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Sunday, February 5, 2012


There are a few American necessities that I require in Korea. This thought came to mind this morning as I was pushing desperately on an empty tube of toothpaste, trying to get the last dollop. At home when toothpaste got close to empty it went into the trash can. I could simply get in my car and drive to Wal-Mart to get some more. Or if you're a hoarder/couponer (one in the same to me) you could take one from your stash of fifty from the storage room. This isn't so in Korea.

These are the types of toothpaste I've received in Korea as gifts... green apple toothpaste, bamboo toothpaste, pine needle toothpaste (no joke), pH balance toothpaste (do you need to balance the pH levels in your mouth?) And perhaps I've received others too. I typically re-gift it to Korean friends and coworkers.

I simply can't live without American toothpaste (Aquafresh Extreme Clean Whitening if you fancy sending me some...). For the past week every time I brush my teeth I break out this contraption thing that pushes all the toothpaste to the top, then I have to take it off so I can fold the top edges in. Then I squeeze like mad with both hands until a little sliver produces onto my toothbrush (which I'm hoping I don't knock into the toilet). And then I repeat this process at night too. You see, I'm down to one more tube. Must. Conserve. (That's what I tell myself as my toothbrush falls into the toilet. That didn't really happen. Today...)

Toothpaste and deodorant are two things that I refuse to compromise with. (Koreans don't wear deodorant because they don't sweat. Again, no joke. So I can't get it here. I wear the Dove pink stick, fyi.) Since shipping is so expensive though, I try my hardest to find Korean alternatives to the products I use. I can get some "luxury" items here like Listerine mouthwash, Venus razor blades and Korea has recently started selling my favorite face wash from home (double the selling price but I still buy it...). Korea also is superior when it comes to some products.

For example, wrinkle cream. Korean women don't have flawless skin until they're 60 because of good genes (well, partly...). First one must make sure, then check with the sales associate, then whip out their cell phone dictionary to double check again with the associate that it isn't whitening cream. But after that the product is great. Twenty-five and no sign of wrinkles! Oh wait, I'm 23 still (my Korean age is 25 now...)! But you get my point.

Sadly tonight I must start my final tube of beloved toothpaste which I will cherish until my next care package comes. And then I'll put on my fancy wrinkle cream!

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