Cultural Musings · Food · Korea

My daily dose of cultural musing…

This is the Hauzen SEW-6HR122L.

A pretty fancy machine, it even plays a tune at the beginning and end of each load.  The tune is kind of a cross between an old Gameboy game and a funky synthesizer ditty my brother’s old Casio keyboard used to play.  The Hauzen was a bargaining chip used in our negotiations for the apartment.  We’d take the apt. if the landlord gave us a washer/dryer and a dresser and armoire.  I think we made out on the deal.  However the Hauzen is a washer/dryer combo, all in one machine.  Not only is this would-be wonderful feature a nuisance it is downright irritating.  Why you ask?  It’s any American’s fantasy, it seems so unassuming, so spacesaving, so all-in-one.  Yes, well, this American likes to multi-task.  I like to do 12 things at once, my brain works better that way.  I can eat breakfast, chat online with Mom, write thank you notes, prepare packages to be shipped, check email, and do laundry all at the same time.  The Hauzen, like most Koreans, does not multi-task, it doesn’t wash and dry simultaneously like our clunky American machines do.  You have to wait for a full load to wash (cycle lasting 1 hour and 12 minutes, yikes) before you can dry (minimum 2 hours).

This leads me to my cultural musing of the day:  Koreans do not multi-task.  I know we Americans have made a hobby out of multi-tasking because we are always going a mile a minute and 60% (not a necessarily accurate statistic) of our kids have ADD (myself included, self-diagnosis, of course).  But Koreans, like Europeans, do not rush for anything unless driving like maniacs.  They do not eat and walk, meals are an event here.  I guess a table needs to be involved when you have 12 different kimchi dishes.  Even fast food is slow here.  At McDonald’s you order your food and then sit down and wait for them to call you about 20 min. later after separately preparing all the items from your order.  They don’t even kill two birds with one stone, metaphorically speaking.  Our realtor, Miss Sue, didn’t want our money for rent and security deposit all at once, she wanted half a week later, a completely separate transaction.  So I am on a hunt for observations of Koreans multi-tasking.  I will find it if it takes all year.

Oh and I did find a street food I like – today, at another outdoor market on the way home from base.  I guess they happen every 4 days also,this being the 24th.  This one was even bigger than the other one.  It was called hoteok and it is a spoonful of brown sugar filling added to the center of a round piece of dough which is then pressed into a flat round pancake and fried like burger patties on a heavily oiled pan griddle.  Doesn’t it just sound scrumptious?  While searching for info online about my new favorite Korean street food, l found this blog  although some aspects are slightly outdated, namely his currency exchange rates, it has a lot of interesting food info.

So ends my musing today – I am sure I will have more tomorrow.  I am heading to the Kindergarten school tomorrow for my presentations about learning English.  Tomorrow’s theme is fruit.  I was thinking of picking up an orange on the way to school, drawing a face on it and using it as a puppet.  We’ll see, fruit as a puppet teacher may be an effective educational tool.

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One thought on “My daily dose of cultural musing…

  1. Melanie, I didn’t know you were so funny. Your comments are hilarious. I hope the orange puppet was for the 6 year olds and not the 16 year olds. How does a Korean family of 10 do their laundry if one load takes 3 hours to wash and dry? It looks like your brother will be joining you soon in Korea. I’m not sure he’ll appreciate waiting 20 minutes to get a hamburger at McDonalds. Do Koreans walk around and talk on cell phones at the same time like we do in America? Take care and send my love to Joe. Love, Dad

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