Q: How has living in Korea affected and changed you as an individual?

You know the sayings, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you who you are” and “You are what you eat”? I used to think that these sayings were fibs. I mean, I’m the only one who can decide my fate, right? But, as my wise mother warned me in so many words, influence is silent but deadly, and I can definitely attest now that your surroundings will definitely change you.

I came here with an open mind but I never really had the intention to change who I was as an individual. However, in an attempt to connect to the people around me and acclimate to their culture, I have definitely changed. I don’t think it’s been in big ways, but small change matters as much as the big ones, right?

So, I thought it’d be fun today to go through some of the ways I have adjusted my lifestyle and personality to fit in the area where I am currently. Take a break from all these adulting thoughts that are swimming around in my head. But not for long… time waits for no man. I’ll revisit my adulting segment, I promise!

Some ways in which I’ve changed:

#1: I’ve become more impatient.

This is not a change that I’m exactly proud of. I mean one of my selling traits for marriage was that I was patient. How am I supposed to get married now, Mom?! That was my one marriageable trait. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I couldn’t even type that with a straight face. No, but in all honesty, Korea, though a tiny country, is a fast country. Maybe it’s because it’s a small country that it can afford to do everything so quickly🧐. For example, here there is next day delivery. You can order products you want on a site called Coupang (it’s like the Amazon of Korea), and if the products fall under rocket delivery you can get it the very next day. What’s even more amazing is if you order produce, it will come early the next morning. So by the time you wake up, it’s there at your door first thing in the morning ready for you to eat. Because of these conveniences, however, Koreans tend to be a bit more impatient and don’t like waiting and I think it’s starting to rub off on me. πŸ˜”

#2: I focus better in cafes.

Btw, this NOT inside the 24/7 cafe I mention. This is just a random cafe I was in.

In an earlier post, I talked about the cafe culture in Korea and how it’s a big thing here. If you haven’t had a chance to read it or don’t remember what I talked about, go check out the post Social Cultures Pt.1 (Cafes). Anyways, moving past my shameless plug, I’m finding that this aspect of Korean culture is definitely growing on me. Recently, I find that I can no longer focus inside the comfort of my home and if I have something that I need to get done, I go to a cafe. Expensive? Yes.. but so worth it. The other day I went on morning walk around 5 am and found a 24/7 cafe! I was ecstatic. I mean, it’s insanely expensive (like 6 bucks for a smoothie) but once a week should be fine, right? This is an investment in my mental health and future happiness. It’ll be worth it in the long run. πŸ˜‰

#3: I defaultly respond in Korean.

One of my co-workers the other day pointed this out to me and I found it hilarious. It’s no secret that I wish to get better at Korean. So naturally, I put in the hours to study the language and hang out with a lot of Koreans to familiarize myself with the natural way it is spoken. I guess I’ve been doing this emergence language thing correctly because most of my initial reactions and thoughts are in Korean. There is nothing wrong with this, but I thought it was interesting how in an effort to learn Korean, I’ve picked up the habits and expressions of my friends and other Koreans around me. That doesn’t include the baby “aegio” voice they do. I’m not about that life.

#4: My style and accessory choices have changed.

Before moving here, I was told that it would be hard for me to find clothes because Koreans are tiny. Personally, I haven’t found that to be an issue. Most of the clothes fit me pretty well, the only issue is the style of the clothes. I think in general Koreans all dress pretty similar to one another. Like you can be walking down the street and see someone wearing this nice outfit and a few minutes later you think you see the same person again but it’s really another person with the same exact or similar outfit. I’m not saying you coincidentally run into one person, no, no, you may run into 10, 20, or more people wearing the same or similar things, ESPECIALLY, if that outfit is in season. Because of this uniformed-type style, it’s hard to find something that expresses my personality as I would like to express it. It’s not that big of a deal for me though. I mean, let’s face it, back in America I didn’t have much of a fashion style. I think I have definitely grown this aspect while living here. I tend to dress up and take care of my outer appearance more before leaving my apartment than I did before.

Side note: I think the hardest thing for me to find here is shoes. Man, Korean women have incredibly small feet! If I want to buy shoes in the store I have to get unisex or men’s shoes. And trust me, there’s nothing remotely feminine about those. I haven’t ventured to shop online for shoes yet, (I heard that it was the best option for women with my feet size here)so I don’t own a pair of girly shoes besides the ones that I brought over. But it’s whatever. Oh! I’ve also started experimenting with different accessories to complete my look in the morning. I don’t know, I find that taking this extra time in the morning has helped with my self-confidence and how I feel about myself. It’s simple self-love, y’all.

#5: I have become interested in body and self care.

While living here, I have gotten more into health and facial care. I’ve gone to get facials and find products that are the best for my face and skin. I mean, I am in Korea so I might as well make use of its beauty community while I’m here. But don’t worry, I haven’t gotten plastic surgery or done anything surgical to myself yet. I also became more active in just trying out different things like dancing, volleyball, hiking, and going to the gym. Just trying to more active and health-conscious all around. I think later I’ll get into the food aspect of it. I’m still not ready for those chef lessons yet. Maybe in a few more months?

As I said before, I’ve changed in small ways nothing too drastic. These could also be contributed to the fact that I’m growing up but I definitely think some of these particular changes can be attributed to the fact that I’m living here. There are probably more ways in which I’ve changed that I may not have noticed yet but as long as I keep a level-head and surround myself with good people, I’ll be fine.


I guess we’ll know in time.

Until next time,

See ya around, friend~~^^

Posted by:ThatKoreanLife

2 replies on “#13- Change

  1. This was really great Julena, excellent read and very interesting to learn the subtle ways that you’ve changed since being there. I also laughed several times too haha πŸ˜‚πŸ‘ Loved it!


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