Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Oh Mr. Sun, Sun Come Out and Play

Today was the first truly warm, sunny, beautiful day since we've been in Korea and it was Awesome.  Korean weather is closer to Seattle type weather, and it's a bit hard for me to get use to, considering Tennessee is in the 80's already.  Dear husband and I took the little rugrat out to play and for waffles and smoothies.  Seoul has very nice coffee shops.  Koreans love their coffee.  Starbucks is very overpriced here.

 It's also Cherry Blossom season and the trees are in full bloom now and gorgeous.  

 Around our apartment complex :)
Oni and Yobo strolling down Cherry blossom street 
Decorative lanterns that light up at night to celebrate the blooming of the trees.  It is very romantic and beautiful. 

A small street market, they're there everyday. 

A typical lunch for me and my family. My husband, mother in law, and I helped to prepare every day lunch and breakfast and we sit down and eat together at least once or twice a day.  Today was Bibimbap, steamed mussels, spicey dried squid, soybean sprouts, red lettuce, bolgogi and mushrooms.  It was a great lunch :)  It's what we typically eat. 

Swinging with the little one :)  Seoul has many playgrounds set up for children and parents to use and it's something that I really like about Seoul.  

Our rugrat, "Don't take my stick momma". 

Pretty Street art, it looks like a teacher and students. 

"Hey, why is that white girl taking our picture while we are in gym class?"

My dear husband standing in front of the his highschool.  

He had a much nicer high school then I did o_o

Beautiful Oni

Like I said, Seoul Coffee houses, especially the one near our home, are awesome :)

It's been a beautiful day, though I did have one incident that left me pretty pissed off today.

It was an elbowing, mean ass ajumma.  If you're in Korea, this will happen to you, at some point during your stay, you will be elbowed by an ajumma.  Ajumma = old, old woman.  Not all ajummas do this, most don't do this, but some do.  I was standing on a conveyor belt, going up to the 2nd floor of my grocery store and a 200 year old Korean woman elbowed the hell out of my side.  She didn't ask me to politely move, she didn't let me know she wanted around me or was even behind me, she didn't say excuse me or try to politely slide around me (I know I'm not small, but come on, it's not like I'm 400 lbs and taking up the whole aisle ether 0_0).  She, instead of being a polite civil  person, decided to elbow me in the side, leaving me knelt over, while she walked around me.  This was the first time I've ever openly, confrontationally  sworn at an old person in Korea.  It was a knee jerk reaction to being assaulted by grandma. She looked at me, had no idea what I was calling her in English, and shrugged. What am I going to do?  Nothing.  Those old people are mean, cranky, unbias in whom they elbow, and aren't going to listen to anyone. Ive never been elbowed in my entire life, until I came to Korea.  Since being in Korea, I've been elbowed 4 times so far. It's ALWAYS old men and old women. Young Koreans don't do this. It's the old ass tougher then nails, I ain't gonna take shit from no body cause I'm old as fuck mentality.  God help you if you're on a bus or subway, there's one seat left, and it's between you and an ajumma.....just accept the fact you ain't getting that seat. Don't try for it unless you want to be put down. 

One last section:

North Korea.  There's been a lot of nasty rhetoric from the North, threatening to blow everyone up and bring total destruction and chaos and foreigners should evacuate and blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.  First of all, South Koreans aren't fazed.  They're use to the North's endless threats and stupidity.  It's like a windy day here.  Happens all the time for the past 60 years.  Koreans aren't freaking out, they don't care. The US media has went bat shit insane with the issue, freaking Americans out (and my family, assholes) but let me say, I'm not worried, my Korean family is not worried, and I see no reason to leave Seoul.  We will only evacuate Seoul IF the American embassy says Americans need to evacuate.  They've said the exact opposite actually.  The official statement from the US embassy is that expats and tourists need not be concerned.  

Well till next time, fellow humans :) I think Ill make a post next on safety in Korea for women. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Adjustment Period

It's been 3 weeks since landing in The Land of the Morning Calm.  Big adjustment is putting it nicely. The baby has been happy and content since day 1 (apparently she's pretty flexible as long as mommy and daddy are around) and overall, I'd say I've been happy and content and so has dear husband.  I'd be lieing if I didn't say there haven't been some bumps along the road or that I wasn't home sick. There has and I will always be. 

Big difference this time though----No major cultural shock for me.  I knew what to expect before landing and this knowledge and experience has greatly improved my outlook on Korea compared to the first time. I'm happier because Koreans and Korea aren't that surprising to me anymore.  In fact, it has been very nice revisiting my favorite stores and eating my favorite Korean foods and seeing familiar faces once again.  I realized that I did indeed miss parts of this place and it's been nice being back.  And this time not pregnant! Woot bring out the soju!

I can't stress enough how glad I am to NOT be pregnant and being in Seoul.  I can actually shop for cute clothes! And apparently I fit into a Korean medium, woohooo clothes fit!  For reference, I'm 5"4, 130 lbs currently.  In the USA, I'd be in a small, size 6.  Basically a USA S is a Korean M, a US M is a Korean L and a US L is a Korean XL and after that?  Well that's as big as it gets here and you're lucky to find XL's. People just aren't very big here, 9/10 people on the street are slim or normal weighted. It's rare to see a curvy lad or lass and an obese one? Verrrrry rare. It's more normal to see a 100 lb girl then a 200 lb girl (the opposite in the USA).

With no baby in the uterus and an 80 lb weight loss ( o_o), I've been shopping for some cute Korean style feminine dresses.  Ahhhh Korean women fashion = super duper feminine and oh so short.  Korean women have nice legs, it's true and they like to show them in short skirts and dresses.....but don't you dare wear anything to show the breasts or shoulders, it's far too slutty! So I've bought some very nicely made dresses at a department store (which will tailor all your clothes for free. When did the US stores give service like that?)  and have taken to wearing heels, practically everywhere.  When in Korea, dress as a Korean.  But I've learned a few things from this:

1) Attractive, white, obviously foreign women are not something that Korean men encounter much in their life. And so they stand out......a lot and Korean men they love to stare at pretty foreign women and occasionally shout at them. Pretty foreign girls are often mistaken as Russian as well.  This is not a good thing (a whole different post in itself as to why).  Dressing nice and looking great and being foreign and female means you're going to be stared at by men and women alike.  Most will stare at out curiosity because frankly,Waygookins stand out here ( I AM a waygook and even I stare at waygooks here).  Many men will look at me like they're undressing me and proceeding to do other things that I won't mention (This is creepy but it's a fact of life, men are visual and they are sexual and "exotic" women (a race of woman they rarely see: i.e anything other than asian) are a turn on for many). This can lead to situations that are bit scary as well (Safety for women is a whole other blog post as well).  I'll post more on this topic later.

2) White women and other non asian women aren't viewed the same as Korean women.  Yeah it sucks to be treated differently (it has it's perks too) but that's just the way it is.  And after all, it isn't your country, it's theirs, and you can't have the same cultural expectations here.  So what a Korean woman can wear (and they often do) and be still perceived as "a good girl" is very different from a foreign woman (especially white women).  Korean girls wear skirts and dresses miles above their knee caps and no one bats an eyelash or stares or assumes anything, but the minute an attractive foreign girl does it then men and women will stare and the down side being they may often think she is a A) Russian (i.e a prostitute) B) Sexually promiscuous or easy or "wild and experienced in bed".  This stereotype frankly sucks and deeply wrong for many reasons (but come on, Americans do it too. I've seen asian women go into places wearing short skirts or a dress and hear some rather catty comments from white people usually accusing those women of being asian prostitutes or sluts as well).  Stereotypes suck huh?  

In a short summation of this first blog post, I plan on doing a few things with my blog:  I plan on posting many more pictures of my  life here for anyone interested and my perspective on different aspects of culture, language, food, etc,.  Korea is very different and very exciting and yet very similar because people are similar at their core anywhere in the world.  I plan to keep this thing updated at least once a week and will gladly answer questions!