If you plan a trip to Singapore then check out Alex Thio’s podcast ‘Coming to Singapore’ in iTunes or on his website www.comingtosingapore.com
Do you plan on bringing your dog?
Do you ask yourself what’s better: traveling here together or seperately?
Did you receive your orders to come here and now want to start apartment hunting online although it’s still 6 months until you will actually set foot on Korean soil?
Then this episode is for you!
Thank you for sending in questions. Keep them coming!
links mentioned in the episode:
This is part II of my series about challenges (although a very entertaining one) and it has to do with the concept of personal space here in Korea. Episode 009 is tightly connected to a blogpost that I released a couple of days ago. You can check it out here: http://tastyoldcabbage.com/personalspaceinkorea/
I also drew this comic about my experience with a Korean guy’s NON-awareness of his surroundings and show the way a proper German reacts to it 😉
Posing happily in the rain at a popular Korean sight. A Korean guy approaches with a giant (!) umbrella…
“MAY THE KOREAN TOILET GHOST HAUNT YOU FOREVER!! Grrrrrr”
Sometimes it seems to us “foreigners” as if Koreans are not aware of what happens around them, which might sometimes be very much the truth. However, it just feels like they don’t bother with curtesy in the street too much given that they life in a small country of roughly 50 million people..
happy dodging umbrellas in the rain everyone! 🙂
They do it to each other too.
Also, let’s pretend you have a problem with the ticket machine in the train station and you try to figure it out with the help of a train station guard. Be prepared to have all eyes on you. Koreans are not shy when it comes to staring. In this case (which happened to me) they will come up close, almost resting their chin on my shoulder, to listen and witeness the situation. At first I thought they would wanna help but… nope.. they just wanted to know what’s going on.
On a rainy day – watch out for those dangerous umbrellas.
Sometimes people here lack the awareness of space and would not pay attention to the others in the street. That’s exactly when I usually get hit by an umbrella 😉
Their concept of personal space and awareness of their surroundings are different from ours. This is because they live in a CRAZILY CROWDED country: worldpopulationreview.com states that “South Korea is known for its population density which is more than 10 times the global average.”
—– More than 10 times the global average (!!!) ——–
it’s not you – it’s just ‘the Korean way’
It happens to me here all the time that some Koreans bump into me, step on my foot, close the door in my face, hijack the seat on the crowded train that I already made an attempt to take over or cut the line at Daiso (famous Korean dollar store) pretending I wasn’t already putting my goods down for the casher to process… (that is when I am tempted to give them my best German stink eye)
Unbelievable things like that WILL happen to you and you WILL get frustrated, however, always keep in mind it’s not you, it’s just ‘the Korean way’.
You are one out of 49,158,901 in a country that is slightly larger than the U.S. state Indiana.
Good luck everyone with not getting the door slammed in your face 😉
How do you stay in touch from so far away? Here are some suggestions about which Apps can help you to text and call for your family and friends back home for free or very cheap.
I also brought my great friend Dani on the show to talk to me about Red Stamp an App she recently discovered that has helped her to personalize postcards and send ten of them home at the same time from her phone.
We also talk about how blogging can help you to update everyone at home and how to deal with those friends and family members who always expect you to be the one who reaches out.
Listen to Tracy, great friend of mine and Area 1 mom, and me talking about moving with your family to Korea, about safety, school, food and overall family experience in this foreign country. Come join in the fun as we record the first WiK podcast interview, laugh and reflect about life here as a foreigner.
We also feature a third VERY SPECIAL guest who is a natural in front of the mic. So adorable.
And no, I didn’t actually cover Tracy in gold and put her in my closet… that would be weird.. just to mention something like that would be very weird… who would say something that? 😉
If you have any questions about bringing your family here, please send them my way and I will cover them in future episode or get back to you directly.
I have to start a couple of days back in time with this story.
A couple of weeks ago I got a text message from my sister in Germany. In that message she explained that our step mom had to be rushed to the ER and that they plan surgery due to the suspicion of bone cancer.
I was shocked.
Do you know that feeling when your gut turns into a tight knot? Everyone who knows me well knows that my emotions are tightly connected to my stomach. If I feel sad or angry my stomach starts to ache badly.
I felt helpless and scared. Due to the time difference I couldn’t even get my sister on the phone since it was nighttime for them. The time difference can be exhausting. It’s 7 hours to Germany where our German family and friends live and at least 13 hours to where our American family and friends are. Getting a hold of anyone during the week is pretty difficult.
It is a one or two day long travel to Germany and it takes two to three days to travel to our family on the East Coast from here (including the time to react to an emergency, book flights, plan for everything and the solid travel time).
And we haven’t even spoken of the money yet. Who cares in moments like that about the time spent on a plane, right? But the travels are expensive, especially the short notice ones..
My initial reaction was: I want to go and be with her to help her through the time of waiting for the results and distract her as much as one can distract a person with such worries.
Now all I could do from here instead was to wait, pray and see.. After the emergency surgery and a couple of days spent with worries we finally got to hear that it is not cancerous and that a couple of additional surgeries will take care of my step mom’s health.
No need to describe to you how relieved we were.
Today we woke up to an urgent sounding email from a close friend.
It just stated CALL ME in the subject line.
I immediately got that feeling in my stomach again. Within 15 minutes we managed to get connected with him. He informed us that his wife, mom of three and dear friend of ours got rushed to the ER. She is in the hospital now waiting for brain surgery and an updated evaluation on her health…
My stomach is sill aching from his call that we received hours ago and my mind is racing. I can’t tell you how helpless and restless we feel.
This is not about me, of course not!
It is about our dear friends that we want to travel to and be with in these difficult hours and days. However, it is not that we are separated by a state.. we are separated by landmasses and the Pacific Ocean.
THIS HAS GOT TO be one of the hardest things to go through when living that far away from your loved ones.
In my last podcast episode I started talking about challenges that come with a move to Korea. Now this one couldn’t wait for the next episode, this one I had to get out NOW.
We enjoy our life here a lot, however, we are far away from our loved ones. We can only show via telephone or video call how much we care and are there for them. This is close to torture, especially, when all you want to do is drive through the night to go and hug them, be there for them, watch their children, make ironic and inappropriate jokes about health and life together..
All we can do from here today is to send our love their way and keep them in our prayers and thoughts while we are waiting for news.
Please, if you move that far away from home (it could be anywhere. Not only Korea.) Just know that this is one of the biggest challenges that come with living your life far away from your loved ones.
What I will do today?
I will go outside and make this day count. I will be kind and understanding with the people who surround me because that’s what will go a long way.
I believe that this is like a butterfly effect: treating others like you want to be treated will be passed on and on and eventually reach our friends far away. Other people (may it be strangers or friends and family) will be there in person for them treating them as kindly as we would, helping them and supporting them through these rough times.
Also, always keep in mind that we are all far away from our loved ones being stationed here in Korea and that we need to be each other’s family and friends. Go make it count!