying cakes.
* I think that when you go hiking, you shouldn’t take food, maps, a compass, or even water. If there aren’t vending machines somewhere near the top of mountain, there will be a restaurant on the way.
* I think my knowledge of grammar looks like this: “Subject is verb.” (Rex is run. Teacher is cry? James is no finish.)
* I think wooden chopsticks seem clumsy, large and bulky.
* I think every dinner table should have scissors and a roll of toilet paper.
* I think any apartment big enough to fit more than two-three people is massive.
* I think old women have the right to push me if I am in any way standing in their way. Or even if I’m not.
* If someone isn’t standing as close as humanly possible to the person in front of them, I think it’s okay to step in that space.
* I think English phrases are just words that don’t need to fit together in anyway. I also think you can just bre
ak up words in English whenever you wa