Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Feeling like an outsider

So as you would think, living in another Country always has it's challenges no matter how much you become used to the language barrier, money conversions, transportation, and the task of asking for a bag at the local store.  Which reminds me I need to learn how to ask for one... along with other important words!  I have only been here for a short 4 months but I have learned so much already.  For example Koreans know more English then they want you to know.  Our family obviously doesn't "fit" in but we are excepted like any other round eye here.  On the subway if I am holding Audrey Almost every time someone will leap from their seat and offer it to me.  Even the old do it, and that always makes me feel guilty.  Collin says it is a sign of disrespect if I do not except, but when when every the elderly offer to give up their seat I urge Collin to make an excuse as to way I don't want their seat.  Usually something along the lines of, "Our stop is almost here" or "The baby is happier to stand". That is generally true.  If we stand she is constantly moving and she loves playing with the hanging handles.  If the big people can hold to them to keep balance she certainly can as well, after all every 14month old is dependent like that.  We have learned that if we are standing in line first for the elevator, and those doors open, it doesn't mean we are getting on that elevator.  You have to blend in like one of them.  Lines don't matter when getting on an escalator, elevator, subway or anything else of that nature.  Heck you don't even have a guaranteed spot when standing in line to purchase something as we learned this past weekend. If you want to make sure you are on that elevator you need to push, be aggressive!  Just because Ajumma, a little old Korean lady, pushed her way in front of you doesn't mean you can't push back in.  Those Ajumma are tough and they will get their way if you don't claim your spot.  Several times I have had the fear of not catching the elevator with Collin but the worst is being pushed out from the subway and in a sudden panic that I will be left with the doors closing in my face as I wave to Collin and Audrey.  All in all though even with those annoying and frustrating moments I have had a great time so far and I am fully enjoying myself and nothing really comes to a shock to me any more..... until Saturday!

Not really a shock so much but more of disbelief.  We were the typical tourists on Saturday.  Thought we would try something new.  The 63 building on a Saturday, sure great idea.  Well the morning wasn't bad we got there and headed straight for the Aquarium.  We got our tickets and headed inside to get 2 pictures taken as soon as you walk in.  We were on the first floor and it was what we thought a crowded Saturday.  People were everywhere but we had very little trouble seeing what we wanted to see and going where we wanted to go.  Then we went downstairs.  It was getting a little more crowded but we figured it would and no big deal.  We found the penny machine, you know the ones were you put in .51 and get an imprint of your location on a penny.  Well anyway Collin realized that we didn't have 1000won in coins so he went over to a little gift shop to get change.  I watched him get in line about four people back and after a few minutes I lost sight of him and couldn't figure out what was taking so long.  Then I saw him about six people back.  I tilted my head and scrunched my forehead trying to figure out what happened.  When he returned with the coins he mentioned how he just kept getting pushed back by people jumping and shoving in front of him.  Through out the day things like this just kept happening.  We would be looking at something and grown adults would step in front of us and back us out of the way.  We were actually trying to get out of the way at one point and people just kept blocking us in.  Audrey was looking at a fish at one point and this little girl pushed right on through until she took over her spot, parents watching the whole time.  I of course just pulled Audrey back as I didn't want to see her fall or get hurt once I realized this other child wasn't going to let her be and look at the same fish from two steps over.  The parents looked at me said something in Korean and smiled.  I however did not smile back in stead I again scrunched up my forehead looking at them in disbelief of what they just allowed and walked away.  Really what else could I do.... yell at them in English when I had about 20 other Korean parents around me.  Luckily for them my husband wasn't there at the time.  We soon gave up on our adventure excuse me no longer seemed to work.  All courtesy had been thrown out the door.  As we were leaving this woman was taking a picture of her family/friends and since I noticed I walked behind her not wanting to interrupt.  This woman smiled at me and nodded show her appreciation and then took two more steps back and ran right into me.  Apparently the 7 feet in front of her were not enough.  I said I was sorry and that didn't matter to her.  It was like we were total outsiders and not like your not from here outsiders like little ants crawling on the ground outsiders who just didn't matter to anybody that day.

As we continued our day to go get something to eat and then to other area's of the 63 building like the Sky Art and the wax museum the same nonsense just kept happening time after time.  Collin was ordering lunch and I was standing off to the side waiting and some guy ran right into me from behind, pushed me closer to the wall and then had to move over to get into line anyway.  When I was going to the restroom to change Audrey I had to ask people who were standing in line to part the way so I could get through.  They all looked at me like I was crazy!  I was polite and said excuse me but no one would move (yes they know the words excuse me) so I played their game.  I just held on tight to Audrey and pushed my way through.  At this point the gloves were off!  I told Collin at one point that I found it interesting that I didn't see any other Westerners all day.  Maybe the others just know to never go to the 63 building on a weekend.

After we got home it was agreed that no matter how frustrating the day had gotten at times, it was a good family day, fun going to knew places, and a very important lesson learned.  NEVER GO TO THE 63 BUILDING ON A SATURDAY!  We went to an amusement park on a Saturday and it wasn't even close to being that crazy.  People had respect!  At least I can sit here and smile about it now :)

We want to go to the trick eye museum next but.... just not on a Saturday!

 From 63 Floors up!


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