Yesterday, I met friends for dinner. When I came back home, it was only 7:30, so I was having trouble trying to figure out why the parking lot seemed so full. I am used to finding the parking lot full if I come in a bit later, but at 7:30, I would have thought there would be more space for parking than there was. They never make their parking lots big enough in Korea. The parking spaces are also too small. Sometimes cars just barely inch into the parking places. In Korea, they actually make the side mirrors on the cars so that you can push them in so there is more walking space between the cars when you walk through the parking lots. Usually, the only time I have trouble finding a place to park in our parking lot is on Sunday evenings because if we go to church across town and then out to eat with the people from over there, it can bring us home pretty late, and the people who live in the apartment building are usually home when we get there, and all the parking places are taken. The Koreans also have a solution to all the parking places being taken, but this solution would probably not go over in America at all. We are blessed with lots of room in America that the Koreans just either don’t have or won’t afford the others to have.
If you go into a Korean parking lot, and there are no spaces let, the solution is to park your car in front of the other cars out where cars usually drive. You put your car in neutral and don’t put the parking brake on. That way, if someone wants to come out of their apartment and use their car, but finds our car in front of theirs, all they have to do is push your car out of the way. There are a lot of hills in Korea, and our parking lot is not completely flat in all places, so if we are afraid our car will roll, they keep large rocks in the parking lot we can put close to our tires to keep the car from rolling. You also have to be very careful that your tires are very straight. If they aren’t straight, and someone pushes your car, they could push it into another car. If your cars are not straight and the parking lot attendant finds it parked with tires turning one way or the other, he will call you even at 12:00 or 1:00 at night and ask you to come down and straighten your car up. I really don’t like to be called when it is so late and I have already gone to bed and be asked to get dressed and come downstairs and straighten my car out, so I am very careful to make sure those tires are straight. They may even call you if you are in a parking space, but are too close to another car or your car is crooked. It is hard to make sure the parking lot attendants are happy and won’t call you at some odd hour wanting you to straighten your car.
As I got close to the front door of the building, I figured out why there were no parking spaces. Actually, at the time, I thought it was only one thing happening, but this morning, I figured out there were two things happening. They block parking spaces every week, one day a week to prepare for recycling the next morning, and that was the reason I discovered last night. This morning, I realized they were blocking off even more spaces than I realized because someone was moving today, and when they move, they block off parking spaces, and put a huge truck in the places that has a huge iron arm that goes up to the balcony of the apartment. They put the furniture on the arm, then they lower the arm and put the furniture on the moving truck. However, what I saw last night was them getting ready for the recycling that took place this morning.
If Americans were told they had to recycle, you would either have to pay them or make a law for most of them to recycle. Some Americans do it because they know it is good for the planet, but not many. However, as I have said before, the Koreans don’t particularly let the law tell them what they should or should not do. It is not illegal not to recycle in Korea, but everyone does it because they want to be good citizens. So many do it, you would think that it was enforced by law, but it isn’t. Koreans don’t particularly let the government tell them what they should or shouldn’t do, and they are overall, a good moral people who try to do the right thing.
They always set up several bags, and label many of them. In one, you put aluminum cans. In another, you put plastic bottles. In another, you put paper, etc.
One day a week, early in the morning before work, lots of sleepy headed Koreans will be in the elevator headed downstairs with whatever they have collected through the week to recycle trying to be good citizens. I used to do this when I first came to Romania. The guy in charge of my school insisted that I must participate in it, and I had several laundry baskets with wheels set up close to my trash can where we put plastic bottles in one, paper in another, and aluminum in another. I am lucky now because my Korean son in law decided to take the task of recycling on himself, so I was relieved, but he doesn’t keep his recycling as organized as I kept mine. He keeps a big pile of plastic bottles, boxes, etc. behind the washing machine, but on recycling day, he takes it all down and it is gone.
We already have a parking problem in our parking lot which is mostly because we live in Korea, and the Koreans don’t build big parking lots or big spaces in the parking lots. However, we are crowded up even more one time a week, and this week, we were crowded even more because someone moved on recycling day.