It's easy to become frustrated. You're running late to work, you spill your coffee, you can't find your keys--and then your car doesn't start. Imagine all of this AND you can't communicate even semi-fluently with anyone in your country.
Korean culture can be trying at times. There's so much I've had to change about my thinking and expectations--and some things I haven't quite changed yet, such as:
I don't like kimchi.
I can't deal very much with Korean spicy foods.
I know about 20 words/phrases in Korean.
My students remind me every day that I am single. ("Teacher, no husband, why?")
People stare, point, and talk about me (all in Korean).
There is no true Mexican food here.
There is no Chipotle here.
American pizza is hard to come by.
My students ask me why I am white. (I don't understand this one.)
My friends are getting married and having babies and I can't see them because I am here.
Pollution here totally sucks. (And makes me sick...;(
My friends asked me if I am fluent in Korean yet. (No...?)
I've learned to take a step back and see that it's not "Korean" culture. Or even "American" culture. People are people, no matter where in the world.
A baby's giggle.
A lover's glance.
Friends laughing over inside jokes.
The sheer joy of eating ice cream on a hot day.
A child crying when he doesn't see his mom in sight
Girls shopping for clothes.
A couple playing peek-a-boo with their little baby.
The frustration of missing the bus.
Boys playing soccer with all of their might.
The "clink" of a bat when it meets a baseball.
An exchanged smile, even when you don't speak the same language.
The "ahhhhhhhh" sound when one takes the first sip of coffee.
Being nervous to move to another country. (America to Korea AND Korea to America.)
Singing a worship song in your native tongue while others sing in their language.
And smiling biggest of all when you remember that every tribe, every nation, every tongue will one day sing and worship around the throne of God together.
It's easy to become frustrated and harder to see the beauty in culture. But the benefits seem to outweigh the hard work.