My Korean Husband

Intercultural Life

Category: Culture (page 2 of 22)

Traditional and modern Korean culture.

Filming and Korean Markets

YTN was filming us for a segment about YouTubers in Korea. Sara and Yoojin joined us as we explored the Mangwon markets. Since we had to film for YTN’s filming we made a vlog of the day.

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Take Down Christmas Tree

Visitors to Korea may notice Christmas decorations up when it’s nowhere near Christmas. I’ve definitely seen them up all year round. When I ask Hugh about it he says it’s just because people think they look nice. Christmas is a couple holiday in Korea but there are still a lot of Christmas decorations around, so they have adopted that element of Christmas culture, but not the culture of actually taking them down after Christmas! I think for western countries, besides from the belief some might have of them being bad luck if kept up, we take them down because they lose their importance and meaning if kept up all the time. I think in most countries Christmas trees are taken down in January, unless it’s a lazy university student’s share house. We appreciate decorations when we don’t constantly see them and that’s what makes Christmas a special time. Seeing a dusty Christmas tree in a cafe in July is just depressing (seen that many times in Korea).

I understand that Hugh really likes how pretty our tree looks, but I’m still going to take it down.

When do you usually take your Christmas tree down? Or throw out if you have a real one?

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Remembering Names

He likes the TV show “Luke Cage” but always calls it “Lucas Cage”.

There always comes a point in multicultural marriages where you get scolded for something your partner does constantly as well. I need to try harder to remember Korean names, but Hugh also thinks so many English names are interchangeable. Luckily he has never called me “Nicole” before…

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Halloween in Korea

Our first Halloween in Korea! Actually it’s the first Halloween we had celebrated together because it’s only just started getting popular in Korea and Australians don’t really celebrate it that much (or if you do celebrate it, there can be so much negativity about it being an American thing and backlash about American culture being in Australia). Australian Christian communities can be very anti Halloween as well, much to the surprise of my Christian American friends who celebrate it. I think there being so many Americans in Seoul has influenced how popular Halloween, especially with young people. Also older people complimented on our costumes as well, we didn’t feel any negativity about it (well besides from the girl that Alex scared!).

I was Miss Havisham from Great Expectations, though most people assumed I was a ghost bride or something. Hugh was an Australian bogan zombie. I guess ‘bogan’ can be translated as ‘white trash’. He also had racist tattoos on his arms, not just the Southern Cross but “Aussie Pride” and “F*** Off, we’re full”. His costume was a bit subversive because of course that type of person is racist to Asians and those types of tattoos proudly display that racism. So he was also poking fun at a certain white stereotype, while at the same time embracing other aspects of Australian culture (he wore thongs/flip flops, board shorts, a cricket singlet and sunscreen while holding a VB beer).

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Weird stuff people say to us

We try to focus on positive stuff but after being online for several years we thought we’d talk about some of the weird or mean comments we sometimes get, as well as what some people say in real life. We also wanted to give a space to other international/interracial married couples to talk about their experiences too. People usually comment more on YouTube to head over there to join the discussion.

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Same Age

Same Age

If you are completely unfamiliar with Korean culture and respectful terms, this comic might be a little bit difficult to understand.

The longer we’ve been back in Korean culture, the more Hugh likes being called “Oppa”. Since it was my birthday recently, my age “caught up” to his. This doesn’t happen in Korean age because everyone’s age goes up at the same time at the start of the year. But in international age there are a few months where our ages are the same. Hugh pointed this out. In Korea if someone is the same age as you it means you are friends in the sense that neither person needs to use a respectful name for the other, because neither is older than the other. It allows for much more relaxed speech and manners usually.

So I took the opportunity to act like a “chingu” instead of a “dongseng” (the younger one in the relationship). Used to be an “oppa”, Hugh suddenly realised he had made a terrible mistake…

In English I am very free and comfortable and can tease him with no problems. But in Korean, in a Korean setting he suddenly realised how different it was if he wasn’t my Oppa anymore. Especially because I used the opportunity to be rude.

Hugh says: I was saying, “You are the same as my age now! Hahaha!” And making fun, but actually it’s not good for me. I still like to be called Oppa.

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How we make our marriage work

We get a lot of messages where people need advice and we do out best to answer them. We decided it was time to make a video talking about how we make our marriage work and what things we do to make a happy life together. The video was actually over 30 mins long but of course cut down, so there was many more things we had to say!

We wrote down what we wanted to say, but I ended up doing more of the talking because Hugh isn’t as comfortable in English for a more scripted video BUT if you get him in person he will talk your ear off!

 

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