Thursday, November 27, 2014

Cultural musings: part 2 둘

As promised here are more of my observations on some cultural differences you might come across in Korea. Again, these are simple observations, I am not calling out anything as good or bad inherently.

So here we go.

I have not been to one yet so I can not speak about what goes on inside of them. But what I can tell you is that your Korean friends and co-workers will suggest that you go to it for every little thing. For example, a co-teacher tripped while running in a race against students and went to the hospital. I started getting a cold and immediately they all began suggesting I go to the hospital and get some medicine. I am from America, the land of expensive health care and so I am not in the habit of going to the doctor often unless it is an emergency. We also have two separate facilities in America, we have doctor's offices which are for general check-ups and minor issues and then there is the hospital which is for major operations, diseases or injuries. In Korea, because of the way their health care is set up it seems the general doctors also reside in the hospital. Either way, be prepared for this to be suggested for every ailment under the sun. Be careful though, my friends who have gone have mentioned the crazy amount of pills they send you home with, sometimes without explanation of what they are. I am not sure how it is where you are from but in America our doctors and nurses always explain what they are giving us and why.

The other thing you might notice, as I have, without even having to step into a hospital is the freedom they give their patients. Because people go their for all manner of things and seem to stay the night more often then they would in America, there are an abundance of fairly healthy people in the hospital at any given time. As they are quite healthy or because Korean's believe in the power of fresh air (I am not 100% sure) you will see people walking around in hospital garb a lot. They are not escapees as I once thought, they are simply out for a stroll. I even saw a guy walking around toting his IV one time. It is perfectly normal. Better than being stuck inside and bored to death I guess.

This isn't really a cultural difference as I have seen people posting about it around the world, I just think it's funny.

Anyway I do think the escalators move at a much slower pace here, but maybe that's just me. But what I wanted to mention is the reliance on escalators. They are everywhere! I get it for multiple floors or something but sometimes it seems a bit like overkill. Perhaps it is because the escalators are so slow that I find this need to wait in an overly squishy line for the escalator so amusing. People are basically lapping you on the stairs people, that is how not fast you are going. My favorite instance of Korean's love affair was escalators was when one of them had stopped working in a subway and yet people will still lining up and getting all up in each others space to get on the thing. Even though it was now just stairs... with less room. I know this happens all over and must say something about us as a whole and our reliance on technology or our sheer laziness and how ingrained habits become but I think it's funny.

I am definitely guilty of an over-reliance on escalators too, and elevators for that matter. Oops

Next time I will write about something that is actually different between our cultures but I just couldn't resist talking about the escalator mania.

Also, sorry this post is lacking in pictures but I didn't want to be that creepy person taking pictures of strangers. Sorry guys.


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