You have probably seen Dom and Hyo’s comics and infographics around but you might not have actually seen them in a video. We were hanging out last Friday and took the opportunity to film a video together. We’d love to film more videos together (and get Hugh and Hyo talking more on camera – maybe they could do a video together!) so if there is anything you’d like us to do, or topics you’d like us to talk about, let us know!
Relationships with Koreans- friendships and romance
It was my birthday yesterday! One of my presents was a new straightener/styler but because it’s monsoon season I can’t really do much at the moment. The humidity is so bad in Korea at the moment and my poor white girl hair can’t handle it. It frizzes immediately. So instead I used it on Hugh’s hair and gave him wonderful Kpop hair.
I’m used to kilos, so seeing a weight in pounds makes no sense to me and I definitely can’t convert that in my head! (Thank you Google).
In normal conversation we don’t really have trouble understanding each other, but when either of us is muttering there can be some interesting interpretations.
For those that don’t know, we are in Seoul for a month house-sitting (and pet-sitting) for our friends (Eat Your Kimchi) while they do a tour in North America. Which is why Hugh is sitting on a sofa and I was randomly weighing myself, because we don’t have scales (or a sofa) at home.
He likes to think I’m such a baby and so helpless so it’s funny to turn it back on him.
Also it’s not just about being forgetful, it’s because once I’ve got my shoes on, I can’t go back inside! I’m not Korean and haven’t mastered the getting shoes on in 2 seconds thing. It’s such a hassle having to take my shoes off again, go back inside and get whatever I forgot and then put my shoes back on.
In Sydney we had a no shoes inside rule as well, but we’d ignore it if we had to run and get something quickly. I’ll get in big trouble if my inlaws see me do that though.
We live on a farm, in the middle of nowhere… sometimes annoying me is his only entertainment. I often give a good reaction as well. If you watch our vlogs and see him harassing me I’ll do the “Nooo! Don’t!!” and give him a good response to his teasing. I’ve gone through times where I’ve done the blank face and ignored it (because really I don’t mind that much) but it doesn’t matter if I give a reaction or not, he will still do it. He just genuinely likes annoying me, so I might as well make him laugh by reacting to his antics.
However! His sister has just arrived from Australia, where she was for 2 years. She came home yesterday and already they have been bickering, so I think I don’t have to bear the brunt of his antics now.
Don’t judge him too harshly, I definitely have my hyperactive moments of being super annoying and harassing him. He just doesn’t make comics about it.
by Nic • Culture, Korean People, Relationships • Tags: korean husband, korean inlaws, korean parents, korean parents-in-law, korean wife, marrying korean, my korean husband, will a korean's parents accept me?, will korean parents accept a foreigner
We get asked a lot about how Hugh’s parents reacted to him bringing home an Australian girlfriend. We also get asked whether Korean parents are likely to accept a foreigner son or daughter in law and what can be done to make things go smoothly. We talk about the stereotype of Korean parents refusing to accept foreigners, hypothetical situations versus reality and some warning signs.
As with any video, there are many things we can’t cover. For example, we didn’t talk about incidences of Korean parents completely refusing to accept a foreigner (of course that can happen but we just don’t know anyone who has had that experience personally). We also didn’t comment on Korean American situations or Koreans who grew up in countries other than Korea. The stigma of single mothers is another serious topic and how that will affect acceptance from Korean parents is another topic that we weren’t able to cover this time.
There are a few reasons why we are living with Hugh’s parents. One reason is that they are getting older and Hugh probably won’t ever have this type of time with them again, so making the most of it. Another reason is that it is of course cheaper for us to live with them. Hugh could go get a job and work hard and we could have a nice apartment and car, but he wouldn’t be able to do any blogging or edit videos or have much time for me. So we are making those sacrifices so we can get the website and business ideas off the ground, as well as cherishing our time together. We would pretty much have to stop YouTube if he was to get a normal Korean job.
Mostly it’s fine living with his parents. They let us do our own thing, but of course it is hard to have privacy. Not only that, but his parents are an older generation and in the countryside. They never show any affection for each other in front of others, so Hugh can be self conscious about even a quick peck if his parents are around – which is most of the time!
While movies often glamorize international relationships, in reality there are a lot of things to think about!
Also just wanted to clarify that when we say “the government doesn’t care if you are married” we meant that the government doesn’t give a crap about your love life and a marriage certificate is not a visa, nor does it guarantee a visa. However, actually being married can make obtaining a visa easier. We will expand on these topics in later videos.
I was just joking and knew there was no Jinju Tower… maybe one day there will be!
This is what we really did for our date night. We finally had some time off and went into Jinju for dinner and a movie. You can see a bit of it in our vlog:
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The problem with working at home is that your morning routine kinda blends with your work, checking emails while eating breakfast, moving onto other work and realising you haven’t even brushed your teeth yet.
My inlaws hate the smell of my basil pesto and Parmesan cheese. It’s interesting to be the foreigner with the stinky food..
(We did go brush our teeth after this moment).
What strong smelling food do you have in your country?
This blog post has been a long time coming and we actually made a video about this but have never uploaded it because we don’t want to offend people or be too polarizing.
For those that don’t know, AMWF stands for Asian Male White Female. We are indeed an Asian male and a White female but we don’t identify with that label or those tags when used online.
Our blog has always been about culture rather than what we look like. Labels like ‘Asian’ and ‘White’ are such large labels and contain many different cultures within them, so they end up mostly referring how someone looks. We’ve never been about that. In fact, I could be Asian Australian and we could still have the exact same cultural differences. Hugh could be of Korean ethnicity but have grown up in the same town as me and share the same Australian cultural identity, yet we would still fall under the AMWF tag. We have always highlighted the contrast of culture and trying to understand each other as an important aspect of the blog and YouTube channel.
When we first started the blog I never even thought to label ourselves that and it was only later that I discovered that these tags were used. My motivation was to simply share our life and the cultural differences we faced in a humorous and thoughtful way.
Hugh’s cultural identity as Korean is extremely important to him. He doesn’t like to just be labelled as “Asian” or have Korean culture lumped together in with all these other cultures that can be vastly different. While working in Australia he talked about how it frustrated him when people assumed that he was Chinese or Japanese just because he is Asian. He hated to have his nationality and cultural identity disregarded so easily like that. So when it came to the blog, we knew from the start it was important to show that he is a Korean man. The same way that now, as we live in Korea, I don’t particularly love being called American just because I am a white person. Even when people are corrected and told that I am actually Australian, their response is often, “Same thing.” For both of us, our nationalities are an important part of our identity. If we took a poll of what nationalities AMWF stood for, I don’t think Korean and Australian are necessarily the first ones that come to people’s minds. Another aspect of reducing our very real relationship to an internet tag or title is the uncomfortable way it resembles a porn tag, or fetish.
The benefits of using such tags are perhaps fitting right into an already established community and an easy way to find people who are perhaps like-minded. For me the tags seem too inclusive but at the same time too exclusive. There are many cultures within the term “Asian” and “White” so culturally it doesn’t mean that we necessarily fit into them. At the same time, AMWF is also excluding people of colour and gender who do actually have a relationship impacted by cultural differences. For example, letting go of such tags allows for non-White women (and men) with Asian partners join in communities and online sharing and to not feel excluded because of a tag.
On a more personal note, I feel that sometimes certain tags and titles diminish the sincerity of international couples. In the past year there have been many blogs popping up talking about and showing international and/or interracial relationships and perhaps there are many people currently contemplating starting one themselves. I think it’s good to always evaluate your motivations, ethics and priorities when you start blogging and what you want to present to the world.
I think there can still be times where it’s appropriate to talk about Asian men and White females, for example, representation in Hollywood films and the de-sexualization of Asian men in Western media, or the portrayal of White women in Asian media, but for us that’s not what our blog is about. It’s just about us.
Update: I also wanted to share what Sophie has also said about this issue. Sophie who has also done some blog posts here, and has been in some videos and is a good friend of mine.
I know labels like AMWF seem quite innocent, but as couples who come under this broad category, we also have a responsibility to think critically about what these labels say about us and whether we are okay with that. It can be very uncomfortable to have someone challenge a term we have latched onto, especially because I am sure most people don’t have any ill intent in using such tags. I think it is valuable to acknowledge the cultural differences in a bicultural, international marriage and personally, in my marriage we can recognise that we look different without this being a defining issue. We want to be normal members of society, accepted in Korea and Australia with barely a shrug.
For me, AMWF turns us into a side show, and reinforces negative stereotypes like “White women aren’t into Asian men” and therefore a narrative where I am a benevolent white woman who has been kind enough to take up a relationship with an unwanted or exotic ‘Asian’ man.
We all grow and change in our views, I’m sure when I was younger this tag wouldn’t have bothered me at all, but now I am a mother and have to deal with a new set of questionable categories like ‘half caste’ ‘half asian’ ‘halfie’ ‘biracial’ and figure out how to help my daughter navigate issues of identity and race. (For me, she is both 100% Korean and 100% Australian in every cell and each strand of her DNA) I wonder how I would feel if she went to school and described her parents as “AMWF” ..or if her friends used that term toward her.
I recognise shared experience is quite important to people in international relationships because we often feel like we are drifting into uncharted waters as we come upon new challenges due to cultural expectations, language, visas and other logistics. For me, this means I am always happy to connect with people who are married to Korean nationals, whether they are also Korean, or from whatever culture they come, but I disagree with the term AMWF.
I want a cup of tea pretty much all the time so that’s not too hard to guess. It just happened that he had already made me one and was bringing it to me when I called. Good timing!
This is something he does for me a lot. I need a cup of tea in the morning because it’s hard for me to get up (health problems and my body can be quite sore). And because I work for very long stretches at a time on writing and drawing and consume many cups of tea. He has more time so it’s easier for him to be the tea boy. I still need to call him “oppa” so he does it though.
This is his thing at the moment…. obsessed with the idea of having triplets. Can’t say that I’m too keen on the idea. The reason why is because he has been watching the tv show Return of Superman where there are some adorable triplets.
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We make this joke because it’s always an assumption some people will make- that he only married me for a visa. Obviously anyone who knows us knows that isn’t true. And we are living in Korea right now! The Australian visa process is so long and complicated that you’d know if someone was after one thing because they would have a hard time maintaining the relationship and answering the invasive relationship questions.
by Nic • Ask Us, Korean Language, Relationships • Tags: arguing cultural differences, arguing difference languages, arguing with korean husband, arguing with korean partner, my korean husband, relationship korean husband
In this Ask Us video we tackle some more serious questions! Two questions seem to pop up all the time so we answered as best we could. There are always way more things to say that don’t fit into a video and already this video was quite long.
As I mentioned in the video, we can’t reply to all the emails we get where people want relationship advice, but we can sometimes do videos like this where we discuss topics like this.