We are so overwhelmed!
CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR ANNOUNCEMENT VIDEO
This video is our podcast style of video where it’s a longer video that can be just listened to, rather than watching it all.
When we uploaded our pregnancy announcement video we were so overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and happiness! I honestly thought just usual people would comment and that would be it. But we had thousands and thousands of comments! We wanted to make this video to thank everyone and answer some questions.
Also at the latest ultrasound we filmed a bit so I put that footage in the video as well. I know some people were wondering about how many ultrasounds I’ve had. Korea does more than western countries in general, but also because of infertility, I’ve had so many that I’ve lost count. I was getting ultrasounds before I was pregnant and sometimes 3 times a week. We’ll talk more about that later. My fourth ultrasound while pregnant, which is the one in the video, if often only the first for many women. We’ve been lucky to see our baby so regularly from the beginning.
Hugh has also been lucky to be with me at every stage of this journey. So often men miss out on these moments because of work, but I’ve needed Hugh with me for every appointment. In the video he shows the big book he got about pregnancy, childbirth and babies which has been really helpful. He is really excited to be a father.
I haven’t been able to travel during the early stages of pregnancy but I’m looking forward to going back to the countryside and seeing Hugh’s family again.
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Hugh updates you on his transformation progress!
Although we haven’t made a video about Hugh’s journey for a while and he doesn’t post much about it on social media, he has been quietly working away. He works out almost every day and does high intensity work outs which are really paying off. He has dropped so much weight that all his clothes are too loose and baggy right now. Time to go shopping!
It’s been amazing to see his confidence grow as he becomes slimmer and healthier. For a long time he believed that his body type would always be bigger, even if he lost weight, that he would still look bulky. But he has slimmed down so much and made such big lifestyle changes that his body shape is changing. His trainer Yoojin getting him on focus on exercise that made him drop weight instead of just bulking up has helped a lot. Now he knows how to exercise by himself at home and how to be motivated to do it.
For me however, I’m just expanding with pregnancy! One of us is getting smaller and the other is getting bigger! I’ve started wearing his big tshirts. I’ve also made it difficult for Hugh with my morning sickness. I haven’t been able to cook and needed a lot of delivery food, but he has been very strong and made his own meals.
Also, Hugh WON’T be doing a naked a photo shoot. But he will be doing one in his underwear. There is a trend in Korea where people get professional photos done when they get into great shape. He has already met with a photographer and makeup artist that will do his photo shoot in 2 months time. In the final video of his transformation he will reveal those photos.
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Our big announcement! It’s been a relief to finally announce as we feel like we’ve had to keep this secret for so long. We announced on social media last night and have been overwhelmed at the thousands of positive comments and messages from everyone. We didn’t expect this many!
So many people have been with us since the blog first began and have been following us for years so we are so happy to share our pregnancy news with you. Especially as we’ve been going through a tough time to even be able to get pregnant. As we mention in the video there was always the possibility that we would never be able to have kids and we had to come to terms with that. This baby does feel like a miracle. Being in Korea and at a very good hospital has made this all possible. We will talk more about that side of it much later once the baby arrives later this year.
In the meantime, thank you everyone for all your support and love. We really did not expect a response this big. I know some people are worried we will disappear from online once we have a baby but don’t worry, we will still be here and still creating content. I’m sure there will be many great comic ideas later. Some have asked how much we will show of our child and it’s something we have discussed and are hoping to find a balance that is healthy and educational. We are not daily vloggers so we wouldn’t be vlogging any day in the first place. It will likely be either small short videos of certain moments, or videos that can educate people about raising an intercultural/bilingual child.
Since we mentioned how hard it was to get pregnant I’ve had a lot of messages from women who also have Endometriosis or similar diseases, some who still managed to have kids, and others who are having trouble becoming pregnant. I think there is a lot of space for online dialogue about this so I will make some videos in the future talking about it and give a space for people to share their stories.
Thank you to Joel Bennett for taking the photos and to Yoojin for editing and taking extra footage.
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Don’t do this with chopsticks! Chopsticks in Korea.
One of the first things you may learn when travelling to Korea, Japan or China is that it’s inappropriate and offensive to stick chopsticks into your rice like that. Although it varies from country to country, it is always something symbolic in regards to rituals for the dead.
In Korea you see it in the Jesa ceremonies. There are different types of Jesa ceremonies for deceased family members and they can vary from region to region. The only time I’ve ever seen someone do this gesture respectfully is for Jesa ceremonies at Hugh’s parents’ house when his father leads a ceremony.
An action you will probably only ever see at a jesa sees the leader insert of a pair of chopsticks into the center of a bowl of rice. It is considered taboo to stick one’s chopsticks vertically into food in Korea unless at a jesa, as this gesture is reserved for food offered to the spirits of the dead.
From: Life after death – The beguiling world of the Korean jesa ceremony.
Unfortunately Hugh is sometimes not the most respectful person! He doesn’t do it on purpose but has the bad habit of being lazy with utensils (I’ve seen him eat meat with just tongs before!) and sometimes he just doesn’t think about it. Sometimes the person who is newer to a culture and has more recently learned these manners is the one paying more attention.
I’ve realised when editing videos later he has done it on camera as well much to the horror of some. Telling him that is grandfather is upset and watching him made he laugh but also to think about why there are traditions in Korea.
One a side note:
When Catholic missionaries first came to Korea they realised the importance of these ceremonies and didn’t make converts change which is why Catholicism grew more rapidly in Korea at first. Catholicism has many ceremonies and rituals and Korean culture was able to merge with these new beliefs. Unfortunately Protestants came in with cultural insensitivity and forced many to give up these important traditions. These days some Christians have adapted traditional ceremonies to meet half way between protestant beliefs and traditions but many still shun the days when these ceremonies are done, often leaving the country altogether. Catholicism in Korea is known to be more accepting of different faiths and work with other religions and religious leaders, while Korean protestants are some of the most aggressive Christians in the world and have been known to even vandalise Buddhist temples. Even the recent holiday of Buddha’s birthday there were protestant Christians picketing temples. It’s sad the damage that western beliefs can do.
Coming from a country that doesn’t have many traditions or ceremonies I appreciate seeing the traditions in Korea and being part of them. I hope the younger generation can realise the important and continue them on. Hugh will have to take over the Jesa ceremonies from his father eventually and will need to learn how to do them.
Then he will be allowed to stick the chopsticks in the rice!
More on how to hold a Jesa ceremony here.
Exploring Korean markets and delicious street food!
We have shown Mangwon markets before in videos but we haven’t really been able to do it justice. This time we had Yoojin filming and Joel also got some good shots for us. I always find Korean open markets to be really fascinating and it’s a great way to see local culture. The street food places at the markets usually have somewhere to sit down inside which is more comfortable than standing and eating at the cart street food like in other places. I really like the tteokbokki there!
Local markets are a great place to do grocery shopping as the prices are a lot cheaper than the bigger stores. We generally buy our fruit and vegetables at the markets and only buy foreign items like cheese and butter at HomePlus or Emart. If you go to the markets in the evening the prices often drop even more.
Another reason to go to the markets is of course the food. There is great street food at the markets but also other small restaurants with great food and cheap prices. Since they are operating out of a small area and people can just take and eat as they walk, they can keep the prices down. Korean people eat out A LOT and these types of places allow people to do it regularly and cheaply.
If you are visiting Korea make sure you check out some markets as there are many around. Korean tourism often tries to push people to Gangnam or other modernized areas of Seoul but if you want a more authentic experience go to where the local people are shopping and socializing.
Mangwon markets also merges into the World Cup markets so it’s technically two markets in one. The Mangwon area is also an up and coming area with many small, quirky business and great food moving in. Once you are finished at the markets you can check out some of the great cafes in the area. Also the Han river is not too far away which is another important aspect of people’s lives in Seoul.
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Maintaining Relationships with Family and Friends When Living in Another Country.
This is one of the hardest things about living in another country, especially for international couples. Someone will always be apart from their friends and family. People have different ways of dealing it, some people find thinking about family too much can wear them down so they can’t handle every day contact, while others manage by talking almost single day on Skype. I’m somewhere in the middle where it’s mostly some messaging and a few phone calls.
Luckily, I also have many friends in Korea and it’s easier as a couple to make new friends. It can be a lot harder for single people to make those connections. I know living in another country can be a very lonely experience sometimes. Hugh had a lot of hard times in the first few years of living in Australia. It’s always weird to think back and know in hindsight know that he was already in Australia but that we wouldn’t meet until several years later.
Sometimes it’s hard to maintain relationships when your friends or family aren’t embracing technology the same way that you might be. Messaging services and Skype can be a lifeline for those in a foreign country but sometimes those back home don’t understand how important they are. There can also be a feeling of disconnect when your experiences are now so different from other friends and they can’t understand how you have changed. Like Hugh mentioned in the video, he has nothing in common with the people he was friends with before he went to Australia.
Thankfully with modern technology it’s a lot easier to maintain those relationships most of the time and even though I miss my family, it’s very easy to contact them.
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This happened this morning…. Thanks Hugh! He says he always drops his phone on his face. Unfortunately today he dropped it on my face. Actually my nose still feels a little bit sore!
Do you drop your phone on your face a lot? I know a lot of people do but I have rarely done it since I tend to lay on my side when looking at my phone. Or have you done this to a partner?
What is the worst thing you’ve accidentally done to a partner when they were trying to sleep? Most people tend to reply and answer on Facebook. So join the conversation over there!
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