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!