This coming August will mark my 5th year of living in Korea. I would willingly agree that this country has changed me, hopefully for the better!. I'm a much braver person than I gave myself credit for and I've found myself an advocate for all things Korean, not unlike my brother after his Mexican stay. However I have noticed other changes that I have complied into a list that I'd like to facetiously refer to as....
YOU KNOW YOU'VE BEEN IN KOREA TOO LONG WHEN....
1. One day you notice calluses on your ankles from hours of sitting cross-legged on the floor.
2. You turn on MTVAsia to watch some videos and realize that you know all the Korean songs but none of the American ones.
3. It's July 1st and your sister-in-law mentions her 4 day holiday weekend and you actually have to wrack your brain to remember what holiday that would be!
4. You love using metal chopsticks and complain when you are obliged to use the wood or round plastic variety.
5. You find yourself saying English words with Korean pronounciations. "Bus" becomes "Buh-suh," "apartment" becomes "a-par-tuh,'" "ice cream," is "eye-suh-cree-muh"
6. You are impressed by an establishment that provides its own toliet paper to its customers. That's classy!
7. You don't become upset anymore when old people bump you or cut you in line. Furthermore, you begin to expect this treatment!
8. Tipping rarely occurs to you and you feel especially magnanimous when you do.
9. A samyupsol dinner doesn't seem complete without a bottle of soju and a dish of kimchi on the side! ("Samyupsol" is basically very thick pieces of bacon cooked on a stone slab, served by wrapping in lettuce and adding things like Kimchi and other sauces. There are also lots of vegetables involved, which counteracts the effects of the fatty meat.)
10. You develop the reflex of breathing through your mouth immediately upon encountering foul odours on the street, knowning that in a couple of steps, you may resume normal breathing.
In all seriousness, I have loved living here (for the most part!) and am so glad I had this experience. As most of you have heard, this past week Canadian immigration contacted us asking for our passports so they can give us permanent residency visas! We anticipate leaving in September and appreciate your prayers. Thanks to all of our family and friends that have supported and encouraged us during this time!