My Korean Husband

Intercultural Life

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Olympic Soccer and Korea

When the South Korean soccer/football team lost to Brazil in The Olympics I felt a bit sad, but oh well… Brazil is a strong team. But then I realised what team they have to play for the bronze medal…. Japan. My heart sank when I realised this because I knew how important this match would be. South Korea has a very complicated relationship with Japan. History is not just history to Koreans, it’s an ongoing thing and there are still political issues that drive a wedge between the two countries. This can be difficult to understand unless you understand both the history and the Korean mentality. I’ve read at length to try and understand the Korean way of thinking and I do mostly understand. I understand my husband’s way of thinking anyway.

HOWEVER, my blog is mostly lighthearted and I don’t want to delve into serious political issues. So this post is about my husband’s emotional reaction to this game. Koreans can love Japan, have many Japanese friends, but there will still be things that upset them. If you have a Korean partner it is likely you understand the way Koreans react to things like this. But others may not.

For example, Australia has a rivalry with Great Britain and often New Zealand, but they are always friendly rivalries. It is different for South Korea when they play against Japan. It’s… complicated. So hopefully you can understand why I was so apprehensive about this game. I didn’t want my husband to be really upset. I tried to prepare him in case Korea did lose.

Because of the time difference the soccer game was on early in the morning in Australia.

Luckily he was sighing with happiness. Also Korea won that taekwondo match too so he was extra happy. So of course I was happy.

Question: Do you call it soccer or football in your country? We say soccer in Australia.


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Free Food

My husband and I have been apart for a few weeks because he has been working in Sydney and I’ve been staying with my parents waiting until we had somewhere to live in Sydney. Even though we could talk every day, it is difficult to be apart.

He really does. He usually will take two and because I don’t usually want a sample he will make me go back and take two, pretending they are for me, and then make me give them to him. Greedy!

Anyway, I arrived in Sydney last night (what shocking weather there is at the moment!) so we are both now together. We are sharing an apartment with another Korean couple until we get our own apartment. Renting in Sydney is expensive! Especially the area we are in as it’s walking distance to the city. It is difficult for my husband, he is basically starting his life again in another country, so we are quite poor at the moment. Oh well at least we have our own bedroom and bathroom and we are together.

When I arrived last night these were waiting for me on the bed:

The bear has a cute hood on, and when trying to explain it, my husband said “You can take it’s head off!”

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G-Dragon Giveaway- Harper’s Bazaar

I have 1 Harper’s Bazaar Korea magazine to give away which has the G-Dragon Paris photo shoot in it. It is the August 2012 Edition.

To be in the running to win this prize simply leave your name in the comments section and a winner be selected randomly in about 1 week.

Congratulations CatvnloveTOP! Please contact me ASAP.

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Mr Owl

Sorry! This post is not related to anything Korean.

At my parent’s house there is an owl that lives right next to their back deck. He goes hunting at night and then comes back and sleeps in the same spot through the day. He lived there for a few months last year then disappeared for the summer. At the beginning of winter he came back again. He is not scared of us all and if we walk by he usually opens his eyes and watches us.

Hehehe he went back to sleep when I told him to.

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Sorry Gangnam… I don’t really care about your tourist attractions… I just like the song.

BTW, isn’t it great how popular that song has become around the world!

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Our Visa Story

We had planned to get the ‘Prospective Marriage Visa’ originally- when we first got engaged. My husband had used up all possible visas for Australia: both working holiday visas and student visas. The only way he could stay in Australia was if he got a visa because I’m an Australian citizen. While we were in Korea for a month I started preparing for the Prospective Marriage Visa. The information and requirements are immense and takes a while to wade through.

So that is our visa story! It is one of the biggest problems for couples that are from different countries. People don’t really understand how stressful it is unless they’ve been through it themselves. Although we got married then, we didn’t really count it as our real wedding yet. We didn’t become a real married couple until our big wedding. Both our parents were really supportive through it all and had no problems with us marrying quickly like that.

You do hear stupid comments from other people though. Some people seem to get weirdly annoyed when someone is given residency based on their relationship. And if someone marries to hurry along the visa process well….. watch out for stupid comments! You’ll hear people saying “There are other ways to get into Australia.” No there isn’t. It is really difficult to get sponsorship to stay in Australia. There is not just some miracle visa people can apply for to stay… the only way my husband could live in Australia was through his relationship to me.

Some Australians seem to think that it’s really easy to get into Australia! But of course anyone who has tried to go through the rigmarole of Australian Immigration knows otherwise. And if you marry someone from another country some people are suspicious. There were even comments from extended family members about how my husband would leave me after a few years because he was just using me to get into Australia…. Yup. A lot of stupid comments.

Not only is it difficult because of judgmental people but because there really are people who do fake marriages to get residency. Because of this, the process of getting this visa is upsetting and invasive. We had to show personal emails, photos, phone records… details of your life that are just between you and your partner you have to submit to some faceless immigration officer in an office!

One of the most frustrating aspects is that most people simply do not understand what you have to go through. If you complain about all the intimate details Immigration wants someone will just say, “But they need it for a reason.” They really do not understand how horrible the process is. We spent weeks and weeks spending almost every day putting together our application. My husband was on a tourist visa, he could not work, he could not study and technically he could be kicked out of the country if Immigration wanted to do that. Our backup plan, if he didn’t get the visa, was for me to just pack up my life and move to Korea with him. Not that ideal.

In the end we were so lucky. Most people wait months, some even years, before their visa is granted. My husband’s visa being granted in just 3 days was amazing!

If you are going through this visa process at the moment, I sympathize!

So we actually had three weddings. The registry office one in Australia to prove to Immigration that we were serious, our Australian wedding for all our family and friends and then our traditional Korean wedding in Korea. So question is… which anniversary should we celebrate???

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The Amazing Race

If you haven’t seen the TV show ‘The Amazing Race’, it’s a reality TV show where teams have to race around the world, completing challenges on the way. My husband loves travel so he likes watching it. We have been watching the Australian version of it and he can get quite worked up about it, especially when his favourite teams aren’t doing well.

If you have a Korean partner you probably know how patriotic Koreans can be. Of course with The Olympics on at the moment I’m hearing a lot of Korean patriotism right now. Sometimes though, Korean patriotism can pop up at really random strange times.

In this example (which was before The Olympics) my husband was cheering for Australians, because it’s an Australian TV show and because the show can be quite tense, he was getting worked up about it, almost like a sporting match. I think at some point his brain switched over to ‘Korean patriotic mode’ and suddenly the answer to the problem was “Go to Korea! Because Korea is the best!”

Even with it being a TV show where they are going to different countries- it didn’t really make sense when he said it! There are many times where all I can do is laugh at his passionate but sporadic bursts of patriotism.

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