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.
Relationships with Koreans- friendships and romance
People already love to judge the looks of interracial couples more than other couples and there can be extra scrutiny as we age. Caucasians in general seem to show the signs of aging earlier. There are plenty of jokes and memes online about the slower aging process of Asians but it is something you can start to see in your own life. Hugh still gets mistaken for someone 10 years younger than he really is, whereas I never would be. (Hugh is also older than me).
As with most comics this was a very real conversation we had in a lighthearted manner. The conversation continued with me lamenting my white genes, to which Hugh responded, “But you guys (white people) dominate everything, so don’t complain. That’s your punishment”. Hugh likes to get the white privilege jokes in haha.
I’ve been on some strong medication for health problems (Endo) which I feel is doing damage to my body and I feel like I can see it in my face. My mother looks amazing for her age so I hope I have some of those genetics to balance out what illness does to me.
For those also in interracial marriages: Do you get unnecessary comparison comments about your appearance?
In this video we talk about these types of messages that we get where women are asking us to help them find a Korean husband. People sometimes assume that it must be Kpop fangirls, but there is something much more serious going on. We talk about the arranged marriage industry in Korea and all the problems that have stemmed from it.
There are so many aspects of this topic that we can’t cover in one video, so please understand that if we miss something important it’s not that we aren’t aware of it, it’s just hard to cover everything. We are also aware of our own privilege, of Hugh being a Korean man and me being a western woman in Korea. We want to be as sympathetic and understanding as possible and realise this is a really complicated issue. If we offend, it’s completely unintended. We do also have more exposure to these types of situations than those living in cities. Even within Hugh’s own family there were foreign wives that ran away, some of our neighbors were those abusive families, but also some positive stories from our area as well. We know things are getting better, but still more needs to be done for multiculturalism in Korea and for families like this.
We thought up this challenge because after being married for several years I think we are comfortable confessing to some secrets or how we feel about some things in each other’s cultures. And I guess the challenge is not to descend into an argument! Haha! What food do we not like? What do we think is weird? What did we lie about?
We’d love to see some other couples do this challenge.
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.
by Nic • Culture, Relationships • Tags: australian culture, how we make our marriage work, intercultural couple, intercultural marriage, international couple, international marriage, korean culture, korean husband, my korean husband, western woman korean man
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!
by Nic • Korean Language, Random silly, Relationships • Tags: english pet name pumpkin, hobak, intercultural marriage, international marriage, meaning of pumpkin in korean, pumpkin in korean, pumpkin korean
Hugh says: Pumpkin (hobak in Korean), the pumpkin flower is beautiful but pumpkins in Korea have a lot of wrinkles and creases so it doesn’t look pretty. So we say apples and watermelon are pretty. There is even a saying when someone is putting on a lot of makeup to try and look good, “Do you think you can look pretty just by paining black lines on you?” (Like a watermelon).
Even though I know pumpkin means something different in English, and Nichola will use the English word, my automatic reaction is to not like it. So I just tease her saying I mean both meanings when I say “pumpkin”.
One of our biggest disagreements is about taking the plastic of new appliances. I always want to do it right away but Hugh NEVER wants to remove the plastic. It drives me crazy because the plastic looks messy, but it drives him crazy because he wants to keep the plastic on as long as possible to keep it “new”. I took one line of plastic off the new TV, but wasn’t allowed to take off anymore. When we got the new washing machine I took the chance to take the plastic off right away, much to Hugh’s horror.
I’ve read that when someone returns to their home, where their parents still live, they tend to act more like their teenage self and revert back to that type of behaviour. That definitely plays a part in how Hugh can act at home. He will argue with this parents, be stubborn and annoying, and torment his sister. He directs some of that sisterly torment at me too, and it’s seriously like dealing with a 16 year old sometimes. That’s not to say he is always like this, because usually he is a mature, level-headed, compassionate man, but he has his teenage times.. luckily we aren’t living here long term and will be moving to Seoul.
Hugh had already seen my sulky and moody teenage times at home in Australia so he was fully aware of that before he married me. But because we moved to Korea after 2 years of marriage, this was more of a surprise for me. In international relationships you always have that change in a partner when moving to another country. Many women married to Korean men find that after moving to Korea long term, that their carefree husband has turned into a stressed workaholic because of Korean work culture. There needs to be understanding on both sides. That’s why marriage is about deciding every day to love someone, even when they can be at their most annoying.
And I bet Hugh gets his revenge on me in a ‘My Australian Wife’ comic!
by Nic • Culture, Relationships, Sophie and Han • Tags: australian culture, australian korean couples, intercultural marriage, intercultural relationship, international marriage, international relationship, korean culture, korean husband, korean wife, multiculturalism, my korean husband
We ask questions to Australian/Korean married couples! How did you meet? What aspects of your partner’s culture have you adopted? Best and worst things about international/intercultural relationships? Advice or other couples?
Big thank you to everyone who helped us make this video!
Check out Rachel and Nick’s YouTube channel, The Drunken Bear here.
There is a reason why we don’t do these videos regularly: they sure are a pain to edit! But we had been wanting to do something like this for a long time. This video is just Australian/Korean couples, but we may in the future do another video with a bigger mix of people. We wanted to focus on the culture rather than race aspects, as too often people focus on race and what people look like. But culture is what we should be talking about. How do you navigate and international and intercultural marriage? It’s an ongoing exploration and discussion.
(A video with Korean subs will be coming).
Hugh does a lot of socializing and a lot of it is business related or important networking. Sometimes I have to show my face because people hear about me but have never met me. I’m elusive! Even when it’s an English speaking environment I’m going to avoid or bail early. I spend so much time hiding away that Hugh thinks he needs to remind me how to dress nicely. Introvert life. I’m happy to go out and have one on one conversations with interesting people, but big group situations are tiring and Korean socializing easily goes until the early hours of the morning.
Hugh is not elusive at all. Whenever he is in Seoul you’ll see him somewhere in Hongdae. He has a love/hate relationship with the Hongdae area. He loves many places there but hates the crowds of university students.
We sure had a lot to talk about! This was a lot of fun to film. We actually filmed it before we were in Australia for 6 weeks and almost couldn’t find the footage again, but I’m glad we did. After filming this we were like, “Oh I just remembered something else annoying you do!”
In some ways we are really similar but in other ways we are complete opposites. Seriously, who wants to unpack their suitcase at 1am???
After that he did start to list things he was thankful for, but made that joke first and said, “You should make that into a comic”. Almost all comic ideas are genuine things that actually happen, but he is the one that prompts me to actually turn them into comics.
Not surprisingly, it was a little bit difficult mood-wise coming back to the middle of the Korean winter after being in the Australian summer. We felt a shift in our moods so we’ve been working hard on being positive and motivated.
by Nic • Australia, Relationships, Sophie and Han • Tags: australia, han and sophie, intercultural marriage, korean australian couples, korean husband, married to korean men, my korean husband, new year's eve, sophie and han, sydney fireworks
We didn’t plan to do much for New Year’s Eve but we ended up at a cool apartment and then close to the fireworks! We were really lucky.
It’s rare for all of us to be together. Han and Sophie (and Alice) live in Australia, but Daniel and Chloe and us live in Korea. Daniel and Han are both sometimes in our Ask Korean Guys videos with Hugh. While the three wives (me, Sophie and Chloe) are all close friends. It was great to all be together.
Make sure you watch to the end to see the BIGBANG dancing and singing!
We talk about Korean pet names! We cover the most basic ones (and some new funny ones) but there are more talked about on this blog here.
What are the most common pet names in your country?