Archive for the 'expat life' Category

Back to Korea…

I have 3 days left on my vacation here in the states.  Man, it’s hard to go back to Korea.  I now see why folks advise against going home over the holidays.  On one hand, I have a significant other back at home, so it was sort of necessary for me to go home in the interests of the strength of the relationship (plus, you know, I missed the guy!), but on the other…man, it’s so tempting to just stay here.  Thankfully, I only have 3 months left, which shouldn’t be too bad.  It’ll go fast.

By the way – just reminding you guys – this blog is basically defunct at this point.  To see my new blog, go here.

Shameless Plugging

I once again, by the way, would like to put in a plug for a great Korea blog, The Grand Narrative.  If you want to really learn about Korean culture, this is the blog you should read.

Some of my favourite posts (for sake of ease, for the most part I have only linked to the first part of multi-part posts):

Women’s Bodies in Korea’s Consumer Society, Part 1: Their Neo-Confucian Heritage

The Korean Education System and its Consequences for Adults: Part 1

Why Korean Girls Don’t Say No: Contraception Commercials, Condom Use and Double Standards in South Korea

Deconstructing Korean Women’s Attitudes to Lingerie, Bikinis and their Bodies in the 2000s

Koreans, Criticism, and the Korean Language

Why Lee Hyori’s Breasts are a Metaphor for Korean Celebrity Culture

Women’s Bodies in Korea’s Consumer Society, Part 3 (Final): Nation, Family, Self (part 3 is my favourite, though 1 and 2 are good, and linked to)

Sex, Marriage and the Modern Japanese (and Korean) Woman

Japanese Schoolgirl Sex Codes

The Economist on Japanese Labour Market Flexibility: Lessons for Korea

Flatting, Premarital Sex and Cohabitation in Korea, Part 1: Economics vs Korean Culture

Meatpuppet Angst


This is probably the best Englishee I have found yet! I cracked up in the middle of the street when I saw this. Loudly. I seriously had tears in my eyes when I handed the guy the money.

I don’t use bags like this, but I absolutely had to get this, to document it. If anyone wants it, let me know.  I’ll charge you the $9 it cost me plus a couple bucks of shipping.


Because, you know, I’d want to work at this job if I spoke Turkish!  I particularly love the “ps: hurry up please” remark.

God, how insulting. Almost as insulting as the fact that the teacher who they have hired to replace our previous English Town teacher has been delayed because, once immigration saw in her photo that she is Asian, despite the fact that she was born and raised in the US, they have insisted that she has to go to the nearest Korean consulate to have an interview, “to confirm that her English is native”. This is not, by any means, the first time I have heard of that happening.

Oh Korea, your institutionalized racism is so entertaining. Only, not.

Another one bites the dust…

So, it has now been a week since Lisa, one of the other foreigners on the island, left.  Other than Erin, who vaguely doesn’t count as she is married to a Korean and will be living here for a few years to come, at least, Lisa was the person who had been here the longest (well, of those still here), and so it was weird to see her leave.  She was sort of my mentor for my first month or so here, and she helped me through some pretty tough and/or aggravating situations, and I really owe a lot to her.  Without her advice, I probably would have left back in June or July, and then I would have been up shit creek without a paddle.

In my final week of college, people had already started packing up and going home.  When the first person on my hall (we were all friends, and had chosen to live together) came by my door to say she was leaving (though returning the next year, as she was a 2nd year), I had a weird moment in which I realized that in all likelihood, I would never see that person again, along with many people on the campus who I knew and considered at least acquaintances, if not friends.  It was very surreal, and when she said “Have a good summer!” I awkwardly replied with “Have a nice….life?”, because really, I felt that was the most appropriate answer.  Over the next year, I did go back to campus several times, as I spent the year wandering around the east coast, staying on friends’ couches and in my car, but I only saw a small selection of people.  Truly, in waving goodbye to those people as they moved out of their dorm rooms, I was waving goodbye to someone I wouldn’t ever see again, and even though I have moved around quite a bit in my life (I currently stand at 17 times in 7 years), that felt pretty weird.

So, when I waved goodbye to Lisa as I watched her be driven off to the bus station, I had that same feeling.  She mentioned that she may come back to Korea, but it wouldn’t be for probably a year, and definitely not until I will already be back in the states.  In theory, I could see her again if I were to go to Nova Scotia again, as I think she and her boyfriend will be living in Halifax, but it’s probably unlikely, especially given gas prices.  In fact, in all likelihood, I will never see *any* of the people I meet here again, once I leave, and that’s very weird to think about.  Sarah, one of the other Jindo foreigners, astutely said the other day that when you’re an expat, you get very used to saying goodbye to people, and that really couldn’t be more true.

So, here’s some photos from her going-away party (she’s the one in red).  Enjoy.

Lisa, if you’re reading this, we miss you!

July 2020

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