The other day at work I ended up in a small group of people talking about buying Christmas and birthday presents. One colleague had just been gifted with a set of knives for her birthday by her boyfriend – in spite of being all thumbs in a kitchen according to herself – and an other colleague was contemplating buying shoes for her boyfriend for Christmas.
I wonder if I had thought twice about giving such presents just a few years ago. This time I ended up thinking “of ALL the things you could come up with…”. I naturally kept that to myself.
Obviously, it’s superstitions, and the one about knives is also known outside Korea, but I immediately thought about how we were basically making rounds in the “don’t-give-category” according to Korean traditions and slowly ticking off every item on the list.
A tiny culture shock right there in my home country.