It’s only been four days, and i already hate Seoul. Where do i even start? I’ll limit this one to the people:
1. Middle-aged people stare or glare at me for no reason.
2. No one wants to give directions, and those willing to don’t know how. It’s like they can’t think like someone who doesn’t know the city very well. One girl my age gave me the wrong directions. Intentionally. But i knew what she was doing, so i called her out, to which she reluctantly mumbled something like, “Oh, i think it’s that way, then….” She probably hated me for being American. Fucking bitch.
3. They lack imagination here. Either that, or people here are even more conformist and clueless about the rest of the world than i thought. They can’t imagine that a woman’s favorite color could be grey. A saleswoman actually questioned me for buying a grey, “men’s color” toothbrush. I think imagination and diversity go hand in hand. This country is so startlingly lacking in diversity that you almost can’t blame the people for being so narrow-minded. Doesn’t mean it isn’t irritating.
4. People here don’t know how to mind their own business. Let’s just leave it at that.
5. Strangers, especially the older ones, blurt out unnecessary and unwarranted comments at you as you walk past. Ugh, reminds me of Paris.
6. No one has any common courtesy in public. With people they know, they’re all about surface courtesy, but on the streets, it’s always them first. No one moves out of your way when you’re trying to get off the subway train, because they couldn’t care less. And then when you squeeze past them, they glare at you. This would never, ever happen in New York. There, people move away from the doors without even being asked to and even when it’s not crowded, because they don’t want to be in anyone’s way.
7. The concept of “alone” does not exist, period. No one eats alone, no one goes shopping alone, and no one lets anyone do any of these things alone. I’ve been fielding requests from people left and right wanting to do things with me, and i just want to be left alone, damn it. I don’t even have time to think these days!
8. This one’s more of a personal situation with my family, but i’m including it because it speaks for the culture: the overprotectiveness is extreme and intolerable. I can speak Korean, i can read Korean, i can see, i can walk, i have two functioning hands, and i’ve lived in big cities. No, i don’t need you to walk me to the subway station, teach me how to buy a T-money card, and find me a subway map. And i can find my way out of the station myself, thank you very much. You see, for Koreans, such overbearing care is to be appreciated, but it just makes me feel like they think i’m dumb. When a relative says to me, “How will you find your way there yourself?”, i can’t help but be incredibly offended.
I know with time i’ll find redeeming qualities about the people, but this list will only grow, too. I think Seoul’s going to turn me into a chain-smoking alcoholic. That is, if the Koreans don’t give me any shit for smoking (which, surprisingly, they haven’t yet—at least not on the streets). Only a matter of time…