Coming home

So the first thing I saw when I got off the plane from almost a full 24 hours worth of travelling, was this bathroom sign. You know, I never thought I’d be so relieved to see French and Spanish before. I guess after studying Korean for so long it’s nice to see languages I’m a little more familiar with. Of course the Chinese part can be found in both Korea and America…You know, it makes you wonder, maybe I should be studying Chinese…Image

Anyway, the second thing I noticed was how religious the South is compared to Korea. I found this revelation funny actually. I had always been aware that the South had a reputation for being more religious than other places. However, being born and raised in Louisiana (aka The South), I really had nothing to compare it to when it comes to religiousness. Before I left Korea I even thought for a moment that they were similar in their religious zeal. I mean, I’ve been invited to church barbecues back home and in Korea, so that’s pretty much the same right? Wrong.

The first sign was when I was greeted by my parent’s copy of James Earl Jones reads the bible right next to the kitchen TV.Image

That wasn’t enough to convince me though. The second sign was at wal-mart when I found myself with the option of which Jesus/Catholic Saint candle to buy for the kitchen table.Image

The candles made me giggle, that is until I got home and found one actually sitting on my kitchen table. I’ll give you three guesses which one. Need a hint?Image

At this point I thought, oh that’s just my parents surely…and wal-mart micromarketing. The final push for me though was the gigantic cross in front of one of the churches by the main highway in my city (picture not included, but seriously it’s probably visible from space.)


The last thing I noticed pretty quickly is how little presence Korea has in Louisiana. There isn’t a single Korean restaurant in our state capital, and only a small Asian grocery store to sell any Korean products. With this in mind I figured I’d try my hand at Whole Food Market, where out multiple shelves of food products from many different countries. This is the Korean food presence in this “multicultural store.” 


ImageImageI think I’ve made my point. 




Photoshop Level: Korean

Photoshop Level: Korean

My co teacher showed me my school’s yearbook recently. When I found my picture I couldn’t help but notice I had been photoshopped to the nines. I’m pretty sure I don’t even have pores anymore. My coteacher said I look like my normal self and very pretty, but to me my face had creepy doll like look.

Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE photoshop. I took a college course on it in high school for fun and I never looked back! It’s amazing for when you had a horrible zit on prom night, something was in your teeth for graduation, or you just want to look like you sleep on a regular basis.

I was trained to take natural beauty and enhance it in a natural way. Koreans don’t agree with me on this though. For example, the other day I went to the bank and above each teller is a sign with their name and their bank id picture. Every single picture was photoshopped. We aren’t even talking the pore removing airbrushing in my yearbook pic either. I’m talking jaws were smoothed and shaved to look more triangular and small. Noses are lightened and liquefied to add height. I guess the pictures looked like the actual tellers below, if they were on an episode of extreme Korean makeover.

After talking to some Korean friends I realized tons of official photo ids in Korea are photoshopped. A friend from LG showed me his work id and his extremely square chin was suddenly softer, pointier, and more V like. He’s an electrical engineer, and yet somehow his work thought it was important to whitened his skin in his ID as well.  You know because that will make him work harder…or something…

Drivers licenses are routinely photoshopped as well. In America they won’t even let you look at your picture before they print and they usually take one. Koreans however will make absolutely sure they are showing their best face to the police officer about to give them a ticket, even if it isn’t their real face. I guess I can’t be too surprised. What do you expect from the country that requires a picture with every job application and has the highest plastic surgery per person rate of any country?

Ohhhhh Korea. You both amuse and disappoint me sometimes, but at least you keep it interesting and for that I love you.

Tattoos in Korea

Tattoos in Korea

The first time I was invited to check out one of Seoul’s tattoo parlors my first thought was, “Aren’t tattoos illegal in Korea?” Apparently not because today I find myself at yet another tattoo shop in Korea. This one is called Sun Rat and it’s in Hongdae. As it turns out tattooing in Korea is very much alive and legal. They just require the tattoo artist to a licensed medical doctor first. You know, because why would I want an artist creating masterpieces on my arms when I can have a doctor drawing stick figures on my lower back! Luckily for y’all a lot of places with real artists (who still religiously adhere to all safety regulations like any good tattoo artist would) blatantly ignore that little rule. They can do this because the enforcing of that little law is loose at best.

However, I wouldn’t run out and get one just yet. First, think of your mother, and no not how good the word Mom would look on your bicep. Think of the company that tattooed people keep! I’ve seen these people and they aren’t the kind of guys you’d want next to you in the jimjilbang pool. I know your next question is why is this apple pie cute American girl keeping company with gangsters, thugs, and untrustworthy tattooed people then? Well obviously it’s because I’m a gangster thug! However, don’t get your hopes up that I’m unladylike boys because this belle is tattoo free (as of right now). You know, that way I can still get out of the thug life before it’s too late!

But seriously, those are the stereotypes a lot of older Koreans associate with tattoos, (gangs, unladylike, untrustworthy) but anyone younger than 40 will tell you it’s just not true. Yes tattooing used to be used in Korea to show which gang to belonged to, but then the key word here is USED TO. It’s the same in the States, Japan, etc, but we’ve moved on from that and yes Mrs. Adjumma Korea has too.  Personally I can appreciate a good tattoo, even though personally I don’t see myself getting one any time soon. They can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people and are a beautiful way to express yourself if done well. These little tattoo shops popping up around Seoul prove the minds of younger Koreans are opening to the possibilities of tattoos. I just hope the rest of Korea follows too. 🙂

Kpop blasphemy!

Kpop blasphemy!

Found this doozy in the Myeongdong underground subway shopping area. I would watch my back if I were this shop owner. I’m pretty sure putting a poster of JYJ next to a poster of TVXQ these days is the Korean kpop equivalent of putting a target on your back. I wouldn’t be surprised if the big daddy company of TVXQ sent hitmen to defame the JYJ poster. What a vicious silly battle…

Desk Warming

Today is day 1 of my February desk warming month. There is a part of me that is happy about this, because I’m being paid to show up to work and blog/reddit/watch youtube videos all day. However, there is another part of me that is really worried about extreme boredom. Really there are only so many movies one can watch before you’re stuck watching The Babysitter’s Club Movie…something I did today that I’m not proud of. Maybe if I get bored enough I’ll start studying Korean wholeheartedly and actually progress in my speaking and listening abilty. Maybe…

From COEX to Bongeunsa Temple

From COEX to Bongeunsa Temple

I started off my day today thinking I would just go to the COEX mall at Samseong Station and window shop. Maybe I would even go to the aquarium? However, after living in Korea for almost a year I’ve come to the conclusion that shopping here is pretty universal. If you’ve shopped in one place you’ve shopped in them all (give or take a price or two). Well that and the aquarium was almost 20,000W per person! Eventually my boyfriend and I got bored and wandered outside where we saw a huge Buddha statue in the distance. Being the curious foreigners that we are we set off to investigate and found this free Buddhist temple called Bongeunsa Temple. This temple is over 1,200 years old! The structures were beautiful with lanterns decorating the insides of most of them. They even had a friendly temple cat that wandered by outside the temples and meowed until someone would pet him. So cute. Sometimes Korea really amazes me though. Where else could you find a beautiful 1,200 year old Buddhist temple right across the street from Asia’s biggest underground shopping mall? I ❤ Korea.

My boyfriend’s hair is PURPLE!!!

My boyfriend's hair is PURPLE!!!

I’m at this salon in Beomgye that has become a recent favorite of mine. It’s called HairPlanet O.D.A. I kind of stumbled upon it when I was too lazy to go to my usual Juno Hair Salon in Gangnam and luckily for me they are super friendly and the head stylist speaks English! Plus it’s waaay closer to where I actually live which is a relief. Anyway, when I first came in a few weeks ago for my haircut I asked them if they could dye my boyfriend’s hair (typical asian black/brown hair) to light purple and he said sure. Well today we put them to the test as we just walked in and said hey, remember us? Dye his hair purple please! I’ve been taking pictures and documenting the whole thing (soon to come when he’s finished I’ll post them as a group on tumblr and give you the link for you all to see. Right now he’s still going from black to blonde and about to start his purple transformation. I’m so excited! Side note, the sweethearts here saw me off to the side chilling (been here 2 hours already because it’s a long process) and offered to give me a couple free purple and blue highlight extensions so he and I can match. How could i refuse? So now I have one dark blue and one light purple streak in my hair and my boyfriend is about an hour or two away from a whole head of bright purple hair. I guess you could say we aren’t the conventional couple, but at least we’ll match. Hey, if the adjummas were going to glare at us anyway we might as well go big or go home! ❤ Korea forever!