Sunday, January 10, 2016
Stop & Chat: January 10
Today M and I went into town with the intention of checking out a large grocer's market that might have lye, only to find out after we'd arrived that Sundays are not good days to go out shopping. A lot of places shut down for the day. Oopsie!
Besides that, I spent a lot of time napping and a little bit of unpacking. Not a lot. I've been lazy, I know.
Since that covers my day, I'm going to dedicate this post to answering Julie's questions on my previous Stop & Chat!
Have you been having fun arranging things the way you want?
Yes! I've always loved moving around furniture and finding ways for what I have to fit in with the space I'm given. Now I get to do it while trying to adjust to a whole new culture! For instance, Koreans don't typically wear shoes inside their home, so there is lots of built in shoe storage right by the door. I have to find something else to do with my shoe hanging racks I've always had!
Are there any customs you have to follow when shopping, traveling, interacting?
Not particularly. When saying hello or thank you there is always a slight bow, and I try to respond in kind to be respectful. The one thing that we have to adjust to is the extreme aggression while driving, as well as everyone's love for speeding. I'm sure I'll come across some instances in the future, though. I've only seen a small amount of what Korea has to offer! :)
Oh! One thing I just thought of is the shopping bag thing. Here you have to pay extra if you are given a bag for your goods, so it's customary for Koreans to bring their own shopping bags with them when they go out.
Is chopstick etiquette big there?
From what I've seen, yes. I think M and I get the same kind of pass Koreans give their young children, though. "Oh, they're new to it. That's okay." Sometimes when we eat out at a restaurant they will go ahead and give us forks instead of chopsticks.
How are prices on everyday things like cleaning supplies, fresh produce, meats, gas, so on?
Most things are either comparable in price or cheaper, with a few exceptions. We can get produce for really cheap at the local markets, and eating out is generally cheaper than in the US. Gas is more expensive here, so we make sure to get it on post, and chicken tends to be very expensive no matter where we get it from. We're lucky if we can get $5/lb, though it's typically more than that. The trade off is seafood is cheap. Fresh fish can be found in abundance. Eggs fluctuate in prices greatly so we sometimes get a really good deal and other times have to pay more than double what we pay in the States.
Electronics and video games, which are big things to us, are generally cheaper here. The used games/consoles/parts market is much larger here and everything is priced very competitively. The new computer parts we got for my computer were about 1/2 the price we would've paid in the States.
I've noticed several really, really nice violins that are insanely cheap ($500 for something I could see going for $2000 in the US) and it's tempted me so much to pick one up and start playing again.
What foods have become your favorite?
Seafood. Which is a big deal for me. I grew up on two opposite ends of the seafood spectrum - cheapo canned tuna, and exquisite, fresh Alaskan Salmon that my Grandma would cook with all the time. The result was my hate of anything but high end salmon. I only had tuna in a dish my father taught me of tuna, rice & cheese, and the occasional tuna spaghetti my mom would make.
I've slowly been broadening my seafood tastes to include crab and some sushi, but it wasn't until we got here that I've gotten to really try and enjoy the varieties of seafood that can be made. I'm having shimp and I like it. I hated shrimp before. After eating some shrimp and finding that I actually liked it, I messaged my mom asking "What's wrong with me?!" Her response was "Nothing! Nothing is wrong!" I still think crab meat soup is my favorite dish so far, but that's because I haven't fully tried other options.
Take octopus and squid, for example. I'm pretty sure the texture will be off putting but I am totally up for trying it out.
Anyways, that's enough rambling for me! If you guys have any more questions, shoot away! I enjoy answering them! :)