Check-ins: South Korea (Episode 4)


Episode 4: Halloween and Plastic Surgery

Date: November 22, 2012

I’m a monster for promising weekly blogs! I’ve been very busy with school work and life in general and for not writing my blogs sooner, I’m sorry DX I hope you’ll find it in your hearts to forgive me DX But I’m back (yay) and I’ve got awesome things to share with you all!

The weather here has gotten much colder now. Compared to the unbearable, sticky weather I experienced upon arrival, the weather is now much cooler thanks to the wind of many neighboring mountains. Even though it’s still fall, we’ve finally hit some below 0 temperatures which to be honest, I miss. I quite like this weather (as any respectable Canadian would) because it’s way better than the summer here. And you can’t strip when it’s hot, so you become this overheated, sweaty and tired looking creature that sometimes smells some nasty BO. Now all I need to do is throw on a huge jacket instead of making an effort to look good. But most importantly, it reminds me of back home ❤

As sarcastic as I am, I’m truly sorry for not posting anything within the last month. School’s gotten a lot more busy and I’ve joined a kpop dance class which I attend every Sunday. I learned  the dance for Ring Ding Dong by Shinee! I’m happy because I’m not a very good dancer so for me it’s an accomplishment :D. The kpop class I’ve joined is by a group called Mannam Kpop. Anyone who enjoys dancing or wants to learn some kpop dances for fun needs to join this group. They are so friendly and I’ve grown to feel part of a family every time I go to class. It’s a great feeling.  A while back, we volunteered at a school for disabled children and painted murals! We also performed a dance at the Russian Festival and we did a surprise flashmob on the subway! Joining groups like this is a great way to keep yourself occupied while living abroad. And these people are so nice, the thought of leaving them forever makes me terribly sad. I love you Mannam Kpop ❤

Even though it’s almost been a month, I’d like to talk about Halloween in South Korea!
It was alright. Well I won’t tell you lies, it’s definitely not like back home. The youth really want to celebrate Halloween but the older generation seems completely uninterested or unaware it even exists. I dressed up as a Terminator for Halloween. I thought it was pretty badass, but riding the subways of Seoul with fake blood on your face is never a good idea. People will genuinely think you’re hurt, that’s how much Halloween is still somewhat of a mystery to Koreans. I don’t think dressing up is important either because no one will really understand why it’s interesting. Fine, the truth is no one appreciated my costume which is grounds for my assumptions. I’m starting to think the only thing that matters here are sexy legs. Apparently, you’re not worth anyone’s attention if you don’t show off some skin. Then again, Halloween has always been an excuse to dress “down” if you know what I mean 😉 Man I should have dressed up as a slutty pirate or something.

For my terminator costume, I needed face paint which btw is very hard to find in South Korea for some odd reason. There are only specialty stores in South Korea. By that, I mean you can’t just walk into e-mart or Grand mart and find face paint like you can in a Wal-mart back home.  So here are some places I discovered which can you help you get Halloween supplies:
– There is a toy store that sells face-paint at 3000 won a piece in Itaweon. It’s through exit 3, walk straight for about 100m. You can also find costumes and accessories there as well (if you’ve gone past the converse store you’ve gone too far).
– There is a place where you can rent costumes and get face-paint in Hongdae. It’s in Hongdae station, on your way to exit 3. Don’t leave the station; it’s in a secluded area so just look for it.

As much as I enjoy it here, I find the South Korean society very hard to deal with sometimes. And I’m not saying this as foreigner, but even for Koreans I imagine it can be difficult sometimes. I wanted to talk about plastic surgery because it really is a matter that is prominent in South Korea. I really didn’t think it was that bad, but it is. Koreans are really into plastic surgery and I don’t think it’s even because they personally want to. It’s so socially acceptable here; no one will judge you for it. You can’t pull that shit back home; people will think you’re some Barbie bitch. But here, my god if you haven’t at least considered it something’s wrong with you! Even the most good looking of people wouldn’t mind a double eyelid or a thinner face because… why not? People are used to it here and you can see advertisements for plastic surgery everywhere!

Image

(even in the subway)

I honestly can’t imagine growing up in a society where this kind of pressure exists. Yes, I think it’s a pressure. I don’t think it’s 100% a choice, even though technically it is. You’re favorite kpop stars are all doing it. You’re friends probably have done it or will. Your parents don’t mind, hell they’ll even pay for it. There is such a need to be perfect and skinny here, it’s scary. For the first time in my life, I feel like a cow. And for the first time ever, I am not proud of my curves. When I got here, I felt like the fattest bitch and I wished so badly I could look like those slim Koreans. Because I thought like this, I felt terribly unattractive. You feel like everyone is looking at you with disgust when I’m sure they’re all thinking you look great. It took my a while to get over it and accept the way I look, which I’ve never disliked more while being here. When nothing’s wrong with your body or face, I think this kind of pressure can destroy you.

Plastic Surgery isn’t the only kind of pressure; Koreans feel the constant need to be in a relationship. If you don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend, you’re a loser. BTW, those stupid pictures you’ve probably seen on the internet of couples wearing the same clothes is so real it’s scarier than a horror movie. Paris might be the capital of love but Seoul is couple central. Couples will deliberately put away an umbrella to share only one when it rains. They will wear the exact same clothing and even go as far as to wear each others’ names on a necklace (which I saw and I’ve never been the same since). I used to think it was cute but I realized Koreans just don’t appreciate single life for what it is. It ain’t great, but you shouldn’t be worried about it is all I’m saying. They’re always searching for a significant other and are unhappy when single. Growing up in a Korean society, I’m sure I’d be a very nice and friendly person, but I’d probably be constantly judging myself. And I probably wouldn’t eat a lot which ain’t right. I love food more than I love people. Food can be my boyfriend any day… Anyways, back to what I was saying. I don’t care what anyone says, it is not cute to dress the same. In no universe is that shit cool, it just yells out that you’re too afraid of being alone. I will love my boyfriend with all my heart but he better use his own damn umbrella when it rains.

Maybe writing long blogs discourages me from even writing them in the first place, so I’ll keep this one short. I’ve done a lot in the past few days that I’d love to share with you all in my next blog which ”ll hopefully write over this weekend.

To conclude, I thought it would be fun to do a short blurb on my observations of Korean people^^. These observations come from sitting on the subway and staring at people every single day. Oh ya, I creep like that.
First observation: 1 out of every 5 Koreans’ smartphones are smashed or damaged. Koreans are obviously partaking in some kind of activity that potentially damages their phones. I have yet to figure this activity out. I will let you know when I do.
Second observation: 1 out of every 3 Koreans is playing AniPang. A fun little app where you gotta pang the animals! In other words, align them so a row of three and they will explode. However, this is old news! Upon new observations, I see now that every Korean is playing a game called Dragon Flight. By every Korean, I mean from the young hipster to the old ajusshi sitting down. Everyone.
Third observation: Koreans will stop dead in their tracks when doing something. That means, when you’re walking alongside 50 other people in a direction, the person in front of you can suddenly stop to answer a phone call, tie their shoelace or even have a smoke. It’s very frustrating because that’s considered very rude back home. The polite thing to do is move to the side, not stop traffic in the middle of the sidewalk. However, that’s just how it is here and no one seems to be bothered by it except, well, me.
Fourth observation:  a red light is an option not an obligation. Far too many times do people blow red lights and it always shocks me because pulling that kind of shit off back home can get you some nasty looks and cursings, or even reported! But here it ain’t no thing. My only suggestion to you is to watch before you cross, a lot of times I tried to cross and almost got run over because I thought pedestrians had right of way at a red light. Asides when you were a child, being in Seoul is the only other time you’ll look both ways before crossing a road.

And this concludes my blog for today! I hope you enjoyed my thoughts and silly observations 🙂

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