Koreanisms: Candles, Wet Tissues, and Slippers

“Mel, does the cake have all those awesome tall candles? I love those.”

I received this text from my friend back in the States when I apologized for not being responsive on an iMessage thread because I was at a birthday party. That was when I realized that tall candles are either non-existent or not common in America. Whoaaaaa. The more time that goes by, the more I forget what is Korean and what is American. Which is why I am on post 3 of Koreanisms, I want to enjoy the quirks of Korea, while remembering what is really ONLY Korean. So when I go back home I am not walking around wearing a face mask while searching for funny typos in menus. I still remember telling my sister once that I was so excited because the next day was a red day. Her response was, “What is a red day?” Ohhhhh, those aren’t something we have in America? My bad.

Anyway, back to the candles. The most recent picture I have of “those awesome tall candles” is from Isaac’s birthday, where we went to all you can eat Brazilian BBQ, I felt that a cake might be too much for everyone to eat, and settled with bringing a mini chocolate muffin. But we still had to have candles…

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I was at Tom N Tom’s last night/way too early this morning, a popular coffee ship here in Korea, oh and this Christmas when I was in San Fran I saw one there too! It was exciting. Anyway… I paused for a moment before eating my pretzel, remembering when my friend told me that she can’t eat her food now without having a wet tissue (also known as a moist towelette) because Korea has spoiled her like that. I LOVE THESE. And it’s true, when I go home I am often looking for the wet tissue to make my hands feel so fresh n clean before I eat my food.

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Lastly, on this latest post of Koreanisms… I want to talk about slippers. This is something that really confused me when I first came to Korea. Koreans wear super nice heels and dress shoes to work, and then change into “inside shoes”. Which are not nice. My students have shoes to change into once they get to school. The main reason is because of the floors. Korea isn’t the land of carpeted floors, and most houses are entirely wooden floors. YOU NEVER wear your outdoor shoes in your apartment. I grew up always taking my shoes off at home. But going to school, or church, or restaurants, taking your shoes off was never a requirement, or heard of really. I was very intrigued the first time I saw a row of shelves filled with indoor slippers you could borrow after you took off shoes.

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I didn’t have a picture of any rows of inside shoes/slippers. So I took a picture of my bathroom shoes and my house slippers (which are way too big for my baby feet).

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2 thoughts on “Koreanisms: Candles, Wet Tissues, and Slippers

  1. Nice post! I’ve been living in Busan for a number of years and can relate to adapting to weird things. I blog with a bunch of people at Sweet Pickles and Corn, and I’m always trying to connect with other Korea-based bloggers. My recent post may be of interest to you: it’s about a (badly) botched attempt to communicate with a pharmacist many years ago. If you have a minute, drop by and check it out. Good luck!

  2. First, please email or message me, what IS a red day!? Haha! Also, the slipper thing is European too, but maybe not to the “Korean” extreme. But, Dom also wears “slippers” (crocs) around the house and he brings them when we go to other people’s homes too!

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