Monday, September 9, 2013

South Korea and South Carolina are practically the same place

The more time that I spend in South Carolina the more I am amazed by the similarities with South Korea... and not just that they both start with South.

1. Barbecue: Korean restaurants barbecue the pork at your table to ensure that you get the fresh off the grill taste.  Carolinians spend hours marinating and smoking the ribs before they serve it.  
2. Family Ties: In both places, it all about where your people are from.  And how often you go back to visit.  And you had better respect your elders.
3. Fast Cars: What do Nascar and Seoul traffic have in common?  Fast cars going around in circles.
4. Street Signs: I find myself equally confused by the road signs in South Carolina as I was stumped by the signs in South Korea.  Both in the placement (or lack there off) and in the meaning. It seems that neither place speaks English as its first language.  And let's not mention the ridiculously low posted speed limit that no one follows.
5. War: Both locations fought a "War of Northern Aggression."  Just don't mention in South Carolina, that they were the ones that fired the first shots, started the war... and lost. And both places a littered with memorials to the soldiers of their civil war.
6. Christian Churches: There is a new one on every corner.  In South Korea they all have bright red neon crosses that light up the night.  Both locations enjoy the "mega church" experience.
7. Manners: You had better brush up on your manners because sometimes it seems that it is more important how you say something than what you say. 
8. Sports: The sports that they cheer for may be different (baseball vs. football) but the home crowd is always there with all their rituals and traditions to ensure a victory for the home team.  And heaven forbidden that you go to any stadium without a team jersey.
9. Weather: Hot humid summers? Check.  Melting if you step outside? Check.
10. Respect for Army: In South Korea the US Army provides the security that they need to live next to their crazy neighbor.  In Columbia, the US Army is one of the biggest employer and stabilizes the local economy.