We lived in the Korean countryside for over 2 years and not that many people are fluent English speakers there, so Hugh and I got into the habit of not really moderating what we said in public. In Seoul we still sometimes say things loudly in English that maybe isn’t the most appropriate thing to say.
We were in a department store when I was asking Hugh to comment on the size of my butt (I wasn’t sure about Korean sizes). A guy walked past and obviously heard and burst into laughter. Like that sudden snorting laughter. His laughter made me laugh as well, but reminded me that many people can understand me here.
Have you ever had a situation like that before?
We aren’t able to make a video this week due to business stuff and health stuff. This footage was originally for a Seoul Life video but thought I’d just put it up now instead. There has hardly been any snow this winter in Seoul so I’m glad we took the opportunity to play in the snow in the middle of the night.
We did our best to recreate an Australian style Christmas in Seoul. We sourced some things locally but also had some things sent from Australia like gravy, Christmas crackers and Christmas chocolate. Our friends Han and Sophie and their kids Alice and Gyo joined us for Christmas lunch.
Hyunwoo (from Talk to Me in Korean) and his family also visited in the afternoon.
We have always known President Park was a likely a puppet (her father was previously a president and a dictator) and we knew cults influenced so much of Korea but it’s shocking to see the extent of it. The corruption is everywhere and Choi Soon-sil, a cult leader, has had a dangerous amount of power over the president. She has had so much influence over everything (everything from dressing the president to rewriting her speeches) and the corruption runs deep. We have heard firsthand accounts from friends of what she has been doing. She tried to take over important Korean cultural centers to make into her own restaurants (paper businesses for embezzling money), literally walked into them and tried to fire people on the spot. These are important places for traditional Korean culture not only for Koreans but foreigners to experience. This is just one incident of many. Choi Soon-sil has no respect for Korea, uses it as her personal playground and all with the permission of the president. South Koreans are sick of the corruption in politics and are horrified to learn how much corruption there really is. President Park’s approval rating is at an all-time low of 5% and possibly anyone still supporting her only does because they benefit financially. The whole world is a worrying place at the moment which is why going to the protests is important to us.
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).
Hugh and Joel try out VR in Hongdae in Seoul. It’s about 6,000 won for 20 minutes if you are looking to have the pants scared off you.
Have you tried something like this?
We went to the Han river with a bunch of our friends. Han and Sophie and Alice have moved back to Korea! It’s awesome to be able to see them regularly. (Sophie’s blog about raising a bilingual child is here).
We also went with with Hyunwoo and his wife Mikyung and their son Joon. Also our friend Megan Bowen (on YouTube Chonunmigooksaram) came as well. We all live in a similar area in Seoul, so it’s great to be able to spend time together like this. It was a public holiday so there were so many people in the parks at the river, but it was a lot of fun. It’s so nice to see Joon and Alice playing together!