Pet Cafes and Dancing Grocers.

Since we’ve been here in Gwangju I feel like I’ve been living in this state of excitement and feeling out-of-place.  It is so exciting to be in a new culture and experience the differences in life that a new country brings.  For instance, BreeAnn and I were in Home Plus yesterday when a song started and one of the employees, an older woman, started dancing.  Mainly they were just some hand actions, but she was still fun to watch.  BreeAnn tried to act like nothing out-of-the-ordinary was happening, and she continued shopping, but I had no problem staring and smiling.  Then my eye caught another employee down the aisle, doing the same dance.  And another. And another.  There is no telling exactly how many employees were dancing because it is three floors and filled with aisles, but I tried to run to an open area to catch as many as I could.  Earlier that day I had discovered my phone was missing (a big bummer) but I couldn’t help but smile at all the people dancing in unison.  It felt like we were caught in the middle of a flash mob.

Later that night we met up with some of the other EPIK teachers downtown.  We had heard rumor of a cafe where you can pet dogs and cats while you sip your coffee.  After walking up a flight of stairs we entered the cafe and were greeted by almost a dozen animals sniffing and wagging.  Many of them with dyed ears, paws, pinned back hair, and wearing miniature outfits.  BreeAnn and I really love animals, and since we can’t have one quite yet, it was a nice way to get our puppy/kitty fix… even if the sanitation of such establishments is questionable at best.  Next up on our list, Coffee and Cats.  Yes, you read that correctly.

There is also this overwhelming feeling that I don’t fit in.  As much as I want to eat at a restaurant or order a coffee with cream, I can’t communicate.  In so many ways I am like a child here that can only make sounds and motions of things that I need or want.  I think about my nephew Elliot who tries so hard to communicate (and usually Sarah knows what he wants) but just doesn’t have the vocabulary to tell us.  The thing is that Korean people have been so kind and patient with us.  And if we were somewhere else that didn’t accept us, this transition would be even harder.  Instead we have neighbors who help us change our code on our door, a land lord who helped us fix our hot water, and co-teachers that support us.

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6 Responses to Pet Cafes and Dancing Grocers.

  1. those photos are RIDICULOUS! too funny. and yes, we got our yorkie at a legit pet shop. you can too ^_^

  2. john and caryn cowger says:

    Amazing and exciting!

  3. Abby says:

    Ok, I am looking at these cat and dog pictures now at work and cracking up. I’m sure my coworkers think I am nuts. I was picturing something totally different in my head. Love it! :)

  4. Linda turner says:

    Caryn just sent me your blog (which I promptly sent on to Samantha and Sebastian) and I can’t tell you how exciting it is to read your true adventure story! We all love how the two of you are putting yourself out in the world, living and working in a totally foreign environment, having to learn from scratch how to make it work when you are the outsider. What a learning experience this will be! Quite life-changing, to say the least. Each day will get more comfortable as you encounter things for a second and third and fourth time. Your routine will develop. You are both brave and your students are lucky to have you.

    Aunt Linda

  5. Wow – how funny about the grocery store! I wonder if it’s like our version of the Macarena or Thriller – a famous song that has an even more fam0us dance? That’s hilarious, I think getting caught in a flash mob could even be more fun that participating in one.

    You made such a great point about the frustration behind communication there. I talk to a lot of people every day at my job and it’s easy to get frustrated when communication isn’t easy at first. I take for granted how easy it is to communicate here in the US, this reminds me to be more patient with people I come into contact with and I are having trouble.

  6. Amanda says:

    I am dying looking at these animal photos. Thank you for sharing about your time in Korea– you guys are both incredible writers and it’s like you’re taking us along the journey with you.

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