Unforeseen consequences of Korea

Some things I anticipated: getting back and not being able to tune out conversations in restaurants, eating more grease, feeling free to walk all over the place.

Other things, though, I’m realizing I didn’t foresee and certainly didn’t intend:

  • I automatically want to sort through trash. It feels awkward just to dump it all into the same trashcan. A consequence of Koreans separating out all they trash: food, paper, plastic, metal, and so on.
  • I automatically try to check the water faucet in the bathroom before turning it on. I want to make sure the shower doesn’t start spraying. A consequence of Korean showers being connected to the sink faucets.
  • I automatically want to bow slightly, instead of waving, when drivers let me cross the street. A consequence of Korean culture keeping the bowing tradition alive.
  • I automatically feel like I’m getting a good deal on American food, everything from fast food like McDonald’s to sit-down restaurant food. A consequence of American food priced way higher, as a foreign food.
  • I automatically share food and drinks, without any thought of germs spreading. A consequence of sharing dishes and drinks around Korean BBQs.
  • I automatically speak in semi-broken English, or at least choppy English, when I’m speaking to people I don’t know or people who look like they might be from another country. A consequence of changing my speech for my students and for people who don’t speak English natively.

And I noticed all this within the first week back. I wonder what else I’ll notice…