When in Rome… Err.. Seoul

Everything in Korea is exactly the same as it is in the States. There are no differences whatsoever. (sike!) This is our first of what will most likely turn out to be many posts about the things here that are different than what we are used to. God has a way of using cultural differences to make us more well rounded people (insert pregnant joke here). So, let’s begin.

As we have mentioned before, tipping is basically nonexistent in Korea (with the exception of food delivery, etc.). People do their jobs, and that’s that. Also, as we have mentioned before, it is customary to remove your shoes before entering homes and some public places. It is rude to wear your shoes indoors no matter how good you look in them. As a very pregnant lady at this point, I am making a conscious effort to wear slip ons, as reaching my feet is a skill I lost a few weeks back…

So on to a few new things we have noticed:


Koreans recycle everything; even in stores and in parks there are separate trashcans designated for specific items be it plastic, glass, cans, or apparently even small domestic animals…

You had a good run, Spot.

You had a good run, Spot.


You know the painted stripes in the road which divide traffic? Those are on sidewalks here, too.

Sir, can you please stay in your lane?

Sir, can you please stay in your lane?

Hand soap

We’ve had quite a difficult time finding hand soap for our bathrooms. We finally thought we had found some and bought two bottles of it, but come to find out it was just dish soap with a pump… sigh. There goes our silky soft hands.

Public restrooms

Mama always said, “Korean public restrooms are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” This is a photo of the inside of a stall in the ladies’ room at the family park near our apartment.

Oh, you needed a toilet? Will a hole in the floor due?

Oh, you needed a toilet? Will a hole in the floor due?

And apparently they don’t want you stealing their crappy public restroom soap. Isaac took this picture in a restroom along the river:

That blue thing on the bar coming out of the wall is the soap.

That blue thing on the bar coming out of the wall is the soap.


There are many stores that have roughly half of their produce on the street so people walking by can see what they have.


Need some eggplant? No? How about a watermelon?

We also have viewed some interesting practices of food safety…

How do you like your fish? On the street with flies on it, thanks.

How do you like your fish? On the street with flies on it, thanks.


Taxes are included already in the price you see at the store, so if it says a dollar, you pay a dollar. And like we said about tipping, food prices eating out may look really high, but taxes are included and you don’t tip, so it’s not bad.

We have found groceries in general to be a bit more pricey, especially fruit.

Just for fun

You may be interested to know that Asian Mr. Clean has hair.


Bosley for men got me great results!

Moving in

In a city like Seoul, most of the apartment complexes are high-rise towers, which makes moving in furniture a challenge, but they have a really cool way of getting furniture up to families’ homes.


Of all of the differences that we expected to encounter, brooms were not among our foremost concerns. Our broom is so tiny, Judah thinks it’s a toy. When we brought it home Judah assumed it was for him. Since we are right in the middle of teaching Judah about sharing (you’re welcome, Asher), we now have to wait our turn to use the broom to sweep the floor (I am not kidding).


Christmas list: one adult-size broom

I expect we will soon look like this:


That’s it for now…sending love from the future.


9 thoughts on “When in Rome… Err.. Seoul

  1. Continue scoping out where all the non squaty potty restrooms are for us! Lol I already knew about those but still terrified. I mean….there was this terrible incident when I was little where my older brothers were like sure you can go outside! Just squat! It didn’t work out so well and was traumatizing lol. Bet that might be fun for an almost due pregnant lady too!! Ha. Bless you. Loving your posts! And all the interesting quirks are great! Mr. Clean!! Ha because of course he would have a full head of hair lol. I think the Koreans must have some crazy good hair genes… Our one year old (sniffle) had a full head of hair at birth…and it’s now down to her shoulders almost…cray. Praying for you guys! Ha as you continue to transition to child size brooms, no hand soap, and shower curtain curtains. Oh and that furniture mover thing…pretty tenuous. Just watched the friends episode where Ross tried to move his couch up the stairs and ended up cutting it in half ha

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  2. Pingback: When in Seoul…  | Our Southern Seoul

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