Differences between Korea and Belgium

To commemorate the start of my 8th month in Korea I decided to write a little post for my dear friends and family in Belgium!

Free water

It’s one of the things I love most about South-Korean food culture! You always get free water when eating in a restaurant. Same for the side dishes, you can always get free refills. Aren’t you jealous, my dear fellow Belgians? 😉

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Public toilets

First of all, they are everywhere. In every train station, subway station, bus terminal, almost every park, every rest stop along the highway, etc. Secondly, they are almost always clean and well-maintained. And last but not least, you NEVER have to pay any money to use a public toilet. 50 cents like they do in the movie theater or the train station? Forget it! It’s always free. 😉

Designated seats for old people and pregnant women

Every subway carriage has special seats for older people, people with handicaps, people with young children and pregnant women. As you can see in the picture below, busses also have these special seats. The yellow seats are for Korea’s senior citizens, the pink seats are for pregnant women. Respect for the elderly is an important part of Korean culture and as Korea faces a rapidly aging population, I definitely love these ideas. (On the other hand, it does seem like Korea’s social safety net could still use some improvements.)

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Crazy city busses

One of the things I dislike about Korea is the way Korean bus drivers drive. You thought that taking the bus in Belgium is crazy? I can assure you that Korea’s driving culture is 10 times worse. Up, down, left right, suddenly hitting the breaks… I honestly think I might just die one day while taking the bus! Taking a city bus is also quite challenging if you don’t speak Korean well. It is difficult to find any explanation in English and most busses have no specific time schedule.

Well-organized inter-city busses

Taking an intercity bus however, isn’t nearly as scary as taking a city bus. In fact I never had any bad experiences! You buy a ticket at the bus terminal, you wait for the bus at the right platform, you scan your ticket or show it to the driver, you take a seat (seat number is indicated on your ticket) and off you go. The busses are almost always on time and because there are special bus-only lanes on the highway, taking the bus is sometimes faster than going by car! I love taking Korean intercity busses! Wish they had such a good system in Belgium.

Impossible to find unsweetened snacks

I’m telling you, even the “normal” western style snacks are slightly sweetened. My Korean friends say they can’t taste it, but I definitely do. It is extremely frustrating ㅠㅠ I want my normal pringles!

Expensive meat

Meat is so expensive in Korea. Especially beef. Two weeks ago I made a nice bulgogi at home and I payed almost W10’000 (approximately 8 euros) for merely 200g. ㅠㅠ However, finding meat substitutes isn’t the easiest thing either, as Korea is still quite new to vegetarianism.

Cheap oysters

You cannot imagine how cheap oysters are in Korea! I made a little trip to Boryeong (west coast) and I ate so many oysters that I nearly got sick. (No worries, I didn’t actually get sick)
It was delicious and not expensive at all compared to Belgium!

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Mountains! Everywhere you look!

Okay, to some people this might seem like a rather dumb thing… but for a country girl from Flanders, seeing mountains is something special. That’s why every time I look out of my window or walk to school, I’m still amazed by all the beautiful mountains that surround me! Although I adore “le plat pays qui est le mien”, seeing the sun disappear behind the hills just makes me tear up every time.

Being attacked by church people

While I was living in Belgium, I didn’t care about religion that much. Some of my friends consider themselves christian, others muslim and I’m an atheist. Me and my friends never really cared or paid much attention to religion. Churches in Korea however, are crazy! They approach you while you do your grocery shopping or while you wait for the bus. They hand out leaflets and free little gifts (eg. tissues or hot packs) and use all kind of tricks to get you in their church. Plus, there are sooo many different churches and they all just try to get more members and more money. I despise these churches so much! I don’t care about your religion, just LEAVE ME ALONE! Or else I will start telling you about our holy Flying Spaghetti Monster 😉 R’amen!

Ending my post with this rather sensitive topic might not have been the best idea, but well… 😛
Anyway, although I’m missing everyone in Belgium (and neighbouring countries) so much, I’m really having a blast here in Korea! Let me know what you think about these differences and come visit me so that you can experience it first-hand! ❤

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Introducing: Geomungo Factory

Hey everyone!!!
Today I want to introduce a great Korean group called Geomungo Factory to all of you. The four members use traditional Korean instruments (geomungo and gayageum) to create amazing contemporary music.

You can find more information about them by clicking the following link: sonicbirds.com

20131121001485I went to their concert in Brussels and I was simply blown away by their performance! They were so so good! I really couldn’t get enough of it! The sounds Geomungo Factory created that evening were so beautiful and deep and they really touched my heart.

Because the four members all have their own style and they all like different kinds of music, their songs are creative mixes of different musical genres. It was difficult to decide which song to chose for this post, but I think “Fly to the Sky“, “Geomungo&Tango” and “Bluebird” are all so great and can serve as a lovely introduction to these amazing artists.

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Korea’s Dangerous Car-First Mentality

I found this interesting article about Korea’s car first mentality (which – in my opinion – is completely true). The Urban Observer is critical but proposes solutions at the same time. Worth reading for sure!

The Urban Observer

One of the first things I noticed about Korea was its enormous inner-city streets and aggressive drivers. While the typical avenue in New York City will have about six lanes – these days with one possibly reserved for buses only and another for short-term parking and deliveries- Seoul and its surrounding satellite cities have major arterial roads that surpass ten lanes with two directional traffic. Despite pedestrian lights it makes crossing the street daunting for the most able-bodied humans, let alone the elderly and disabled. Worst of all are the drivers. They not only act like kings of the city, they are treated like royalty as well.

Crosswalks are viewed by Korean drivers as little more than decorative paint on the street. Cars rarely stop or even slow down when they approach one and they certainly don’t yield to pedestrians even if they are halfway through crossing. Most people here…

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3 Days Quote Challenge – Day 3

I got nominated for a 3 days Quote challenge by sweet Jham from honeycrunch321.wordpress.com. Do check out her great blog!

For this quote challenge I decided to stick to a certain theme: I will share with you 3 of my quotes from the book “Memoirs of a Geisha“. It is one of my favourite books and I really suggest you to read it! ❤ The story is so good and I love Arthur Golden’s writing style!

Here is my quote for day 3.

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“We lead our lives like water flowing down a hill, going more or less in one direction until we splash into something that forces us to find a new course.”

◊ Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha ◊

Feel free to check out my other two quotes: Day 1 and Day 2 🙂

Here are the rules I got:

  1. Post 3 quotes on 3 consecutive days.
  2. Thank the person who nominated you.
  3. Nominate new bloggers each single day of the challenge.

And today I nominate: Alexa from The Princess Life and Miseol from A Sweet Chili Love!!! Check out their great blogs!

3 Days Quote Challenge – Day 2

I got nominated for a 3 days Quote challenge by sweet Jham from honeycrunch321.wordpress.com. Do check out her great blog!

For this quote challenge I decided to stick to a certain theme: I will share with you 3 of my quotes from the book “Memoirs of a Geisha“. It is one of my favourite books and I really suggest you to read it! ❤ The story is so good and I love Arthur Golden’s writing style!

Here is my quote for day 2.

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“Adversity is like a strong wind. I don’t mean just that it holds us back from places we might otherwise go. It also tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that afterward we see ourselves as we really are, and not merely as we might like to be.”

◊ Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha ◊

Here are the rules I got:

  1. Post 3 quotes on 3 consecutive days.
  2. Thank the person who nominated you.
  3. Nominate new bloggers each single day of the challenge.

And today I nominate : JC from A Love Journey Begins Here and Ree from Walks and Wonder!!!

3 Days Quote Challenge – Day 1

I got nominated for a 3 days Quote challenge by sweet Jham from honeycrunch321.wordpress.com. Do check out her great blog!

For this quote challenge I decided to stick to a certain theme: I will share with you 3 of my quotes from the book “Memoirs of a Geisha“. It is one of my favourite books and I really suggest you to read it! ❤ The story is so good and I love Arthur Golden’s writing style

Here is my quote for day 1.

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“Grief is a most peculiar thing; we’re so helpless in the face of it. It’s like a window that will simply open of its own accord. The room grows cold, and we can do nothing but shiver. But it opens a little less each time, and a little less; and one day we wonder what has become of it.”

◊ Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha ◊

 

 

Here are the rules I got:

  1. Post 3 quotes on 3 consecutive days.
  2. Thank the person who nominated you.
  3. Nominate 3 new bloggers each single day of the challenge.

And today I nominate :

Sheryl (Thoughts of SheryL) and Andrea (Always Fire and Honey)!!!