I love weekends. Ever since getting an actual nine-to-fiver, weekends have become the highlight of my life (except for Sam’s apple crumble which is also well worth looking forward to). As most of you steady-job types are already aware, the best part about weekends is the freedom from routine. No alarm clocks, no work pants, no commute. It’s bliss! But here in Korea, there are two extra things that make the weekends special to me. #1 I don’t have to comb my hair.
I know it sounds like normal, sloppy weekend fare, but here in Korea being unkempt is practically sacrilegious. This is a country where people get plastic surgery to give them a leg up in a job search. They have different winter coats for every day of the week. As a Korean friend put it, your appearance equals your ability. So on workdays, I have to put in some serious hours combing, braiding, and grooming myself into a capable person.
So on weekends the brush stays in the cupboard. By Sunday night I look like a sheepdog after a rainstorm. It’s glorious.
#2 I get to blow my nose!
So I do! A lot. Even when I don’t really need to. The reason behind this bizarre indulgence is that I generally can’t blow my nose during normal working hours. Honking into a Kleenex is considered very rude in Korea. This is a problem for me, because I always have a cold. From October through March, I’m a big drippy mess. Being in a foreign country surrounded by elementary school students hasn’t improved matters for me.
The polite thing to do with a runny nose in Korea is to practice retention (i.e. sniff). It’s not pleasant and leads to bad things if you sneeze (which naturally only happens when you’re at the front of a room of mouthy fifth graders). So when I get to spend a day at home with the Kleenex box, I make the most of it. You would too.
BONUS! This Wednesday I get the day off for the presidential election! (It’s a national holiday here—how’s that for a great idea?) It will be a mid-week island of nose-blowing bliss. Can’t wait!