All posts tagged: Culture

Arrival in Nice

What started out as a train ride through the dirty outskirts of Paris quickly turned into rolling hills and small villages tucked up against mountains, green fields and white houses with red roofs. Before I knew it though, I looked out the window to see steeper hills and cliffs, with houses and villages build right into the faces, overlooking valleys and the Mediterranean Sea. Greenery turned from crops to palm trees, and houses from white to hues of pink and yellow. We had made it to the coast. I didn’t appreciate when I bought my ticket that we would be making five stops along the way to Nice—and because of the stops instead of making for Nice in a straight line, we basically went straight south from Paris and then for the last hour made our way along the coast. Between my jet lag and lack of sleep, I thought I would spend the first half of the journey being productive with things like blogging and eating and, okay, also watching TV on my computer, …

The Pressure of Envy: Countdown to France

For those of you who have traveled for extensive periods of time I am sure you have heard your fair share of “Oh you are going to have the most amazing time! I am so jealous! You are so courageous to be doing this all by yourself! I wish I had traveled like this when I was your age!” and to be honest, I’ve said some of these phrases more than once myself. Its just what you do, right? When someone mentions they are moving abroad you ask where they are going, you ask if they are nervous, you mention something about how cool they are, and then you express your envy and jealousy about either where they are going or what kind of person they are. That is just how polite conversations work. Its not really socially acceptable to say “oh my god aren’t you afraid that you will miss your connecting flight, get ripped off by a taxi driver who doesn’t speak your native language, get mugged on the street since you will stick …

한국문화: 2차 (The Korean Culture of “Second Round”)

In Korea there is something called 2차. No, not 2차 like 2 teas or two cars, but 2차 like second round…of dinner/drinking/playing/something social. I didn’t really understand it when I first came to Korea, but yesterday the weirdest thing happened to me which made me realize I had fully adapted to Korea life: I was sad to be going back to my dorm at 11:30pm and was looking for people to hang out with. After all, I had only been to 1차 with one friend group and it was a Friday…life not complete right? Three months ago I would have been dragging my poor legs, dreaming of a hot shower, alone time, and my pjs. But present day, somehow extraverted and enjoying it me, was baffled as to why I would be returning so early when it was prime time to spend with friends. What I have learned about and have grown accustomed to in Seoul though, is that even if you just make plans to have dinner–even if dinner is at 5:00 or 6:00–you …

Making Annecy Home

The first week after I arrived in France I was surprisingly lonely. I thought I would be enveloped into the social lives of students at my school, and that my school would have lots of activities for me to participate in to keep my mind off all the changes taking place. Additionally, I am introverted and take pleasure from solitary activities, and in fact I quite like traveling alone and independently—doing what I want on my time table. But as I walked around Annecy, getting to know the town and French culture, I realized that so much of what happens in the city is meant to be done with family or friends or loved ones. Want to get some coffee? Grab a friend and head over to your local cafe for a quick espresso break, and sit at the store while you sip and talk. Weather is nice? Perfect for a picnic with friends on the lawn next to Lac d’Annecy. Want to do anything on Sunday? Get in the car with your family and …

Eating like the French and the Beginnings of Culture Shock

Dinner last night was an event. I ate dinner Saturday night on the airplane, ate breakfast Sunday on the airplane…and then I was in route or sleeping or meeting my host family…so suddenly in the evening I realized I was hungry and hadn’t eaten in a long time. Just as I was about to text my mom to complain about not eating and not being sure that dinner was actually going to happen (ok yes, you caught me, I was hiding in my room and trying to discern whether the noises from outside my door were the noises of cooking or just people moving about the apartment), my host mom called me in to eat. At 8:15pm. Apparently that is typical, and will be the time for dinner most nights. By this time of night it was just my host mom, my host brother, and me. If I heard correctly, the others in the family that had descended upon the house earlier in the day when I first arrived actually live father away and just …

すごいね、日本語: Hidden Meaning and Translation

先週日本語を勉強したかったのでカフェに行った。これは普通なことだ。今日本語の能力試験のため勉強しているので、毎日ぐらい単語や漢字など少し勉強している。 カフェに行って、教科書を開けて、ちょっと読んで。。。 え? 日本語の会話を分かったけど、英語の翻訳のところを読んで、ちょっと。。。 日本語で、特に話す時に、一つのことを言うけど、他の意味とか他の言語で他の意味がある。 例えば”おじゃまします”という表現は本当に面白いと思う。他人の家に入る時にこの表現を使う。聞いたこともあるし、使ったこともあるし、表現の感じを分かるけど、ほんとうの意味あまり分からない。 他人は”よくいらっしゃいました。どうぞおあがりください”とか”いらっしゃいました、どうぞ”を言ったら、その人の家を入りながら、”おじゃまします”で答える。英語でそいう会話を翻訳したら、他人は”Welcome! Please come in!”という感じを言って、家を入りながら、”Thanks for having me”で答えるかもしれない。 でも。 私の教科書で”おじゃまします”の翻訳は”thank you”だけで書いている。でも”ありがとう”という表現と全然違う。