Cards

The #1 thing I wish people had told me before this trip:

Koreans take business cards very seriously.

I mean, really, really seriously. Exchanging cards is a ritual. When meeting someone new, you are introduced. With a nod or a bow, you each hand each other your cards and shake hands. If you’re sitting down, people lay out their new acquistions so that everyone’s information is visible.

We had business cards made up with hangeul on one side and English on the other, which people think is a hoot. Problem: I don’t think I brought enough. I gave out more Korean business cards yesterday morning than I have English cards in the past year. Seriously. I’d only brought a thin stack, having no idea I’d need so many.

I also didn’t know I’d need them at the ready, all the time. In theory, that shouldn’t be difficult, but women’s suits aren’t well-built for this. They never have inside pockets. When there are pockets at all, half the time they’re just decorative. My suit yesterday only has pockets on the jacket, not the pants, and they have big buttons, so it looks really stupid with the pocket unbuttoned. Ah, the tribulations of business travel. Heh.

We leave tomorrow. I’m already kind of sad: I’d like more time to explore here. I’ve experienced just a little bit of Seoul, and there’s so much else to the city and Korea as a whole. I want to come back someday.

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