Living in my own apartment, where I slept in my own room, cooked my own food, drove my own car, and kept my own schedule, was a marvelous measure of adult freedom. A lot of those little freedoms were things that had to be sacrificed temporarily to take on the opportunity to come to Korea. Now, I share a 12 x 15 foot one-room dormitory with a roommate, I eat what the cafeteria cooks twice per day, during the times they provide it, I eat a third meal, which is either a restaurant or things like peanut butter, crackers, bread, fruit, and tea. I would not have believed how much of a privilege driving a car is until I have to get somewhere by riding the bus, although the bus is much cheaper, I don’t have to deal with maintenance, and I can read a book or listen to my mp3 player during the trip, or just gaze out the window.
Eating in the cafeteria has been one of the toughest things to adjust to. Meals are cheap, about $2, I don’t have to cook or clean up after myself, and I get to eat with friends instead of alone in my dorm, but it’s not the same kind of food as I have become accustomed to, and many times it’s not even something I myself or anyone else at the table can identify.
Homework: Get on Google and find out what it was in that last picture. First accurate response will earn you a pack of stickers the likes of which can only be found at E-Mart, the Wal-Mart of the ROK.