This was so funny to my parents-in-law because I had been speaking to my husband and I used informal language, but because of the timing it sounded like I had replied to my father-in-law with informal language which is really rude! They knew that I hadn’t done that on purpose but because it sounded like I had, they laughed so hard. Especially because my father-in-law had softly said, “It’s okay” and then I had yelled, “It’s not okay!!!”
It’s been the running joke in the house for a few days. Every time I walk into the room my parents-in-law say, “안괜찮아!”
This is an interesting cultural difference if you are from a western country where you probably haven’t had someone feed you since you were a child. I’ve had control of how much food I put in my mouth at once for most of my life, especially because a lot of the time I’ve eaten with a knife and fork and can cut things quite small. I often have trouble fitting things like gimbap or samgyupsal wrapped up in lettuce in my mouth. So when someone else does it to me, I often find it really difficult.
However, as my husband keeps pointing out to me, it’s seen as a loving gesture. People don’t do it to people they don’t like. When we were out at a galbi restaurant recently he got me to do it to his parents, insisting that is really nice for them. For me, I just felt like I was invading their personal space, so that is something I will have to get used to. Sometimes it is difficult because even though it’s a nice gesture, you don’t actually want to eat the thing they are putting in your mouth, and other times it’s just the shock when you aren’t expecting it… or maybe it’s just the way my husband does the surprise ram food into my mouth? If you are married to a Korean, do you find this difficult as well?
I have started getting used to it, but I do have those almost choking moments! And in that moment I feel like I’d rather die than spit out any food in front of people…
Because of the romance/couple culture in Korea it’s quite normal to see guys holding their girlfriend’s handbags or doing things like tying their shoelaces for them. It’s nice to change things up though! I also sometimes grab his wrist the same way guys do in Korean dramas.
For Lunar New Year we went up a small mountain to visit my husband’s family’s ancestral graves. It was quite serious and solemn, so it was completely bizarre to see that squirrels have been using one of the burial mounds as a place for their nuts! There was a hole with small pieces of branches around it, which my father-in-law had to fix.
We were in the middle of the woods up a mountain in winter and even though I knew we weren’t far from the town it still felt very isolated. It didn’t help that I started thinking about the Barrow-wights in the Fellowship of the Ring (the book not the movie) when I saw the hole that had been made. I’m great at freaking myself out.
When I got the hanbok the women in the hanbok store told me that I shouldn’t eat while wearing it. I can see why, because they are very expensive!
This may be one of the reasons why he refused to have one made for him, because he would have to be careful and not eat much in it. Lots of people asked on the social media why he wasn’t wearing one, and there are a few reasons. They are expensive and he didn’t want his parents to pay for it. Also, hanboks for men are less flattering and not that many people actually wear them these days. In fact, besides from a few children I was the only one here wearing one. Also, when he wore one at our traditional wedding, his pants kept falling down! So he has embarrassing memories of wearing one.
I still think he should own one though, what do you think?
One problem I had on Lunar New Year was not wanting to eat for fear of dropping something on my hanbok, but then everyone was urging me to eat at the same time. I ate some watermelon and some dripped onto it and I silently was like “Noooooo!” and quickly covered it so no one could see. I didn’t eat again until the dinner when I could take it off.
Korea, like many other Asian countries, has a superstition about 4 because it sounds similar to the word for death (in Sino-Korean).
Of course tetraphobia is not the only thing needed for living in Korea. I’ve been thinking about how grateful I am that I visited Korea many times before moving here, because it has made the transition a lot easier. If I had never been to Korea before, I would be very overwhelmed. Even more so because we are in a rural area and not a city. I’m sure there will be hard times ahead though.
My visa was extended easily enough thankfully. The visa system here is different to the Australian system. I came to Korea with a 3 month partner visa which has now been extended to 1 year. We just extend again when we need to.
He gets really shy about compliments because I don’t think he has actually received that many in his life. He was never the handsome guy so it’s strange for him that people now compliment him. He doesn’t really fit into the general Korean girls’ standard of beauty so when international people say something like, “You look like this actor” or “You look like this Kpop star” he gets embarrassed and says he hopes Korean girls don’t see those comments because he dreads to see their reactions.
For example, last night he was playing poker with my brother and some Korean girls and I walked in and affectionately called him a “handsome boy” because I like his new haircut. A Korean girl there immediately reacted with such disdain, “Handsome boy???” He then pointed out that his wife is allowed to call him a handsome boy regardless of what anyone else thinks!
Hopefully you have seen this comic and know what my husband was trying to do and why he didn’t bring a towel. This time my brother and I were swimming and I didn’t think my husband was getting in the pool, so I didn’t make sure he had a towel. He joined us later and was still planning on using my towel! Luckily my brother knew what he was trying to do!
Sophie and I tackle a question that we see being asked quite a bit.
So we want people to look at the reasons why they want a Korean boyfriend and what their expectations are. It’s fine to be attracted to Korean guys and be interested in them, but when it comes to a relationship, make sure you really like them and aren’t just dating them because they are Korean.
Our advice relates to meeting guys in similar situations to how we met our husbands. We can’t give advice on dating other types of Korean guys, such as Korean American guys, simply because we don’t have that experience. Our husbands grew up in Korea and came to Australia as adults on temporary visas with no intention of settling down in Australia. There are many other things to talk about in regards to this which is why we will talk more about it in other videos.
Whenever I tell other Australians this they always say, “Yes that is bad etiquette!”
It’s not fun getting out of the water, being cold, and then finding your towel is wet because it’s been used by someone else. Even if it was your husband… or maybe, especially if it was your husband! These days I usually go back and get his towel so he doesn’t use mine. He has a nice big beach towel to use – we all do – but apparently carrying it to the pool or beach is just too much effort!
So “off the hook” is an idiom he hadn’t heard before.
A cultural difference between Australia and Korea we notice a lot, is that there is more of a culture of ‘Do it yourself’ home improvement in Australia. It’s a normal thing for families to be gardening and doing house improvement stuff on weekends. That is more unusual in Korea. The Korean guys that stay in the house next door are always surprised to see how much my parents do and how many skills they have for home improvement. While professional Korean construction is some of the best in the world, the average Korean doesn’t do home improvement stuff like here. Australia has an industry catering to it (not to mention so many TV shows about it) and it’s not unusual to take a trip to huge D.I.Y stores like Bunnings on the weekend.
Since we are back home with my parents for a month it’s expected my husband helps my father with the new project (putting a granny flat in). My husband’s sister’s boyfriend who is staying here has been helping my dad a lot and is learning how to do things, but my husband is still pretty clueless. Those on Facecbook and Instagram would have seen a photo yesterday.