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There : Surprise, It’s Korea!

May 12, 2008 Leave a comment

The thing about Koreans is that they seemingly lack foresight. It’s not entirely true, or untrue. But in a given situation, they will react far later than the average American is used to. Take, for example, my situation. I was going to leave Korea on May 15th. This basically boiled down to leaving Pohang on the 14th. So, on the evening of the 10th I got several fairly insistent calls that I really should stay in Korea. Sunlin was willing to foot the cost to change my plane ticket and everything. They have asked me to stay until around the end of the month, so that I can be involved in some different things. This is both an honor and an inconvenience.
The inconvenience is because they had something like 6 months of placidly knowing my departure date, only to choose to react as I was leaving. I’d already set up things for the flight back. Additionally, this, like many things asked by social superiors, is not so much a question as a command. Or, at least, an expectation. Younger Korean people have this far worse than we foreigners do; and I would say that where elders have to ask us, they all but tell Korean young adults what they are volunteering to do.
But make no mistake, this is also a blessing, and one I am glad for. I wouldn’t expect most American colleges to even react at all (or to react and not pay for my ticket). I’m flattered, and glad I could spend some more time in Korea. It isn’t a bad thing, but it isn’t a comfortable thing, either. And these situations are far from rare, here.

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Categories: Being There