Sometimes I Forget, A List

Sometimes I forget that Korea is still considered a developing country.
Sometimes I forget that techno-gadgets do not change the psychology of a country, but only the way that psychology can be transmitted.
Sometimes I forget that the people who are in charge of this country did not grow up in middle-class America.
Sometimes I forget that ajummas are ajummas because it was necessary for them to be rough and coarse in order to get their children to adulthood, in order to put food in their bellies.
Sometimes I forget that only a few decades ago, poverty was the norm and that this affluence and wealth is new and fresh. Sometimes I forget that this government is still learning how to be democratic.
Sometimes I forget that being part of a group and a community isn’t necessarily following the herd, but it’s a conscious decision to belong to something bigger than oneself.
Sometimes I forget that although Korea is modernized on the outsides, her insides still run on an agricultural clock.
Sometimes I forget that there are more important things than being on time or making me feel comfortable.
Sometimes I forget that Koreans don’t say, “my house,” “my wife,” or “my office.”
Sometimes I forget that Koreans always say, “our house,” “our wife,” and “our office.”
Sometimes I forget that I’m not here to change Korea, but instead, I’m here to observe and maybe let Korea change a little bit of me.


  1. bailey from oregon here. delurking to tell you how much i enjoyed this post! i'm dipping into your archives (ooh, sounds naughty?) at work when i think i can get away with it, and i'm loving your perspective on the culture that surrounds you. i can't tell you how much i admire your courage to immerse yourself like you have. keep the great posts coming.

    p.s. how much is life like/different from those korean soaps? i heart them. 8^)

  2. Life is nothing like the soaps, except maybe for the volume. The Korean language is incredibly expressive, so a lot of times it feels like everyone is yelling at each other and having fights, when really they're just chatting. Although, the ajummas are pretty much like ajummas! Thanks so much for your kind words!

  3. it's always good to step back and remind yourself...

  4. I found your blog via Ask a Korean and your little anecdotes are refreshing and hilarious to read! It's actually really uplifting to see someone who can enjoy life no matter where they are :) It's also kind of a relief to be abkle to read about how an expat is functioning in Korea on a daily basis by posting little stories rather than launching into a book-length analysis on Korean culture in a lofty intellectual tone xD

    anyway...in a nutshell...you've got me addicted :D

  5. Anonymous,
    Thank you so much! I'm glad that you enjoy reading about my hilarious adventures. I think my outlook on life in Korea is definitely brightened and kept positive by the fact that I've dated one for almost 2 years now. He keeps me seeing both sides of the situation most of the time. However, he doesn't make me immune to rage! Hehe. Thanks for your comments!

  6. Oh DB, nice one. This blog contains 3 of my favorite elements of writing: brevity, judicious repetition, and contrasting perspectives.

    Oh, and can I steal the following sentence: "Sometimes I forget that being part of a group and a community isn’t necessarily following the herd, but it’s a conscious decision to belong to something bigger than oneself."


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