My Biggest Korean Culture Shock

*Korean Culture: The Good, The Bad, &The Ugly*

So, I’m Nigerian-American– that’s Nigerian-American just in case you can’t see all of the letters.

What could my culture possibly have in common with Korean culture?

Well, a lot– like an emphasis on education and family as the most important things in life; and, that’s why I was initially drawn to Korean culture.  Its definitely NOT because of Kpop, but it definitely is ALSO because of my Korean best friend (and first love) from college, Korean dramasKorean movies, and Korean music.

Anyway, Nigerians eat spicy stews and sweet bread, too, with lots of bitter vegetables and yummy(?) meats. Of course, I won’t go much further than that in comparing Nigerian food to Korean food, but I’ll be sure to write about Korean food soon!^^

Well, what else?

We respect our elders, too, from giving big greetings to doing small chores to obeying general commands, like the following:

“Bring me my shoes, Jenny.” — My Aunt.

Do what you’re told.

“Wash the dishes, Jenny. Now!” — My Mom.

Do what you’re told when you’re told.

“Jenny… Jenny… JENNY!!!” — My Dad.

And, come when you’re called, even if you’re upstairs in your room trying to watch your shows.

*Comes out of shock*

Of course, when I say, “elders,” I don’t just mean “old people.” For example, out of respect, when I was a kid and even now I always greet people who are older than me first.

And, little children are kept separate from older ones out of respect for age differences and the wisdom wrinkles that come along with being older. For example, my older cousin ordered my younger cousin to sit on the floor so she could sit on the couch.

We even separate the house (living room, TV Room, upstairs) based on age: The adults get the living room, we girls get the TV room, and the boys (and kids) get the upstairs.

Like Koreans, Nigerians also have traditional clothing along with traditional ceremonies and even traditional weddings.

So, apart from the language, the singing in front of people in small rooms, and the living and showering in even smaller rooms, I was never really shocked by Korean culture.

Well, until I started watching Korean variety shows…

I’m writing this post right after watching the latest episode of Mamma Mia. What I’m about to tell you happens all the time, but this time– I just HAD to write about it.

On this episode, moms and their famous daughters were featured. Most of the daughters were also moms, too, so after awhile childbirth came up, and the women talked about how long it took for them to give birth.

That’s normal enough.

However, SUDDENLY, they started talking about the following:

Literally the main female host said, “tightening your anus”  to explain 케겔 운동” or Kegel exercises, which one woman did in order to promote better health after birth.

(You should have seen Kyuhyun of Super Junior’s face– he’s a main host on the show, too, when they told him what “케겔 운동 ” meant.)

Then, my favorite comedian and Busan boy Heo Kyunghwan chimed in and asked the woman:

“Oh, are you doing that right now?”

Surely enough, she was. Her face got redder and the veins in her neck became more pronounced as she counted to ten.

Of course, everyone joined in– even the camera men.

To wrap things up, Heo Kyunghwan mentioned that Kegel exercises are also good for male stamina.

Then, the conversation strayed back to that same woman, who said she “enjoyed eating her husband’s love.”

(Uhm, surely she’s not eating what I think she’s eating nor talking about it on national TV?!)

Anyway, they also talked about premarital pregnancy, something one male guest’s wife and one female guest had gone through (and how to break it to the parents) along with taking showers and using the bathroom together with their spouses.

They decided that while taking showers together seems romantic, its not.

Lesson of the day:

“결혼은 현실이다.”

“Marriage is reality.”

So, I suddenly realized that everything that I know about sex, dating, and marriage I learned from romance novels, my Korean ex-boyfriend, independent films (mostly Korean but some Italian and French), and Korean Variety Shows, because its just not something that my Nigerian family talked about, AND its not something that I ever wanted to learn from American politics or American society…

or American Porn.

BUT, whenever I hear Koreans talk SO openly about birth, stamina, and sex– on TV of all places, I’m always shocked by how open their culture is with each other about those issues. Keep in mind, though, this is sex in terms of FAMILY, not anything like what Hyuna and what’s his name are doing– those two “Troublemakers.”

So, what’s YOUR biggest Korean culture shock?

>.<

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My “Must-Watch” Korean Dramas: 2013 Edition

*Must-Watch Korean Movies, Must-Watch Korean Dramas, &More*

Ever since 2008, I’ve been a hardcore fan of Korean dramas. Now, everyone I know from family to friends to complete strangers seems to be watching them!

Why?

Well, the stunning visuals, the heart-warming, tear-jerking stories, the unforgettable soundtracks, and the FEELS make Korean dramas so addicting; but, I think what REALLY makes Korea dramas so addicting is that they have characters we can ALL relate to.

(I mean, it beats watching almost anything on American TV, which I don’t watch– ever!)

Some of my friends have watched hundreds of Korean dramas, but I’m a lot pickier about my dramas– maybe because I’m an avid reader and obsessive writer. I really care about everything from the acting to the story-line to the soundtrack. Cinematography matters, too, and having strong leads AND strong supporting roles might be what separates a great drama from a good one.

So, I’ve only seen about 50 (or 60) Korean dramas ranging all the way back from those made in 2004 to those made now; and, you can find the long list of Korean dramas that I’ve watched and loved over the years HERE!

Thankfully, its turning out to be another year full of “must-watch” Korean dramas, so here are some of mine.

1. I Can Hear Your Voice

ihyv

I Can Hear Your Voice~

A bad little girl turns into a big, bad prosecutor, but when the little boy she saved a long time ago finally finds her again, her whole world is turned upside down as he reads her mind and her heart.

(Best Drama of The Year!)

2. The Master’s Sun

The Master's Sun~

The Master’s Sun~

“A selfish CEO meets an insomniac with the ability to see ghosts in this dark romantic comedy by the famed screenwriting duo, the Hong Sisters.”

(Best Couple of The Year!)

3. Good Doctor

Good Doctor~

Good Doctor~

An autistic little boy dreams of becoming a doctor, and as he overcomes his disabilities, he also overcomes his painful past and finds success and love in the present.

(Best Acting of The Year!)

4.  Marry Him If You Dare

Marry Him If You Dare~

Marry Him If You Dare~

What would you do if the future “you” suddenly showed up and forced you to wake up in order to keep you from making mistakes only she knows about? Find out as Mirae meets her future self and is forced to change her present!

(Craziest Drama of The Year!)

5. Unemployed Romance

Unemployed Romance~

Unemployed Romance~

“An aspiring drama writer living off her unemployment checks bumps into her first love, who just so happens to be the one issuing her checks.”

(Cutest Drama of The Year!)

6. Heirs

Heirs~

Heirs~

“Park Shin Hye and Lee Min Ho star in this trendy high school drama about chaebols as they form friendships and fall in love for the first time.”

That’s Lee Minho, Park Shinae, and Kim Woo Bin!

(The Must-Watch Drama of The Year!)

7. Let’s Eat!

Let's Eat~

Let’s Eat~

One of my favorite actresses– Lee Soo Kyung, in a really fun, down to earth story about a divorced woman living alone, and LOTS of (Korean) food porn…

^^

(Best Story of The Year!)

8. The Queen of Office

Queen of Office~

Queen of Office~

The amazing Kim Hye Soo stars in this Korean drama about an independent contractor who jumps from job to job until she starts working in one office where she meets people who become more than coworkers but friends and family.

(Funniest Drama of The Year!)

So, what are some of your must-watch Korean dramas?

And, you can find more of your favorite Korean dramas on Kdrama.com, the site that offers 1080p video quality and the best, most accurate subtitles EVER!

^^

Oops…

*Diary*

I am might be an idiot.

J- oppa, who I’ve never talked about before, hasn’t messaged me in months; but, along with my dongsaeng and gu boy, Y, who messaged me two nights ago, he messaged me last night and asked about my status on KakaoTalk– the one that says 나를 기다리고 기대하는 한남자, or “One man who is waiting for me, anticipating”:

Friday, October 25, 2013
[J-] [4:13 AM] who is 한남자…? (cry)
[J-] [4:13 AM] is there someone else other than me?
[제니퍼] [4:14 AM] no~ just what i want! haha
[제니퍼] [4:14 AM] aren’t you waiting for me?!
[J-] [4:14 AM] i am!!
[제니퍼] [4:14 AM] haha okay!^^ that makes me happy <3
[J-] [4:14 AM] so badly
[제니퍼] [4:14 AM] aaw, i wish i could go sooner and stay longer!!!
[J-] [4:15 AM] aw…staying 2 weeks is tooooo short
[제니퍼] [4:15 AM] i know… its going to be so cold, too.
[J-] [4:17 AM] yeah. bring a really thick jacket otherwise..
[J-] [4:17 AM] ㅋㅋㅋ
[제니퍼] [4:17 AM] haha you can keep me warm! haha
[J-] [4:17 AM] sure thing

Honestly, my status wasn’t about “what I want” OR any of them– not “Y” and not J- oppa. It was about D.H. oppa, because I thought he was the only boy still waiting for me, anticipating…

Oops.

I’ve already talked about Y and what happens When Korean Dramas Happen in Real Life, but…

I haven’t talked about J-oppa, and I don’t talk about J- oppa, because he’s REALLY different.

I guess, now I should.

We met in February through mutual friends– way before I started blogging. The first night we met, he held my hand and gave me his jacket when we were walking home from downtown. Then, he came to see me again, and he spent the night at my place. We were together all day, too. We went to lunch and then toured Austin with some friends. After that, we had a BIG samgyubsal party with our friends, but when we went downtown, we got into a fight…

Of course, we made up, and right before he left he told me he loved me and kissed my forehead…

>.<

(Isn’t that too soon? We only met twice, but I could tell he meant it.)

He went back to his university, and I thought he would come see me again, but he didn’t– maybe, he couldn’t. Then, he went back to Korea. So, we haven’t seen each other again since that night IN FEBRUARY.

(A LOT has happened since then.)

We always kept in touch, but just very casually, and he stopped talking to me right after I told him I bought my ticket.

(He was really excited then, too.)

Anyway, since I’m staying in Cheongdamdong, I”ll be 20 minutes away from him.

(Also, once again, he stopped talking to me really abruptly, but now I’m not SO worried about that.)

Like, Busan oppa, J- oppa is a Sagittarius; but, he is, of course, different from Busan oppa in a lot of ways– important ways. If Busan oppa was a “rough gentleman,” then J- oppa is just a gentleman. He’s really thoughtful, he’s really friendly, and he has a really big heart.

Once, right before she went to Korea in August, my best friend Jennie asked me why I always look so unhappy when I DO talk about J- oppa. I REALLY don’t know.

Okay, I do know.

He’s someone I was waiting for, anticipating, but I didn’t think he was really waiting for me. I mean, there are SO many girls in Korea…

Why would he wait for me?

(My ex-boyfriend didn’t.)

Short Note-to-self:

Stop expecting every guy to be like your ex-boyfriend.

“There were always different boys and men passing in and out of my life, but he is the only one who was always there.”

I guess there are other boys and men in my life, too, but I don’t always see them since they’re so far away and seemingly– out of reach.

Waiting, Anticipating…

*Diary*

This might be hard to explain, but I’ll do my best.

I was a mess. 

And, I had been a mess for two years– off and on, ever since I broke up with my first boyfriend. But, I functioned normally enough. I worked. I went to school. I went out with my family and friends. So, my family didn’t know. My friends didn’t know.

I didn’t know.

One night this past summer, it hit me, though, that I was STILL a mess. I couldn’t get out of bed the next day. I swear I cried under my sheets for hours.

I missed him– not the boys or men I had met. Him, the person who had loved me, sincerely, and had always been by my side. In my memories, there were many faces, but I couldn’t see any of them clearly– except his.

Its hard to wake up from a dream, but its even harder to wake up from a nightmare. Lying there, struggling as the faces of the people you thought you knew change and panic suddenly overwhelms you…

This summer, I woke up from a nightmarejust before it was too late, but isn’t that how it always goes?

I finally threw away the engagement ring my ex-boyfriend gave me when I was 21. I had to break a promise to him for the first and last time, a promise that I would keep it forever; and, I threw away a lot of other things, things I didn’t need anymore, because I needed more room in my hands for the things I need to hold– more space in my heart for the people I need to love.

These days, I’m settled into my new apartment. I’m keeping up with my classes, and excited about graduating from law school next semester. So, I’m also looking for a job that will be “challenging and rewarding.”

I will be going to Korea soon, and I will be staying in Cheongdamdong since I can have the room to myself!

I am excited to see my best friend– my unniher husband, and her baby– my old Korean language classmates who are living and working in Korea– my oppas  and dongsaengs– and maybe even EXO.

I also found someone I have been looking for, someone I was waiting for, anticipating, ever since I left Korea: D.H. 

(I talk about him in My Summer in Korea, Part 3: Dating in Korea.)

While I was in Korea, he would take the subway for an hour to see me, and he called me everyday after he got off work. We had so many plans: To see a movie, to play baseball, to go to Busan…

When I got in touch with him a month or two ago, the first thing he asked me was whether or not I was coming with my best friend. Only, we aren’t best friends anymore, but I suddenly remembered when she was all I would talk about.

Things change, and people change, too.

He’s the same:

아직도 나를 기다리고 기대하는 한 남자.

(One man who is still waiting for me, anticipating.)

There were always different boys and men passing in and out of my life, but he is the only one who was always there.

When you look back on your life, how many people are you still waiting for, anticipating? How many people are still waiting for you, anticipating?

Looking back, I don’t know if there were different boys and men going in and out of my life, or if I was going in and out of the lives of different boys and men— lost, waiting for someone they would never be and anticipating something they could never give me.

Black Girls: A Guide to Korean Boys

*Black Girls in Korea: Relationships, Beauty Tips, &More*

First, I want to thank my Korean guy friends for taking the time to respond to our letters. I didn’t write this guide.

They did.

So, who are they?

Some of you might already know about D- oppa. He is Korean-American, and he is also the person who told me to start blogging about building better relationships between black girls and Korean boys, and he didn’t stop telling me until I finally did.

J- is Korean– born and raised there. He is my dongsaeng, or “little brother,” and I met him through D- oppa.

D- is my chingu, or “friend,” since we are the same age. He is also Korean-American, and I’ve known him since middle school! He is big– buff, and so he used to play football and other sports.

Anyway, together, they came up with ONE answer to each of our letters, so read on to find out what they had to say! Just remember: Boys will be boys, so their answers are probably not as helpful as you would like them to be, but they should show you how normal and approachable Korean boys really are can be.

Letter #1:

We don’t only date within our race. So, if you like us, then don’t be afraid to ask us out. True love is color blind.

Most Korean guys DO date or at least marry within their race, but not all of us do. So, don’t be afraid to find out whether or not we do by asking us (or asking us out), either.

Letter #2:

We are open-minded and diverse. A lot of us find different races just as attractive as our own; and, sometimes, maybe even more attractive than our own! We actually are attracted to you, too, but sometimes we have no clue what to say to you, which probably goes both ways.

We like girls, because we’re guys. And, we like Korean girls, because we’re Korean guys. BUT that doesn’t mean we don’t like white, black, Hispanic, or even non-Korean Asian girls.

Sometimes, we’re smooth around girls that we like. Sometimes, we’re shy or awkward around girls that we like. No matter what, if we really like you, we’ll do our best to get to show it and get to know you.

Letter #3:

We can be approached the same way other girls can– with varying results.

If you do work up the courage to talk to one of us, then just because she happens to reject you or be rude to you doesn’t mean that we all will.  And, if you do approach us, be genuine.

We’re not hard to approach, but we know a lot of Korean guys are.  The language barrier is a big problem here, and sometimes Korean guys don’t want to or just can’t speak English. So, you should learn Korean, especially if you plan on going to Korea. It might even impress the Korean guys you meet, and it will definitely help you get along with their friends or family.

A black girl is not your 장난감. A black girl is not your one-nightstand. A black girl is not your fantasy.

Some Korean guys are good, but some are bad, and they will use you for sex or date you just to show off to their friends that they are with a foreign girl. We like to think we’re good guys, and we would never do that.

Letter #4:

Don’t make assumptions about us or our culture. We probably have a lot more in common than you might think! Some of us even speak Korean, and a lot of us are willing to learn.

Korean culture is so popular. (Why?!) A lot of girls like Korean guys, but they expect us to be like Korean idols or straight out of a Korean drama or something. That’s just NOT who we are. I mean, some of us do cute things and some of us don’t. I think it’d be cooler to meet a girl who knew about Starcraft (D- oppa!) or just liked drinking (J-!) or going to church (D-!).   

Letter #5:

You do not have to act like a Korean version of Lil’ Wayne to impress us– just be yourself, and don’t assume we won’t like you for who you are!

We’re definitely not those Korean guys, but we’ve seen them…

So, don’t be afraid to make the first move: Give us a compliment, flirt. We are just girls before we are black girls. So treat us that way– as girls, as people. Don’t only see the color of our skin, but do be careful when you talk about or touch our hair… >.<

We can’t touch your hair? LOL Yeah, just tell us stuff like that, because we’re not going to know! But, if we like you, we will make the first move. Or try to, at least.

Letter #6:

There are quite a few of us who are nothing like the media portrays us– I mean, we are the complete opposite, in fact.

How does the media portray Korean guys? Yeah, we’re not those guys you’re probably thinking of either.

Letter #7:

For example, we don’t want your money, and we won’t get pregnant just to get it. My ex-boyfriend’s mom always thought I just wanted him for his money, since “black people are so poor.” This is also just another false stereotype.

Yeah, stereotypes suck, but Korean guys and their parents might not know more than the false stereotypes about you. So, if you end up dating a Korean guy, educate him. Also, find out about his family, because your family, education, and background might matter to them– but, it might not.

Letter #8:

Basically, many of us do not fall into that stereotypical “ghetto lifestyle.” We don’t all “talk ghetto”, live in the hood, and want a “gangster boy.”

That’s good to know.

Letter #9:

But, we don’t all look like Beyoncé or Halle Berry, either…

We don’t all look like Hyun Bin or Won Bin, either. Looks matter, but we don’t expect you to look like a celebrity, because we don’t either.

Letter #10:

We are all different.

Not all of us are loud. Some of us are quiet. Some of us have short tempers, but some of us don’t. So, take the time to find out about us on an individual basis. How?  Just say, “Hi.” I mean that’s a good start, right?

“Hi.”

Letter #11:

So, please don’t try to lump us all into one category, especially if your entire knowledge of us is based on music videos.

Same: Especially if your entire knowledge of us is based on Kpop idols or Korean dramas.

Letter #12:

Be confident and willing to talk to us and to get to know us. We want to know that you genuinely care about us and that you are willing to embrace us, including our culture and the struggles that go along with it.

Same: Being Korean is a part of who we are, so try to understand Korean from the language to the culture to the food. Try to understand US, too.

Even though we are known for being strong, independent, and opinionated, we want to be loved, treasured, and respected like everyone else. We want someone to lean on, so if you do love us, then be ready to support us and stand up for us, too.

 If you’re our girl, then we’ll definitely do our best not to hurt you, but we’re not perfect, and we don’t always know what to do… 

Letter #13:

Please make sure your parents are okay with interracial relationships, because it will be hard for us (and YOU) if you have to choose us or your parents in the end.

 … Especially when it comes to our parents. But, not every Korean guy will pick his parents over you. BUT, we might, and we think other Korean guys might, too, because family is SO important to us. Our moms and dads really matter to us, and being a good son is really important to us, too. We like to think we’d do our best to make it work.

Letter #14:

We love your eyes. They’re charming.

We love your ass “curves.”

(Sorry, girls. Boys will be boys.)

Letter #15:

We are sexy, but we can be cute and do aegyo, too!^^

That’s also good to know.

Letter #16:

We don’t believe the stereotypes about how you aren’t good in bed or have a small penis; because, “it isn’t the size of the boat, it’s the motion of the ocean.”

Ugh… no comment? Just kidding. Honestly, some of us are good in bed, but some of us aren’t. If we like you, we’ll do our best, though!^^

Well, its over!

Or is it?

You probably still have a lot of questions and concerns, right? I mean, there’s always more to know about the opposite sex– still a mystery to me, so here’s your chance:

Ask Your Unni!

^^

Where Should I Stay in Korea, A Giveaway, and What’s Up and Coming

*Off Topic*

I took my final this morning, but my professor put ONE essay question on the entire 2 hour exam.

(Thankfully, I knew the answer.)

Anyway, there are a few things that I want to ask, let you know, and do, so here goes!^^

Where Should I Stay in Korea?

Now that I have my ticket and winter clothes, I am looking for a place to stay while I am in Korea!

Itaewon

https://www.wimdu.co.kr/offers/C0PC4WQE

My unni is pregnant (another shotgun wedding), and I am SO excited to see her baby! She is living in Itaewon, so it will be nice to be close to her and also close to my favorite restaurants and one of my favorite clubs, B1.

(This is my favorite option because it comes with airport pickup, a phone rental, and free breakfast. However, it is also my least favorite option, because it has the least amount of privacy and personal space.)

Sinsa-dong

https://www.wimdu.com/offers/A0B5EN7A

Sinsadong is where the famous Garuso-gil is located. I’ve been there once, and its very lovely– very airy and very comfortable. I like this location, because its young, modern, and close to everything. It’s right next to Apgujeong and just a few (or more) stops away from Itaewon, Cheongdam-dong, and Hongdae!

Cheongdam-dong

I LOVE Cheongdam-dong. I have been to SM already, but now that EXO will be there…

*Stars in my eyes*

I also love Ellui, and I will  definitely be visiting Ellui AND Answer this time around!

For Cheongdam-dong, I would like to stay HERE, because its the cheapest option.  There is also an extra(?) bed for a friend, but I don’t know if I will just end up sharing the room with some stranger! So, I am waiting for the manager to get back to me about that.

So, where should I stay? Where would YOU stay, and why?

(And, if you are planning a trip to Korea or anywhere else around the world, then be sure to use Wimdu! For Korea,  I also suggest checking Craigslist Seoul. Also, if you would like to make Korean friends and have your trip to Korea sponsored, then check out MyKoreanFriends.com.)

A Giveaway

So, in honor of several upcoming post on Kpop, I would like to do a Kpop CD giveaway! I’ve given away a Kpop concert ticket and two Kpop CDs on my tumblr blog (Black Girls Love Kpop, Too) already, so I am excited to do something similar here.

I want to know how one (or more) of my blog posts has changed you AND changed the way you think about the WORLD. It doesn’t have to be specific to Korea, but it can be.

Please answer BOTH parts of the question, and email your submission to westerngirlxeasternboy@gmail.com.

(I will probably leave the giveaway open for two to three weeks.)

Up & Coming

The next post will probably be Black Girls: A Guide to Korean Boys. I will be going home this weekend, so I will  have time to relax and get a lot of writing done instead of my usual dinner, drinking, and dancing then puking on the streets.

I will also be writing several posts on Kpop: My Favorite Korean Boys: EXO and BTS and Kpop: Disillusionment and Disappointment?.

I may also finish Dirty/Clean and post that next, too, though…

It all depends on my mood.

Anyway, I hope you all have a great day, but I’m going back to bed!

Food For Thought

*Black Girls in Korea: Relationships, Beauty Tips, &More*

I always come across great blog posts that are definitely food for thought. So, here’s something to munch on while I put Black Girls: A Guide to Korean Boys together.

(My three Korean guy friends had a lot to say, and I have ANOTHER final this Friday, because two of my classes ended early…)

>.<

Most of these blog posts cross boundaries and build bridges between different people and different cultures, which I think is important if we want to see true equality in America, an equality based on equal opportunity where we are not judged and discriminated against based on our first language, skin color, or hair style.

My First Language

I went through a short period of time where I couldn’t write: I couldn’t write in English– my first language, but I couldn’t write in Korean– my (almost) second language, either. It was traumatic, and it was crazy; so, this blog post really hit home:

Born Again in a Second Language

My Question:

What’s your first language, and have you ever been “born again” in a second language or even third one?

My Skin Color

Black face happens, but how do we define it?

Dunkin’ Donuts apologizes for ‘bizarre and racist’ Thai advertising poster | The Raw Story

Was the ad really bizarre?

Yes.

Was it racist?

I don’t think so.

I don’t think American history belongs in Thailand, where black slavery never happened; but, Americans like to put everything American everywhere– even where it doesn’t belong.

Different countries that are NOT America CAN and WILL have different concepts of what is “black,” because they have a different history– a different culture– a different language.

My question:

Can black ever be just a color?

My Hair Style

I used to wear braids and cornrows when I was younger.

In Korea, people often asked to touch my hair wig. The same thing happened to my friend who wore her natural hair in London. We both never minded, but a lot of black girls get offended if you ask to touch their hair.

So, I love the way this blog post approaches that famous, scary question:

White Women, Black Hairstyles: Endia Beal’s “Can I Touch it?

My Question:

Why is hair so important?

Finally, I’d like to end this blog post with the most important food for thought, because we always save the best for last, right?

 Happiness

Now, the following blog post won’t actually tell you how to do any of what it says in the title, but it will tell you how to be happy:

How to Get Flat Abs, Have Amazing Sex and Rule the World in 8 Easy Steps

I’m happy, but happiness is fleeting, and I might be sad tomorrow when I wake up alone or maybe even on Friday after I’ve taken my final at 8 in the morning or had one too many drinks by 8 at night.

Happiness is a feeling– at worst, and a state of being– at best; and, I think it takes hard work, concentration, and what I call “remembering to forget” to BE happy.

(I have to remember to forget about the people who hurt me and the people who left me– even if in reality they are still by my side or right in front of me; because, those memories get in the way of my memories of the people who love me and the people who will always be with me.)

So, I’m happy.

My Question:

Are you?

<3

Marriage in Korea

*The “Sex, Dating, and Marriage in Korea” Series*

In this post, I’ll talk about marriage in Korea. And, you can’t have a marriage without a wedding! Or, you can, but it just wouldn’t be as much fun. So, let’s start by taking a closer look at weddings in Korea.

Koreans are well-known for their traditional weddings thanks to stories like Chunyang. No, not THAT Chunyang, THIS one. But, if you haven’t seen either version of Chunyang, then take a look at THIS recap of a traditional Korean wedding that took place on We Got Married between (fake) couple Julien Kang and Yoon Seah.

An obligatory shirtless picture of Julien Kang!

Julien Kang~

Julien Kang~

… He has a great personality, too.

^^

However, Korean weddings aren’t always traditional ones where the bride and groom wear his and her hanboks. In fact, these days, it might be hard to tell the difference between Korean weddings and western ones, at least from the pictures if not the ceremony itself!

Lee Hyo Ri's wedding~

Lee Hyo Ri’s wedding~

(I have always wanted a simple “backyard” wedding like Lee Hyori’s.)

Park Bo Young's wedding~

Park Bo Young’s wedding~

Lee Min Jung's wedding~

Lee Min Jung’s wedding~

But, there is one aspect of Korean weddings that I recently found out and found interesting. It was shown in The Human Condition.

There, the groom’s friends went to the street where the house of his bride was located, and they called out to people who suddenly appeared, money in hand. Then, the groom’s friends took the money and a gift they had bought to the bride’s house; but, before entering her house, they stepped on a gourd(?) and broke it in half. Then, they gave the parents of the bride a “big” bow before sitting down to eat a HUGE meal together with the bride, her family, and the groom.

(There are similar traditions found in Nigerian weddings, as well, where friends and family help pay for the wedding by spraying the bride and groom with money as they dance. Similarly, the bride and groom are not allowed to touch the money, and friends or family do so for them.)

However, if you want to know more about marriage in Korea, then check out this witty post: “Want to Marry a Korean? Here’s 6 (or 7) Things You Should Know!” It is written by Keith, a Korean-American, and his style of writing leans on the humorous side, so it makes for a fun and informative read.

This is what Keith has to say about marriage in Korea:

1. You’ll Need Mommy and Daddy’s Permission, “Son, don’t you be marrying no crazies!”

2. Parents will Pick up the Tab, “Daddy, Can you buy me a wedding?”

3. Splitting Wedding Costs is Crazy Complicated… Or just avoid by marrying a Samsung heir

4. You Might Not Get that Cool Korean Name You’ve Always Wanted… Unofficial ones are still gravy tho

5. Holidays Might mean Work (for Women)… Follow orders from bossy Korean aunts

6.  New Years Mean Less Money… In exchange for hardcore bowing

7. You Might Have to Live with Parents (Again)… Korean mama food

In addition, if you make your way to the comments– and you should, then you will see that there are questions and concerns about an issue neither Keith in his post nor I in my series of posts have have addressed:

Interracial relationships in Korea.

So, to end this three-part series on sex, dating, and marriage in Korea, I’d like to share my unni’s wedding with you. She recently got married to her Nigerian fiancee, and I am SO excited to see both of them this winter when I finally go back to Korea!^^

My Unni’s Wedding

I’ve mentioned my unni before. We met, because she “scouted” me as I was walking past her shoe store. After that, she took such good care of me while I was in Korea, always telling me to visit her and buying me yummy food. She’s such a sweet person, and I’m so happy that everything worked out.

Because, a year and a half ago when we met, her and her boyfriend were having the same problems my ex-boyfriend and I had– problems because of differences in culture, and really, problems because of differences in expectations when it comes to relationships.

(And, like me, she had never really had a boyfriend before, either!)

In the end, everything worked out because of the love and commitment they felt for each other, which you will see as you look at their beautiful wedding photos.

The Invitations

(She designed them herself!)

1

2

3

The Wedding Shoot

a

b

c

The Wedding

z

For the full story and more beautiful, romantic pictures go HERE; and, you can also take a look at other Korean weddings on the site by going HERE.

Now that you know more about sex, dating, and marriage in Korea, I hope that you can and WILL make an informed decision about your relationships in Korea, with Korean people.

There are certain cultural differences that it is important to be aware of, because this awareness will lead to better understanding of each other, as well as a better understanding of the future of your relationship; perhaps, whether or not your relationship even HAS a future.

So, you may or may not find the happy ending you were dreaming of after watching all of those Korean dramas and drooling over all of those Korean idols, but as long as you learn something new about someone different from you and follow your heart– learning something new about yourself in the process, too, then I think that no matter what happens, it will be worth it…

So, stay tuned for Black Girls: A Guide to Korean Boys!

You should get to know someone for who they really are, not who you think they might be; and, since everyone is different, you shouldn’t judge someone based on what you think you know about them, but on their words and actions as you really get to know them.

So, my three close Korean guy friends can’t and won’t speak for all Korean guys, but they can speak for themselves, and I hope you have fun getting to know them…

Soon!

^^