Korean People

Change Name 20

 

Change Name

Just a very quick comic today!

For those that can’t read Korean, the funny thing is that the first syllable of Mr Gwon’s Korean name and the blood sausage dish are the same, so not only does he want to call himself something that he likes to eat, but it already sounds really similar.

Lots of our Korean friends have changed their names, it seems to be more common here than it is in Australia. What about in your country? Do many people legally change their name?

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Picnic in Mountains 6

Some thoughts about differences between Australia and Korea:

Our friends didn’t spent very long looking for the ideal picnic place. Wherever seems to be fine most of the time. Our picnic was technically on a man made weir… so on concrete rather than up on the rocks, and right near the road. There were nice places further up but going any further didn’t seem to be an option. Australians are really spoilt for space and I think that affects our desire for finding the best picnic places. Koreans don’t seem to mind as much. Plenty of times I’ve seen Koreans just plonk down wherever to have a picnic, side of roads, gravel packing lots – places Australians would never have a picnic. The scenery doesn’t seem to be the most important thing. Many Australians have probably had the experience of going for a picnic in a national park somewhere and trying to find the ideal place, “If we just hike for 20 minutes, scale this cliff face, wade through this river, there is the PERFECT picnic place I swear!”

Koreans won’t go swimming usually! I mentioned in the video that it would be inappropriate to wear a swimming costume (cossie in Australian slang) anywhere other than the beach or a pool. For Australians, and I think most westerners, people are likely to strip down to swimming costumes pretty quickly once they reach the ideal spot (some people even going skinny dipping). The only other person who went swimming besides from my husband and I was that one older guy, and he didn’t get in for long. The biggest reason Koreans often have for not swimming is that it’s too cold. I noticed this in Korea and with the Koreans who board with my parents in Australia. As an Australian, I’m not really that worried about cold water and I know within 5 minutes I won’t feel the cold much. Koreans just don’t have the same swimming culture and experience to know that. I’m sure those in colder European countries who swim a lot know how refreshing cold water can be! I think a big part of the Australian experience is going swimming, working up an appetite and then eating.

Koreans do food really well! I know lots of Australians do food well, but we can be pretty happy with just a bunch of sandwiches. For this picnic there was a bunch of different meat and vegetables and eating is constant grazing the whole time. When one type of meat is done, another goes on, there was rice and kimchi and side dishes then it moved on to ramen, then fruit. So much is centred amount just eating food. I don’t know how much of that is because of this particular group or people or region.

No one went properly exploring. People wandered around a bit but I was the only one who went quite far up the river. I know if I was with a bunch of Aussies they would be likely to trek up the river to see what was up there. I have lots of memories of camping and picnics when I was younger and someone going off exploring and coming back saying, “There is a waterfall up there!” or “Come check out this rock pool” and then everyone goes to have a look. Koreans love the outdoors and hiking, but it’s a much more structured activity. They get all dressed in the brand hiking clothes with the equipment and everything.

It was a really nice day and I’m really glad I got to swim a bit. I wonder what the Korean side of this would be. “The Aussie girl was really weird and went swimming twice and didn’t care about eating all the food and then just disappeared completely at one point.”

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Farm Work in Korea 2

On the weekend I noticed a lot of farm work was being done. There were a lot more people in the fields and I soon discovered that in order for the onion crops to be harvested family, friends and other workers are called in to help. We rode our bikes around and filmed some of the onion harvesting and some other farm work being done. We didn’t want to shove the camera in people’s faces so we mostly filmed at a distance.

Things that have also changed since our last countryside video: the concrete channels besides the fields have been cleaned out and now flow with water, wheat has been harvested and rice is now being planted in those fields, strawberry plants are left to die, potatoes are in season and being harvested, chilli plants are being grown, and kiwifruits are getting bigger but not full size yet.

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Memorial Day 2

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day in South Korea. It is for commemorating and honouring those who have given their lives for their country.

Read more here.

It’s also time remember that the Korean War never officially ended. We aren’t just commemorating fallen soldiers from long ago wars, but also remembering those who have died recently while protecting their country. Soldiers are still killed in skirmishes with North Korea and in military service accidents.

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Imagine 22

Imagine

Western furniture is something I really miss while in Korea. A lot of homes have barely any furniture, especially out in the countryside. My husband’s parents have a decent sized house for Korea but there is no sofa, no dining table. There are a limited amount of chairs and there is 1 single bed in the spare room. His parents sleep on the floor and we sleep on a mattress (I miss having a real bed too).

Meals are eaten on small tables (밥상) which are put away between meals. I understand why people don’t have much furniture because the space is used in a different way and traditionally Korean houses and furniture are very different to what we are used to in western countries. Furniture is also very expensive in Korea. There is not much range and it’s often quite bulky. While we now have space for a sofa technically, it would still have to be small one. Easy and cheap to get in Australia… not so easy or cheap in Korea.

My body really misses being able to relax on a sofa and I always take the opportunity to sit on them when we visit friends who have sofas. If you watch a lot of Korean dramas and Korean commercials it looks like Koreans have lots of western furniture, and houses and apartments are well furnished but that is not an accurate representation at all! It’s slightly more realistic when they are showing very wealthy families in dramas, but commercials that are supposed to be showing an average family but the average family lives in a huge apartment with lots of furniture?! Lies!

So I’m just stuck with my imagination now. Maybe if I wish really hard and believe… one will magically appear?

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Tired on the bus 11

Tired on the bus

We’ve been super busy lately and came back from Seoul last night. We did some filming with Han and Sophie here and then we travelled to Seoul together. For those that don’t follow us on Instagram here are some of the photos.

On the bus to Seoul

Bus

Han on the bus.

Han on bus

Waiting to meet with the publishing company. Walking around with Alice.

Han and Hugh

We stopped by the Eat Your Kimchi studio and Martina gave Alice this game. You may have seen it in a video before.

Alice

Sophie and Alice out on Saturday night in Ilsun.

Sophie and Alice

Alice watching some buskers.

Buskers and Alice

The boys after Saturday night drinking, wearing ahjumma pants. Mr Gwon, Han and Daniel (Daniel will be in some videos later this year).

Ahjumma Boys

The boys with Alice on Sunday

Han Hugh Alice

Unfortunately we didn’t get to do all the filming that we wanted to get done with Han and Sophie. Sophie and I didn’t get to film our videos because of time, illness and family commitments, but we are determined to get them back to Korea this year so we can do more stuff together. They fly back to Sydney tomorrow.

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Loud 1

Loud

So loud! Too bad if there really was a problem and I was like “Oh it’s just the taekwondo kids” and then the roof caves in on me.

I put a photo on Instagram a little while ago of the kids after their lessons playing by the river.

wonji

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Dol Celebrations 29

Dol Celebrations

(Woolies is Woolworths, a major Australian supermarket).

Han and Sophie’s daughter Alice had her first birthday celebrations (돌) on the weekend. It’s a very big thing in Korea! They are a lot of fun but my husband realised how much work they are. They are more like a wedding than actual modern Korean weddings are (way more fun as well).

He was only joking about not doing them for our children, of course we have to. Sophie also pointed out that once we have a baby he is going to think his child is the best in the world and do everything for them! First birthdays are huge events but they are also well catered for. You book the package deal you want and it’s held at a special hall with a buffet and an MC and everything is provided.

I’m sure once we have a baby he is going to think we need to do much more than just buy a supermarket cake!

Here is a photo from the celebrations.

dol celebrations

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The mother from 30

The mother from

Ahjummacist? That doesn’t even make sense. (Ahjummas are technically women who are married but tends to mean women in their 40’s and 50’s).

I’ve heard a lot of Koreans who have visited or stayed in Australia comment on the look and style of Australian women who are in that ahjumma age range. They have noticed that there isn’t one type of style for them and looks and hairstyles range considerably. In Korea there is a definite ahjumma style and something called an ‘ahjumma perm’. So of course ahjummas can end up looking very similar (obviously I’m not racist haha). My sister-in-law’s boyfriend once asked his mother about the perms saying, “Did you all get made in the same factory?”

When I go shopping with my mother-in-law we have to spilt up because I go to the younger women section and she goes to the ahjumma section – which is very different! I’m sure there are older Korean women that wear the younger styles, and the wealthy always have more access to different styles, but to me the ahjumma style is so vastly different to the younger styles. While of course in Australia there are clothing stores dedicated to older women, I’ve always been able to borrow clothes from my mother or shop in the same stores as her without feeling that style is vastly different to my own.

There also seems to be that line that you some day have to cross into ahjumma fashion. One of my husband’s female friends recently got an ahjumma perm and her friends were horrified. She insisted it was nice and easy to manage now so she felt comfortable, but her friends (all in their 30’s) were not ready to cross that line yet.

I don’t think I will ever get an ahjumma perm though…

 

Also, there wasn’t a new Mr Gwon Time yesterday like there should have been, but there is a new video on our BONUS channel where we try some of the candy you guys sent us.

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Ask Us – Kimchi Pets etc 9

We answer some questions. Do all Koreans like kimchi? Will we get a pet? What did we take for granted in Australia? Is it okay for nonKoreans to use “oppa”, “unnie” etc?

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Korean Countryside Bike Ride 6

Now that the weather is getting warmer I can show you some stuff outside!

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BB Cream 31

BB Cream

One of the things I really like about Korea is there isn’t the same obsession with masculinity as the West, and masculinity is often defined in a different way  to Western Culture. BB Cream is a great product in Korea and BB Creams here have many uses other than just a foundation and are usually an all in one product. Whitening, blemish treatment, serum, sunscreen, moisturiser, as well as coverage. Unfortunately most BB Creams from Western companies are just tinted moisturisers and don’t have the benefits of Korean BB Creams. Beware of those ones.

My husband wears BB Cream when we film videos and occasionally when we have to go to an event or something. He doesn’t wear it every day, and wears one designed for men. He is pretty lazy about putting it on, but luckily BB Creams tend to adjust to match skin tone. He should do it in front of a mirror though! He puts it on the same way Aussie guys slap on sunscreen at the beach. I think if it ever became really normal and socially acceptable for men to wear BB Cream in Australia they’d probably do it that way as well! Put some in their hands and then rub vigorously over the face for 5 seconds.

Many people comment on how great Korean people’s skin looks, especially Kpop stars. Korean people do take care of their skin and do a lot of treatments on their skin, but that’s only part of it. BB Cream and makeup play a huge role and Kpop stars wear a lot of makeup! Sorry to burst any bubbles there. Your oppas are wearing so much makeup… it’s not that they are completely flawless..

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Behind Me 28

Behind me

There aren’t many white people here so I do get stared at a lot. It doesn’t bother me until…. it’s teenage girls walking behind me and laughing! That’s when I get paranoid. Is there something wrong with me? Do I have something on me? Are they just laughing because I’m different? Most likely it’s nothing to do with me, and they aren’t even as bad as Australian teenagers but there is still something unnerving about it. Also I don’t have the fluency in language to deal with it if something happened.

It’s so weird because of course I was once a teenage girl but the older I get the more annoying and scary teenagers get!

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Is this milk okay? 13

is this milk okay?

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!”

At least I made them laugh!

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Unexpected 11

Unexpected

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.

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