Things About Korea That Make Me Chuckle

Watching workers as they unload watermelons on the side of the road and then toss them over people’s heads on the sidewalk.

Being greeted with a bow every time I walk into E-mart, and bowing awkwardly back as I mumble ‘ahn-young’.

The trucks that set up shop on the side of the road to sell you an array of items you likely don’t need.


When my students give me the strangest of compliments (or maybe they are insults but I interpret them as compliments) like “Teacher has eyes like cat!” and “Teacher’s shoes look like Egyptian pharaoh!”

Watching a driver drive his car down the sidewalk. (What’s up Daejeon?)

The girls who hike mountains in stilettos – I am not kidding!


The lack of garbage cans in the city which result in me either stuffing my trash in my purse or discreetly dropping it on a street corner where a large pile has already begun to form.

Watching a girl put foundation on her boyfriend, and him acting like it’s the most natural thing.

The random encounters in Itaewon with university art students who want to photograph me scrunching my face, children who want to interview me in English in exchange for a lollipop, and conversations at the Irish pub with the drunk intelligence officer who is clad in a pair of Angry Bird pajama bottoms…

Parents slowing the car down so that their children can yell “Hellooooooo!” and take a good look at the foreigner.

The kind strangers that come to my rescue anytime I stare at the subway map for more than 45 seconds.

Paying for over-ripe produce because I’m not willing to shell out $10 for 6 apples (again).

Making random friends with Korean twenty-somethings on the subway and weighing in on which of the boys has the cutest hair and who wears the nerd glasses best.

Stumbling upon a gathering of older men playing baduk at the park.

When teenagers stop the boy and me on the street to tell us we make one good-looking couple.

–Oh sweet Korea. We’ve been going strong for four months now and yet you still surprise me everyday.–


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