I am still trying to sort out how to get from A to B on the bus. Now, take a moment with me to imagine that you don’t know the language. Most of the people don’t know your language. You have never been to where you are going.
Alright, the scene is set, ‘Bus Riding for Beginners’ is now in session.
Here is your checklist of things to have while taking the bus:
- Badly spoken Korean
- A vague idea where you are trying to end up
- Maps – They often do little to no good, but they do make you feel the tiniest bit knowledgeable and in control
- Pre-identify the Korean characters that are at your final destination – remember you are not dealing with the ABC’s
- Hope that someone at the bus stop speaks English
- Have a big smile and “Kahm sah hahm nee dah” (Thank you) when they all shake their head ‘no’.
- Create strategies for figuring out what stop to get off at when you don’t know landmarks AND you can’t understand what the voice on the bus intercom is saying. My strategy is to count the bus stops between my starting point and the bus stop that I think I want to get off at, and then make tick marks on a piece of paper to keep track.
- Let it play out. At times you will have doubts about your decisions. There is a good chance you are wrong, but springing off the bus at every doubt will be exhausting!
- Bring snacks in case you get lost and need some quick sugar
- When all else fails, know the address of where you live so you can get in a cab and at least make it home!