As an expat/foreigner in a country, especially one that’s as homogeneous as Korea, am I somehow obligated to responding to everyone when they shout “Hello!” to me?
This is me just thinking out loud, but I usually try and think of myself as an ambassador of sorts because foreigners definitely stick out here, but also because maybe I’m the one opportunity that a person will have with a foreigner or an American.
Sometimes people/strangers will shout or say “Hi” to me (about once a week) and I respond about 99.9% of the time.
They typically don’t have any intention of starting a conversation with you, just a “HELLO!” and then they giggle or talk about it with their buddy.
I’ve just been wondering where the line is drawn with this. I usually walk with headphones in and it still happens and I know it’s something small because saying “hi” back is fairly simple. But where does this “ambassador” line end and when do my rights as a person who just wants to walk peacefully down the street begin.
Did I forfeit this when I left the country?
Koreans don’t typically chat randomly with strangers at all, and if I were to do the same to them, or even start chatting away (assuming I could) with the lady at the grocery store, this would be seen as extremely weird. So, it’s definitely only with foreigners.
Some people I know don’t say anything at all in response.
I also act differently if it’s a little kid as compared to an older man.
Also, if this happens in the US, I don’t respond at all.
Anyway, I’m not sure if there’s a real answer to this, but it’s been something that’s been on my mind.
I also broke in my new gym membership today (feels sooooooooooo good to be back) and worked my arms. It’s been like two hours and I’m already feeling the burn. Should be good tomorrow when I can’t pick up cups or lift my fork to eat my birthday cake. Actually, that last one won’t be a problem. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. haha 🙂