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  • Writer's pictureKate

What is your Cultural Journey?

What is your cultural journey? How do you discover and embrace a different culture?

I was in South Korea in 2018 and one day was walking along the streets of Gwangju with my partner, who is Korean. It was about 9 A.M. and street vendors were just setting up stalls. Then as we walked pass this pancake shop, the aroma of the pancakes somehow got to me. In the cold February morning air, they smelled really good so I insisted that we must try.

My partner then went to speak to the lady who was preparing these and after about a minute of exchanges in Korean, she then paid 600 Won (AUD 0.75), we got a piece of that hot, sweet pancake. But I thought that sign said three pieces for 1500 Won, so one should have been 500 Won, no? Ten cents different was nothing but I was truly intrigued, especially the minute-long conversation for what should have been a simple transaction.

As we walked away she explained to me two rather cultural beliefs that were alien to me:

First - It is not a great thing when your first customer for the day is a lady (Wow)

Second - If you are buying something from a vendor as a first customer, you don't buy only one. It was bad luck to them. So you need to buy more than one. A premium might apply to do a workaround. In this case, a mere ten cents.

Just when you think you know a culture, nothing beats seeing what takes place on the ground. What are your experiences?

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