In this Seoul Life video we eat some amazing watermelon cold noodles, Hugh shows some of his work day, and we catch up with Joel, who is back in Korea briefly.
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!
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).
by Nic • Culture • Tags: korea jesa ceremony, korean ancestors, korean ancestors ceremony, korean ancestral memorial rites, korean culture, korean husband, korean traditions, living in korea, my korean husband
We filmed this before we were in Australia for 6 weeks. This is the ancestral memorial rites for the Gwon/Kwon family. Hugh and I were researching online the exact word for this type of one but couldn’t find it, there doesn’t seem to be as much information about it. It is Jesa, the ancestral rituals, but not exactly the same as the more commonly done ones. This one is done once a year with the head family and it honors 8 or 9 generations back. Because the Gwon family were part of the yangban (the traditional ruling class) they have all the records of how far back their family goes.
In Korea, Catholics, Buddhists and the nonreligious practice ancestral rites, but protestant Christians do not usually. Although I identify as Christian myself, I have a lot of issues with the type of Christianity in Korea and how culture can be erased when Western missionaries push their own beliefs but that’s a discussion for another day. These ceremonies show appreciation and respect to the family’s ancestors as well as strengthening ties with living family.
You can see the different treatment of men and women in Confucianism in traditions like this (and still to this day in modern society). But it is gradually changing. Just recently for Lunar New Year Hugh’s immediate family decided it wasn’t fair for women to have to do 4 bows when men did 2, so it was changed to women doing 2 as well, because as Hugh put it, “Confucius was sexist”. At the Gwon family ancestral memorial I could see the difference in attitudes depending on how old the male family member was. Hugh was actually quite shocked that the women couldn’t eat with the men and had to prepare all the food, and a middle aged family member was helping carry the food across for the women, while the older men didn’t seem to give it a second thought. Confucianism has some good elements, but some benefit from some modern changes. The culture can be kept but updated for a modern Korea. In fact modern Korea could benefit from going back to some Confucian ideals of not having corrupt leaders, but again a discussion for another day.
This was the first time Hugh had done this particular ceremony as usually only his father does it. Being in an international marriage and mixing your culture with another does make you start to appreciate your own culture and where you come from. It’s good to understand your own heritage as you also adopt another. In recent years I’ve discovered more about my own ancestors and my ancestor who arrived as a convict in Australia on the first fleet. My father and I visited her grave and contemplated how she was just a young girl who had stolen some fabric and was sentenced to death, but then transportation, and how hard her life must have been. I was incredibly moved to visit her grave but also felt helpless as there were no words or rituals to be said in respect for her. So because that is lacking in my own culture (unless someone dies in a war) I can appreciate these rituals in Korean culture.
by Nic • Australia, Sophie and Han • Tags: bbq australia, han and sophie, international couples, international marriage, korean australian couple, korean australian family, korean australian multicultural family bbq, korean bbq, korean husband, multicultural family, my korean husband
Another quick video in our Australian summer series! You may be wondering how this group of people actually came together. Some of us grew up in the same areas, or went to the same schools, and then only later in life have reconnected because we’ve all married into Korean families. Other people we’ve met through the blog or through Korean classes. Australia is becoming more and more multicultural and as the Korean population grows, the more common multicultural families with Australians and Koreans are becoming. It’s great being friends with other couples and families in similar situations, and with some of us living in Korea and some of us living in Australia, it’s rare that all of us can come together like this.
A new vlog up on the Nicholalala YouTube channel. We show a day in Australia and talk about the space difference in Australia, especially compared to Korea. There is a lot more private recreation space in Australia. My family has a big backyard, which I miss while in Korea.
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!
When I’m sick I don’t want to be near food or see people eating it, but Hugh will still sit with everyone at dinner time and watch us eat! He watches what I eat carefully and urges me to eat certain things and chastises me when I’m not eating enough. I’m assuming this is also related to how popular ‘mokbangs’ are in Korea. A mokbang is a live stream of someone eating often copious amounts of food. Lots of people tune it to watch these. There is also such a focus on “eating well” in Korea. If you eat a lot at dinner you are complimented. My mother in law is always happier when I’ve eaten a lot at dinner and I get the type of praise you’d only give a child in Australia. “Well done! You ate well!”
Hugh gets really frustrated when he has no appetite because he is sick and thinks I’m not enjoying the food as much as I should be. Luckily he isn’t sick now, this was the other week.
He’s also been wearing a cute yellow scarf when he’s been sick to keep his throat warm.
This is a redo of an earlier comic about when we first met.
Yes, he used this G-Dragon line on me when we first met. Still haven’t met GD and it’s 5 years later! I thought it was appropriate to share this one again since BIGBANG are currently in Australia now! Ironically I’m in Korea…
Hope everyone has a great time at the BIGBANG concerts!
(Technically he is related to GD but distantly).
Sometimes in our videos we show other couples like Han and Sophie, and Daniel and Chloe, this comic features both of them:
Korea has such a late night drinking culture! This can be really frustrating if you don’t want to go out late or can’t. There are so many factors like who they are with, if there are hyungs (older friends) there, if the drinking is to do with work or if it’s friends they rarely see. All these things can cause late nights. The concept of what is late can differ from what you are used to as well. Many many people stay out until the sun is coming up. Hugh in particular, is such a social butterfly while I’d rather stay in. This comic was actually something that happened last year with all our friends, I vaguely remember it being put on social media as well. The boys made sure we weren’t too annoyed at them staying out late by wearing ahjumma pants (floral pants favoured by middle aged women).
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This video shows the farm getting ready for strawberry season (November to May). While other produce is dying off as the weather gets cooler, the strawberry plants are getting ready to produce super sweet strawberries.
Strawberries in Korea are very sweet but my parents-in-law’s strawberries are particularly sweet because they put a lot of effort into making sure they are extra sweet. Some other farms choose quantity over quality so their strawberries are not as sweet: be careful! The strawberries from our farm end up in department stores in Gangnam, but of course the middle man takes a big cut. The strawberries go to market first before department stores. It would be great if there was a way to sell directly and get a bigger profit but it’s not really that possible, because strawberries expire quickly and it’s a whole other business, on top of working on the farm, to do that. We may be selling some directly to some cafes and restaurants who order a lot, but the majority go to be auctioned off and then sent to department stores. The boxes usually have my father-in-law’s name on them too. Sancheong (our region) strawberries are now known to be the best in Korea, sometimes cafes have signs boasting that they have desserts with Sancheong strawberries.
Have you used Korean beauty masks before? Hugh has this habit of coming to bed with them on and it freaks me out!
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