Q: How has corona affected your life in Korea?
Things have changed a lot this year and because of these changes, some basic life things are a bit more difficult to do, but, even though we had to adjust to some things, I don’t think my life has changed drastically. In my opinion, Korea has done a good job of making some of the changes seem “normal” enough for me not to find it annoying. So, I thought I could list a couple of things that have changed since the virus.
When this past semester started again after the virus, we (the teachers at my school) had to stand by the door and give each kid a squirt of hand sanitizer and make sure every kid wore their masks. Thankfully, we had a fever machine that could detect whether or not the kids had fevers or not, but if that went down, we had to individually check that as well with a thermometer. However, by the end of the semester we had a hand sanitizer machine, and a thermometer machine so we didn’t have to worry about anything except making sure that the kids wore their masks in the classrooms. It can get a bit tiring for us and the kids to wear masks constantly, but we try to keep each other responsible. But with this humidity it’s really hard sometimes to wear the masks constantly. So whenever I’m alone in my classroom I take off my mask and only put it back on when I have students in the classroom that I have to teach. 😅
Since there are some issues with people going into public places without masks, a lot of stores have signs on their doors or in the entryway of the store saying that if customers don’t wear masks, they can’t shop in that store. In addition to that, the government sends out daily safety alerts reminding the public of the virus and to stay safe as well any other emergency they might think it’d be useful for people to be aware of. If there was a situation when someone got the virus, we get alerts notifying us of where the last few the places that person was, around what time they were there, what transportation method they took and a brief, kind of broad description of the person, like male, late 30’s etc. After this, they advise anyone who was in the infected area around the same time of that person to go to the nearest hospital and get checked if they notice any symptoms.
Whenever I go to the gym, dance academy, or take the bus, it is common to see most people wearing a mask. Where I live in Gwangju, you can spot a few people without their mask on, but when I went to Seoul for my vacation, everyone in the subway and in most places were wearing a mask. I don’t know if it was because the outbreak was really bad in Seoul when it first hit Korea, or if it’s because most of the population in Korea is in Seoul, but I think the rules are a bit stricter there. (Then this could just be my imagination. The rules could be the same everywhere and I just not know.. I’m not the most observant person in the world😅.)
For my summer break, I decided I wanted to get out of my house and get some traveling done but because of the virus, it was strongly advised not to leave Korea, so I did some local traveling to Yeosu and Seoul. I think the only major thing I found interesting during my travels, was that when I was in Yeosu, in order to eat breakfast, I had to check-in with my phone and wear gloves for the buffet after washing my hands. Oh, and masks had to be worn at all times of course. Nothing was vastly different for me in Seoul, except for the crowds of people.
Life during this pandemic has been challenging and it’s got me wondering how much of this will remain permanent when the worst of it is over. Honestly, this is the first time I’m going far away from my house since the outbreak came to Korea 8 months ago. Part of me is worried but a person can only stay sane for so long in self-confinement, especially when living alone. Traveling was never officially shut down here, I don’t think, and even now, many people roam public areas, keeping precautions in mind and trying their best to live normally. Well, at least I am. That’s all we can do, right? 🤷♀️
Can you believe 2020 is almost over? I felt that mine was largely spent behind the confines of 4 walls. Hopefully 2021 is different in a good way.
Until next time,
See ya around, friend~~