Thursday, March 22, 2012

Age

As this is my birthday week, I found it interesting to learn that in Korea they measure age differently than we do in the western world. We had a nice brunch with the cousin of a good friend from the US this past Sunday. He brought his sweet wife and two adorable sons. They spent the past 5 years in CA where he got his PhD and recently returned to work with Samsung.

I had asked his wife, Jaewon, how old the boys were and she told me 5 and 1.5 years. A few minutes later, I turned toward the older son to start a conversation and figured all little kids like telling you how old they are. So I asked him and he replied, "7." I smiled politely and glanced at his mom to have her correct him and she said nothing... Strange.
Me in my Korean "uniform: leather boots over knees with long, quilted jacket 
After brunch we went for a walk through the neighborhood, which is where Jaewon attended university, and they explained that they count age differently in Korea. They start counting age at conception, not birth. Not only that, they also do not count your birthday as the point of adding a year, but the calendar year. So, their 5 year old is actually 7 here and there 18 month old is 3!

Talk about being happy we are from the West. I do not want to add any more years than I have to... that being said, they also view age differently. The older you are, the more respect you are given, the more you are looked up to and revered. Not such a bad thing. Makes sense why they would want to speed up the process and add a few more years :)

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