It has been a whirlwind of unpacking our bags in Korea. There may be no other place in the world like it. We may miss a lot of things from home, but Korea does a lot of things more significant than other countries.
1. Department Stores
They have multi-level giants the size of Costco. These places are your one-stop-shop for everything from bananas to flatscreen televisions and pantyhose. There is no surprise that Korea has the world’s largest department store.
2. Side Dishes
Korean food may be the only cuisine that has side dishes more important than the main course. Meals get accompanied by an assortment of small bowls that contain vegetables, fish, kimchee, and noodles. It may be exhausting to think about the effort need to prepare that food.
3. Coffee Shops
Before arriving in Korea, I thought that I wouldn’t be able to get coffee there. However, I was wrong. Coffee shops are everywhere. They even have five in every block. The popular ones are the sweet drinks that have chocolate sauce and whipped cream. They also don’t come cheap.
A large percentage of the country is mountainous terrain that is why a favorite pastime of Koreans is hiking. Every weekend, they pack the trails with neon-clad hikers who clutch bottles of makgeolli and soju. There are countless of middle-aged ladies with poles wearing hiking jackets. They wear fuschia hiking jackets with matching poles. It can be more of a fashion statement than a necessity. Dress to impress if you want to fit in with the crowd.
Whenever you walk down the sidewalk, it is common to get run over by a motorcycle in Korea. The deliverymen are in a hurry to deliver food. The delivery places bring cutlery and bowls that do not have plastic. After finishing your meal, leave your set outside the door for the deliveryman to collect afterward.
6. Fan Sections
Koreans don’t search your handbag or pat your pockets whenever you enter sporting events. They even encourage bringing in a bagful of beer and fried chicken. The cheering never stops.
There is even a guy who got dressed in white from his head to his toe. He led the whole crowd to cheer for Gumi’s volleyball team. He does love his job!
7. Smart Phones
The LG and Samsung factories maybe just a mile from your place, so it is not surprising that cell phones are more prevalent than in the United States. The passengers in the subway are on their phones. They don’t just text or talk but play online games and stream television shows. The Koreans have the fastest internet speed in the world. They can do anything on their phones anywhere.
It is a big deal for Koreans to have a partner. Girlfriends and boyfriends color coordinated their clothes and even wear matching outfits. They also wear matching undergarments underneath. These people also celebrate Christmas with their honey.
9. Twenty-Four-Hour Marts
In the past decade, whole day marts pop up in every corner. There are now more 7-Elevens here in a 50-mile radius than in all of America.
There are selfies everywhere. These people document the most mundane parts of their day. They get selfies while drinking coffee, crossing the street and riding the bus. They use this mode as a mirror in public. Make sure to watch where you walk, or you may get clotheslined by the bad boys.
11. Super Fast Shipping
Amazon may not stand a chance in Korea’s big online companies. Their standard shipping is 48 hours, and their merchandise usually arrives sooner. The price may also be meager. This fast and inexpensive shipping can be very addictive.
12. Exercise Equipment
There are times when you want to pump some iron while walking home from work. Koreans pass the exercise parks while walking to and from school. There are also random clusters of exercise equipment everywhere. People can get a good workout without going to the gym.