Friday, December 15, 2006

Okay, Something Good About Korea

After running around this afternoon taking care of last minute things before my friend's wedding tomorrow (I'm a bridesmade), I went to my Friday night watering hole for one pint of British beer. I left with a nice buzz (I'm a lightweight these days) and got on the bus to go home.

Even though it was around 8:45pm on Friday night people were still getting out of work and commuting home, so the bus was crowded.

I had a bag with shoes I had made for tomorrow and new accessories (because give me a reason to accessorize and I will.) I also had my backpack because I have diabetes supplies I always carry with me.

In Asia it's common that if you're on the bus with tons of bags a person sitting down will offer to hold them for you. This isn't so common in Korea with younger people and because they're just a bit more rough around the edges, but in Japan it happens all the time when I'm there. Anyway, tonight an older gentlemen offered to hold my extra bags, and knowing it was a custom, I let him.

He started asking me questions and was happy to see that I could talk to him on a basic level. Turns out we live in the same area, so we walked and talked a bit after we got off the bus en route to our homes until we parted ways.

It was a nice moment to just talk to someone. While it was happening I was comparing how I would react back home versus here.

First, I'd never get on a bus with a buzz back home. I'd take a taxi. Second, I'd never let a stranger hold a bag full of new merchandise I'd just bought and my backpack. Third, I'd never divulge personal information to a stranger.

However, in Korea it's pretty common that all of these things happen fairly frequently with no negative consequences. Whereas, back home, I probably would have ended up chasing Mr. Yoo trying to get my bags back.

It's nice being able to have my defenses set to low here. Sadly, the only time my defenses get elevated is when I'm around other foreigners.

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