Cultural Tidbits

Cultural Tidbit #1 – No blessings for you.

Hey all. There’s a lot going on in my life right now, and I’ve only been here for 2 weeks!! 

I’m going to be writing a series of smaller, more frequent, “cultural tidbit” posts. I hope you enjoy them! To keep up with my life in pictures, check out my Facebook album “I’ve got Seoul but I’m not a Seouldier.” (For anyone who gets The Killers reference, you get a Choco Pie.) Here goes nothing!

Something that we Americans take for granted but would never think it: God bless you’s.

No, seriously. Do you know how awkward it is for you to sneeze and have there be silence afterwards? There’s no saying for “bless you” or “God bless you” in this country. It’s awful. And the constant struggle to have to refrain from saying anything after a Korean or Asian (i.e. my entire Chinese student inhabiting Korean class – see previous post) sneezes.

I have a very loud, high pitched, exploding sneeze. It’s super fitting for my small frame. Not. “I sing like an alto and sneeze like a soprano.” No, really. I got a customized superlative from my women’s chorus back at Ohio State saying exactly that. My co-worker once told me that I could scare small children with my sneeze. “No,” I replied, “I can scare any-sized child with this sneeze.” Cute. I think you get the point. Anyways, if anything, while in Korea, I get the same surprised, knee-jerk reactions as I do in the States. But no “bless you’s”. It’s so unsatisfying, you have no idea.

Well, folks, I had a breakthrough this morning in my 120+ Political Psychology class, which is taught in English. We have a Korean teacher, and in the middle of his lecture, I let out a startling sneeze. Everything grew silent, the teacher looked at me, and it happened. He said “God bless you”! I almost cried, it was beautiful. And he’s Korean!!! Ok, I’m being dramatic, but seriously, it was awesome. *Victory!* I’d also like to point out that I’m the only one in the class that got a “bless you” and there were plenty more sneezes throughout the period. My embarrassing, yet entertaining (I guess) sneeze has crossed cultural boundaries. Ladies and gents, I am ChristinAmazing.




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