I have finally joined the rest of the civilized world and recently have acquired a smartphone. By recently I mean about two months ago. We have been in Korea since December and I decided that it was about time I get a phone. Al had gotten one from an old teacher a few months after we got here but I lazied about telling myself that I didn't need one. But as the months wore on and I started making some friends who I'd actually like to contact once in a while, I decided to schlep myself to SK Telecom. The way cell phones work here is that you don't pay the price of the phone up front like at home. The price of the phone is paid off in monthly installments in addition to your monthly plan for the duration of the contract. Therefore, the longer the contract the less you pay on the month. Apparently, a lot of foreigners sign up for the three year contract and then when they leave they pass on the contract to a newcomer to the country (or just close their bank accounts and hightail it out of here, but I think that's a little a-hole-y). So that's what I did. I have never in my life had a smartphone. I've usually had the cheapest phones available, including a Motorola RAZR for like 4 years. Once smart phones came about, we could never afford to get one and then we moved out of the country. Our school in Japan paid for us a cheapo phone so we didn't get one there and now that we're here, I decided it was about effing time I get my hands on one.
iPhone. I love you. Having the internet/Facebook/Pinterest anytime I want is amazing! Why didn't anyone tell me this! I always knew it was frustrating feeling like the only person ever who still had real buttons on my phone but I never in my life realize how much simpler a smartphone makes one's life. I'm determined not to let myself become Korean and have it surgically attached to my hand. I'm on it a lot but only in my downtime or if it dings or something. It's also extremely nice to be able to text friends from back home anytime I please without having to wait until I get on Facebook or skype. Fantastic. And don't even get me started on Instagram!
The weather is cooling down. :::sad face::: I know it's inevitable considering it's nearly October but it doesn't mean I want it to happen. It stays about 75 in the day and about 65 at night. Not too bad. We turned our air conditioner off a few weeks ago and just keep the windows open. There have been a few too-hot days where we've turned it back on but overall it stays pretty comfy in here. We left it full blast for about 2 months straight 24/7 and our bill for one of those months was roughly $376. Yikes. Koreans (all Asians, really) refuse to turn on the air conditioner until it's absolutely necessary and then scarcely use it because of the high cost. No way. I'd rather pay out the rear for cool comfortable bliss when it's 100+ outside. Also, there is no insulation in any building. None. Zero. So you're either sweltering or freezing in your own home because of it. If you turn the heat/air conditioner too high you pay for it because it just seeps out. Problem solved by insulating buildings? Nah. Too logical. I could go on and on about the insulation issue...I'll spare you.
As mentioned in my titled, KOREA IS GROSS. I don't know why I've never written about this before. I could dedicate pages upon pages about the uncleanliness of this place. I've always noticed it, always cringed, perhaps it's the fact that I could be escaping here within a matter of six months so it's bothering me more, but either way, it's nasty. For the most part, I'm very open and accepting of a new country. I try and understand their way of life and take it all in stride. But there is something to say about straight out filth. I don't know which country is highest for litter but Korea should be well at the top. Let's compare Japan and Korea for a sec. Neither country have (has? have?) trashcans anywhere (I have a Japan post about the lack of them) and yet Japan is a spectacularly clean country. Korea is buried under litter. I asked my kids if they throw their trash on the ground and they said yes. I asked why and they said, "because there aren't any trash cans". Again, a huge issue with a very simple solution. Put insulation in buildings. Put trashcans on the street. Then there is the spitting dilemma. Korean men spit like there's no tomorrow. They spit anywhere and everywhere. And by everywhere I mean also indoors. I've seen them spit in lobby of my building, in department stores and one time a man spat right next to me in the elevator. It's so gross. I even slipped on some in the subway station before. Disgusting.
Moving on. Koreans do not flush toilet paper. Yes, you heard me correctly. You put it in the designated trash can next to you in the stall. I'm not joking. An open trash can. No lid. For all to see. It doesn't matter if you are on your period or just took a huge dump, you don't flush it. Just the other day there was a bloody pad (they don't use tampons) stuck to the side of the can with the soaking red paper inside. I about barfed. I see it on a regular basis. This one of those things that, I'm sorry to say, I do not abide by. A friend told me that back in the day Korean plumbing couldn't handle the toilet paper so that's where it started. People continue not flushing it today even though a lot of the plumbing is updated and modernized. All I can say is I'm not putting bloody toilet paper in a garbage can
Well, that was my rant of the day. Have a good one!