My first visit to Korea was definitely a blast. I went to my favorite K hotspots, bought a lot of cutie patootie stuffs and met great people. But, my trip wouldn’t be complete without my funny, rather embarrassing, moments with some locals. So, here goes my shame.
- I left my passport with ajumma.
Going to Korea, smelling the Seoul air and finally proving to myself that dreams do come true- I’m pretty excited about entering the country I love.
But, before anything else though, of course, we all have to pass the airport immigration.
So I lined up, still feeling that I was dreaming, and after a few minutes, my turn finally comes. I was a bit nervous, who wouldn’t be, so I just tried to comfort myself by smiling at the ajumma while saying “Annyeonghaseyo“. She just nodded with a “less-than-half” smile. Well, it’s immigration after all- #serious.
She asks for my passport, I hand it in, and points to the camera to take a picture of me. Afterwards, ajumma asks me to put my fingers on this “machine” to get my fingerprints. The whole time I was just smiling but, deep inside I was a bit scared.
You know that feeling when you know your innocent but, when “checking” time comes you just feel guilty all of a sudden without any apparent reason- yes, that’s what I felt.
Then here comes the funny part, ajumma tells me that it’s already “done”. I smile to her and leave. She calls me and says, “Hey Hey” and I was thinking, “What did I do wrong?”. Turns out, I left my passport with her. I just laughed and said “Sorry, sorry, excited“. Then she, finally, smiled back.
- I invented the price of jjampong.
So, after walking for hours in Myeong-dong, we were all so hungry. We stopped at this Chinese, but still Korean, restaurant for a hot bowl of jjampong and jjajangmyeon. I know how to read hanguel but, being in an “all-hangeul-menu” resto, it took me a while to read them. I finally “saw” the word jjampong and I pointed to it while saying, “Jjampong hana, Jjajangmyeon hana”. The owner was just looking at me and he keeps on saying that they don’t sell it there. I looked at the menu again, rubbed my eyes to confirm what I read and true enough, they have jjampong and jajangmyeon, I was a bit irritated because I know I read it right! Come on, that’s the only thing I can say in Korean and you’re telling me I’m wrong? Ouch. So, I said it again to him and for some reason, he understood. Say what now? Yeah, I didn’t get what happened to.
So here he goes with the bowls, because we asked for a take-out, and we’re about to pay the bill. I asked, “Eolmayeyo?” and I knew I heard “2,000W”. I boldly told my mom the price, with my brother’s eyebrows going up- doubting what I said. I was so prideful that I said it again “2000W daw!”
The owner laughed at me and told me, “No, 9,000 W”. I misheard “9 (gu)” with “2 (i)”. So shameful. We left the resto with my family laughing at me together with the owner. Well, for two big bowls of noodles and getting it for eighty-eight (88) pesos? Anyway.
- My mom barked for the dog cafe – literally.
Enough with my embarrassments, how about hearing my mom’s. PS: I asked permission to share this. Coming from an eight hour ride from Byeongbangchi, a province in Korea, we were all tired. We planned to go to the dog cafe but, unfortunately I took a screenshot of the wrong dog cafe. We were supposed to go to “Bau House”, the one in Hongdae, but we went to Gangnam’s instead. I didn’t know this before so, don’t blame me please. Because I was pretty exhausted from the eight hour ride, all my Korean ran out. So, I told my mom, it was her turn to ask people with directions.
At Gangnam station, we went in the information office and she asked a personnel where the dog cafe is.
Mom: “Hi. Where is the dog cafe?”
Mom: “Dog cafe? You don’t know the dog cafe?”
Ajussi: *just stares because he doesn’t understand
Mom: “Dog cafe? ‘arf arf’ café?”
Oh my gosh. We all laughed our hearts out when she said that. Even ajussi! He actually understood what we meant when she “barked”! So it helped, sorry for the word choice mom.
Definitely, our Korea trip wouldn’t be this fun without these embarrassing moments. I still have a lot of LOL moments but, for now this is all I can share.
Do you have any funny moments in Korea? Share it with us by commenting below.
Written by Max Chua