So, here it is....the part of the story you've all been waiting for...the shopping trip! Yesterday, we made our first trip to a big store, Korean style! One of our neighbors took us to E-Mart, a store similar to Target, but it's Target on steroids...three levels of shopping with everything from clothes and shoes to automotive to seafood. We started when the store opened on the top floor which has the housewares. We got our hangers, our drying rack (because dryers are few and far between in Korea), our garbage cans (because Koreans are diligent about sorting their trash), and a Swiffer type sweeper to try to keep our (fake) hardwood floors clean. That was pretty uneventful, though our blonde children are like celebrities here, and they get a ton of attention from Koreans who like to practice their English in conversations with our kids!
Then, of course, we headed downstairs to get some groceries and things like soap and shampoo, laundry soap, etc. Some of the major cultural differences started to appear here...for instance, there was a Korean salesmen of sorts next to every type of soap in the store (or so it seemed to me). All I wanted to do was pick out the cheapest shampoo I could find (Pantene was available at about $9 per bottle), but this woman wanted to help me pick it out. I finally managed to do that and get some body wash, and then it was time to get laundry soap. This woman really wanted to have a conversation with me about laundry soap...in the end, I was pleased to understand that I had chosen the right soap (by accident) for a top-loading washing machine. I don't have fabric softener yet, but I do have spot remover, so I'm happy! Next stop...groceries! At this point, I was beginning to see the side of Eric that I had seen during our card game at PFO where we got a glimpse into seeing how we would react to cultural differences. He was fading fast, so we split the list, and attempted to "rush" through getting the few basics we needed (cheese, oil, sugar, etc.). It was tough, though! I'm excited to go again without him so that I can take my time and find what I need! All in all, I was very pleased with what we found and how easy it was to recognize the same items we have here just written in a different language.