This is just a really quick video! We had been in Seoul and had caught the bus back. It takes about 3 hours and we have to get off at the town over and walk home from there. Even rural areas are quite busy with lots of people so this was the first time I’d seen it so dead- because it was the middle of the night.
It was really creepy walking over the bridge so we filmed a bit. The river is silent below and there is no one around. No cars or anything.
One big difference is that I was more scared of the supernatural than of people. In Australia I’d be scared of being mugged or worse, but here I wasn’t worried about being seen by the wrong type of people.
There was no way I was going to walk through the school yard! The school is typical of most Korean schools, the same type of building, and it’s just creepy at night. Also there is a statue of some historical figure there that is said to get down off his stand and walk around the grounds at night. Um no thank you.
One of those moments where you just have to grin and bear it. I know these women haven’t had much contact with anyone who isn’t Korean and don’t know much about the world outside of South Korea, so they are genuinely interested. It can be pretty uncomfortable for me and this time in particular I was hurt a bit by the slaps across my back and on my arms. They weren’t gentle at all and yet still grinning at me and chatting to me… One woman in particular was so rough! I think she meant it to be just pats but it was really hard whacks.
My parents-in-law were nearby but couldn’t rescue me because it’s someone much older than them so they can’t tell her to back off and stop it. They know I’ll sit there politely anyway and it was a pretty funny situation. If you are going to Korea to work or teach and are in major cities you are probably never going to have a situation like this. However, if you marry into a Korean family, especially one in the countryside, you may have moments like this. Especially if you have fair hair and skin. I don’t really like being touched except by my husband so there are moments that can be uncomfortable for me in Korea or with Koreans. If it’s someone the same age as me or younger and it’s a constant thing that makes me feel uncomfortable I can say something about my personal space, but an old woman in Korea… there is no way I can say anything about that!
It did happen quite a bit while we were there. Not just being touched but being stared at as well. I was such a novelty to them. We weren’t always home but old women would come asking my mother-in-law where I was because they wanted to look at me. Some were coming every single day asking about me. My husband rolls his eyes at it but I could deal with it because the attention was positive not negative
It has been a bit depressing being back in Australia so we’ve made a point of thinking of things we like about Australia. Real savoury bread everywhere, living near the harbour… stuff like that. The bathroom situation is definitely something I like here a lot more. I do like having more closed in showers where the floor doesn’t get really wet, and nice bathmats so there is no need for plastic slippers.
I forgot to pack a bigger towel when we went to Korea so had to use the tiny towels until we stole a slightly bigger one from a hotel.
My brother who has just moved back to Australia from Japan is so used to the tiny towels that he went and bought some to use in Australia because that is what he likes now.
What is something you really appreciate about your country when you come home from travelling?
(Also, we have a PO Box now so people can send us mail. It’s in the contact section. We are also about to film a Q&A video, so if you have any last minute questions, leave them in the comment section!)