An open letter to the things in South Korea that make foreigners uncomfortable or things that make no sense to us:
1) To the man who flinched away from me as though I were doing something wrong by having hair that looks as far from natural Korean hair as possible: I send you an incredible amount of love, in the hope that I can keep the world from creating another Donald Trump. I am also sending you love to heal the crack in my heart at your expression, like you thought I was nasty or dirty. I forgive you, go love someone else.
2) To motorcyclists driving on the sidewalk: I promise to always jump out of the way because none of us understand why you do not drive on the road. Please do not hit anyone or anything important. Trust me, a life is way more important than someone's bulgogi, even if it does not always seem like it. Thank you, please do not hit me or run over my feet.
3) To people who always take the elevator: There is nothing wrong with most of your knees, why look at me so strangely? The stairs are good for you, why is it necessary to take an elevator up one or two floors? At least take the stairs once in a while. On that note, why design buildings with easy access to staircases and no light in them. It is far too easy to fall when you cannot see what is in front of you. I still love all of you.
4) To the halmonis who elbow me and cut in the lunch line: I will treat you like I treated my grandmother, who acted in much the same way. Basically, I will ignore the things that come off as relatively rude, and sigh as you try to rush me in the lunch line, there is nothing I can do to move any faster, the dude in front of me is slowly placing pieces of kimchi on his plate with the speed of the undead. I love you because this interaction reminds me of someone important who is no longer on this earth. Now, quit shoving.
5) To Korean Drivers: To misquote Jane Austen; "It is a fact universally acknowledged that a person driving a car must always be in need of giving pedestrians the gosh darn right of way". Obviously, Jane Austen and I are in agreement over the fact that roads in Korea are constantly reinacting the race scene from the movie "Footloose". I forgive you, I love you all, but I have the right of way, especially when the little man on the sign is green.
6) To the people in my office: Thank you. Honestly, thank you for everything. All I ask is that you give me more things to do during the day so that I can actually learn something and that you stop laughing when I try to speak Korean. There is a lot of love in my heart for all of you, thank you for not treating me strangely because of my appearance. Three cheers for the two clubs I get to work with in January.
7) To South Korea as a whole: How do you eat rice for three meals a day almost every day and not get sick of either it or kimchi?
Lots of love,
Everyday Acts of Activism