On March 13th, to most of the modern world, I turned 24. However, every time a Korean person asks my age, my response is qualified by their follow-up question: Korean age or Western age? Korea has a totally different age system than Western countries. Actually I don't know of any other country that calculates age in this peculiar way. I've had numerous Korean friends try to explain it to me several times, and I'm still not sure if I'm 25 or 26 Korean age. It works a little something like this...
So your mother carried you for about 9 months. All that time you were a living creature, so let's just round that up to one year. (Personally I think 9 months to a year is a bit of a stretch, but this seems like the most reasonable part of the equation so I'll let it slide).
Ok, so that means take whatever your Western age is now and add one to it for the year your mother carried you. Alright, makes sense. Here's where things get weird.
Every Korean person turns one year older on Lunar New Year. I don't know why, and I can't seem to figure out if you just get the year from your upcoming birthday early, or if you actually get a whole other year. The former would put me at 25, the latter 26 years old for someone born in 1986. I don't get it, but anyway, it was a great 24th/25th/26th birthday. I had a shindig at my new place, which was nice because it forced me to go out and buy some things to make it more homey.
March 14th is a kind of money-grab holiday in Korea called White Day. You thought Valentine's Day was bad enough at home; Korea has 3 Valentine related holidays! The first is February 14th, still named Valentine's Day, when girls give presents and candy to their boyfriends/husbands. The second is March 14th, White Day, when boys give presents and candy to their girlfriends/wives. The third is April 14th, Black Day, when single people go eat 자짱면 (Chinese black bean noodles) and mourn their singleness... Ouch!
Boyfriend and I had discussed that these holidays are stupid, but he still got me a gorgeous pair of earrings for White Day anyway. He's just that kind of super-lovin' guy!
As of last week yellow dust has plagued Seoul, causing folks to whip out their super-fashionable hospital masks. I actually didn't believe yellow dust was really a dangerous thing until yesterday when the sky was actually a sick, pukey yellow, apocalyptic colour... guess I better head to Family Mart and get myself a mask.