My Korean Husband

Intercultural Life

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Video of North Korea

I can’t do a comic today as I’m not at home so I have no access to my paints and scanner. My wacom tablet was delivered but I’m a traditional artist trying digital art for the first time so it may take some time!

I was browsing some videos about North Korea on youtube because I was trying to find some propaganda videos uploaded by North Korea that I’ve watched before. I came across this video by someone who took a trip into North Korea and it’s really interesting. Well worth watching.

I’m always curious about North Korea and fascinated by how different it is from South Korea. I can’t find the propaganda videos now, so they may have been removed.

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Bad Korean

When we were in Vanuatu we came across this hat in a shop. There are many Chinese shops in Port Vila but it was funny to come across Hangul in one of them. And Hangul that makes no sense.

It says “Children…….something…..Monk”.

So someone just had random Hangul printed on these hats. Not really surprising when you consider how much bad English is on clothing. Who are these people who decide what will be on these clothes? Are they locked in a room with no computer and internet? I seriously wonder sometimes.

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One of the many differences between English and Korean is how direct you are to people. The Korean language has a lot of ambiguity and people often don’t say exactly what they mean. Whereas in English we can be very clear and say exactly what we mean and it’s socially acceptable to speak like that as well. So while native Korean speakers can usually understand each other because they understand the subtleness of the language, it can be hard for someone learning the language.

What is also hard is when a Korean person speaks with the ambiguity of the Korean language but in English!

Sometimes my direct questions are answered this way too often and I can get a bit annoyed!

One time I asked my Korean teacher about this and he said, “If your husband says ‘maybe’ he probably means no.”

Then I asked my husband and he said, “I usually mean yes.”

See? Even Koreans can’t agree on it!

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Scared of Korean Class

I have not been to Korean class in many many weeks. I have been busy and also traveling¬† but I fear I am woefully behind. I have class tomorrow and I’m worried this will happen.Yes, I’m worried that I will freak out as soon as the teacher says something to me in Korean and run away.

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Cup of Tea

Not something I do a lot but starting to realise why some Korean girls do it… hehehe.

‘Oppa’ is the respectful term used by girls for a guy who is older than them. I don’t usually call my husband that because I use other names couples can use. Because of the popularity of Korean dramas a lot of international fans seem to think that ‘oppa’ is always used by a girl who is in love or in a relationship with the older guy. Not always. It was and still is a normal respectful term to use to a guy who is older than you. It literally means ‘older brother’. I only use it at times where I want to be extra respectful.

Being cutesy like that is called ‘aegyo’ and a big warning here: if you have a Korean partner and you want to try being aegyo it may not work! A lot of guys really hate this and one of their reasons for seeking out a non-Korean partner could be because they want to date someone who does not do this. So proceed carefully!

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Watching Pride and Prejudice

I love all things Jane Austen but Jane Austen books and adaptations aren’t as popular in South Korea as they are in some other countries. My husband didn’t have much of an idea about what I was talking about when I first started explaining the phenomenon of Jane Austen. This ended up to being to my advantage though. Too often males in western countries can take an instant disliking to anything Jane Austen simply because they have heard it’s something ‘girly’ and old fashioned for women. There are lots of amazing and sensible men who enjoy all things Jane Austen but by far women outnumber men.

I even had a previous boyfriend use Jane Austen as a reason to break up with me (though among other reasons) because he had an irrational fear that I would force him to attend the Jane Austen Festival and dress up in costume. I had no intention of doing that but he had such ridiculous ideas in his head that he refused to listen.

So I was very happy when my husband had no problems with sitting down and watching Pride and Prejudice with me. He wasn’t very familiar with the storyline so it was nice to see someone experience Jane Austen for the first time. He is usually quite expressive and vocal when watching movies and dramas and this was no exception.

Pride and PrejudiceThe Wickham and Lydia storyline quite upset him. He also watched ‘Lost in Austen’ and had quite a dramatic reaction to the ending which I may make a comic of another time.


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Ice Mum

Something we can never agree on is how to respect and speak to parents. Because my husband comes from a hierarchical society it is ingrained in him to always be respectful to his parents and not to disagree with them. Whereas I come from a society that is more relaxed about parent/children relationships and I will openly disagree with and contradict my parents. I have a good relationship with my parents but some things I may do or say my husband sees as disrespect. He has trouble understanding this sometimes.

This incident however, was actually one of those times where I was not doing anything that could be seen as disrespectful but he still thought I was! And he thought that for many months!

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