The more I learn about the Korean culture, the more my heart breaks. 5-year old kids who are sent to English classes, single ladies who would do anything to get married (including plastic surgery, studying their butt off to get into a good college, etc.), the guys who max out their credit cards to buy American things, kids starting to compete against each other at a very, very young age because there is no way they can survive otherwise… The sad part is that this all stems from their wanting acceptance whether by their peers, family, or the community in general. I’ve noticed that Koreans tend to pay a lot of attention to what others are doing, especially on those whom they have some type of relationship with, or ones they know even slightly. This is much more prevalent in small towns as everyone tend to know everyone which can be both good and bad. It’s not as bad if there is something to celebrate, but if there is something that you would rather keep private, you may easily get hurt as people are so ridiculously nosy here. Ok, I admit it, it’s almost to a point where I’m starting to get annoyed. Why do they care that a neighbor’s son did not get into the school that their son got into? Why should you drive your parents crazy because your friend got a spanking new jacket that your parents cannot afford? Why are random people so curious about other’s private life..?! No wonder there are so many celebrities committing a suicide. They not only have no private life whatsoever, but people create rumors and spread it like a wild fire, and best of all, the media publish it like it’s a proven fact. While I understand that this particular behavior has something to do with the fact that Korea once was one of the poorest countries of the world (which was surprisingly not too long ago), I truly hope that they start to realize that it’s what’s killing them on the inside. Yes, the country has experienced some ridiculously rapid growth in the past ten years or so, and the people may be brightest of the bunch, but unless they stop being so nosy (because they lack self esteem and are self conscious of everything), they will continue to drink away their lives. Speaking of drinking, I’m just appalled at the drinking culture here. They drink soju like it’s water, literally. I have yet to see someone who actually drinks water here. I’m like the only one who carries a water bottle everywhere. Soju is cheaper than coffee. It’s party time every night. There are drunken people everywhere; it’s actually quite easy to see a girl puking on the side walk, or a drunken man yelling at another drunken man using lots of derogatives on the streets. When I ask them why they drink, there is no direct answer, but that it’s just part of life. But why should it be? I once went through the phase too when I would just drink until I couldn’t remember anything, but it ended a while ago, yes, a while ago, but here in Seoul, it continues until… they find out that they have cancer. I may be exaggerating just a little bit, but many of them continue to drink until their body can’t handle it. I have relatives who did so, and I continue to see more of them doing the same thing, killing themselves. While it’s fine to have a glass or two, or until you know that you’ve reached your limit, meaning that if you had one more glass you know you are getting messed up, I really don’t know what good it does to get drunk to a point where you make a fool out of yourself. Come on, we know that we do stupid things when we are drunk, the things we wouldn’t do in broad daylight in our right state of mind. Would you please, please control yourselves..? There is no need to abuse our body, and to abuse others’ (by getting drunk and doing stupid things to them). This is not the first time I’m talking about this issue, I share my perspectives with people I meet, not because I’m trying to be all holy and righteous (I know I’m far from it), but because my heart aches. Perhaps I’m even more sad because I once was one of them who was jealous, judgmental, nosy, drunk, and… just didn’t care. If you are reading this, please know that you were made to do great things, and there is a reason why you are here today, so please take a good care of your body- eat healthy, cut down on drinking, exercise, and stay positive. Oh, and please, please mind your own business. Who cares what others are doing with their lives? It’s your life, and everyone’s different- the situation, skill set, personality, interest, everything. You only make your own life miserable by talking about others. Let them live their life, so you can live your own- then everyone’s happy. Yay!