The Return

*Short Stories*

(The Return is a story about love, loss, and self-discovery, and it can be found in Seoul Shorts: “Disturbing yet riveting, these short stories will take you to a place you’ve never been before.”)

The Return

His crimson robe covered pale white skin. His head was shaved, and as he bowed in front of me he held a string of wooden beads or something in steady, folded hands. Mine were shaking. He was beautiful, and our eyes met as he rose. He looked young. I wondered what he was.

The voice of the gods would have called out to me once– in a moment like this one, but I had stopped listening to them when I turned 16.

I turned away from him and entered the temple. I stayed in there for hours. I had been raised Catholic, but the thick, suffocating smell of incense was the same.

I had fallen asleep bent in half. I straightened awkwardly and rose, suddenly awake again. The steady sound of falling rain slowly reached my ears. Feeling numb, I walked stiffly to the temple doors. I looked outside, but as I looked outside I looked inside of myself. The road had disappeared. It was buried in water. The path to my childish dreams had disappeared. It was buried in tears.

A voice called out to me in accented English, soft and tranquil: “There is a boat. I take you to land?”

It was the boy, but all I could see of him from where I stood in the doorway were his feet dangling gently in the air. I could sense his calm as he sat on the rooftop and touched the sky with his limbs. Was he looking inside of himself as he looked out at the world around him?

What was it that he saw?

I was shaking and felt sick and feverish as feeling suddenly returned to my limbs. I ignored him and put on my shoes, and I had to tie the laces of my high-heeled boots tight before I stepped out of the temple completely. The rain soaked my black hair, and it fell like ink onto my skin. I pushed it out of my eyes and stumbled into the rain, into the gray world around me. The water was almost over my head now, but I could barely see the brown, earth-filled waves in front me.

Was this a dream?

I would never be able to dream, at least not here. I would never be able to drown, at least not in someone else. The rain kept falling, and the water kept rising, but I stood still and stared at the gray sky. I felt as if I would float somewhere far, far away as the water pushed and pulled against my body, but I knew that the rain would stop– that the roads would reappear– that I would have to return.

Even though there was no one waiting for me, I would have to return.

“Save me.”

Those two words were whispers passing from my chapped, dry lips. I needed to find my belief, because I had lost it somewhere. The man I had left behind…

If I closed my eyes I saw his face and felt his breath and hands against my skin. Had he been real? I had never been able to believe in him.

The boy began to pray as I spoke those words again and again.

Had it been yesterday: The departure, the rain, the return? But, no, I could smell incense, and as I opened my eyes I saw him again: The boy. I had thought that he, too, was leaving. I remembered his limbs as they had touched the sky and his feet as they had dangled in the air above me when I had passed beneath him.

His voice pulled me from my thoughts as he said, “I saw you from far away as I sat on the roof and prayed. I prayed that you would return on your own, but you kept walking into the water. I did not save you. I only carried your body here once the rain stopped, and then I prayed that you would live.”

I coughed and coughed again. My chest hurt. My shirt was stained a faint brown, and my jeans were muddy. My feet, my face, and my hands were clean, though. He bathed me with a soft cloth that smelled faintly of lavender. Cool water rushed over the skin of my forehead.

He had changed into a different robe. It was gray and plain. His head was freshly shaved. I wondered, and then I asked, “How many days have passed?”

“Only a few hours,” he replied, and then began to pray again. His voice melted over me, rhythmic and strong.

“Stop,” I said harshly, and then more softly, “…Stop.”

He faltered, and his eyes suddenly opened wide, and his mouth suddenly opened wide, too. It hung there open and voiceless as his lower lip trembled over his angled, youthful jaw. I laughed, because he hadn’t tried to save me. I laughed, because he hadn’t tried to stop me, but soon I was lost in the sound of silence that fell over us as I stopped laughing.

My thoughts pushed me back into the water.

One toothbrush… One toothbrush… I kept staring at my toothbrush… My toothbrush without his, my life without him. I had forgotten what it felt like to be alone, although once I had told him I felt as if he didn’t exist. Unanswered phone calls, smiles that only sometimes reached his eyes, and all the times that he had never looked back to see me as I drove away had made me feel as if he didn’t exist.

I would like to take all those words back. I would like to bring him back.

I closed my eyes and turned away from the boy who hovered over me. He was silent and still as he watched me. I knew that I had shaken him from his thoughts, his prayers, and his life. I knew that I did not belong here, but I could not leave…

Not yet.

As I lay there, I thought of all the times I had woken up next to him and felt as if I was completely alone. He had dreamed nameless dreams beside me– dreams I would never know– dreams he would never tell me; and, I had felt as if he would never wake up– as if he would always be dreaming– as if he would always be somewhere else…

Somewhere far from me.

When had he begun to sleep with his back to me?

It must have been in those moments that he began to turn away from me, to leave.

“I’m leaving,” he had whispered as my face crumbled in on itself, folding and wrinkling. He had looked so different, and I had splintered into one thousand pieces that I would never be able to put back together.

I had looked for those pieces, though, days after as regret ate away my flesh and muscle to the bone: Regret that he had left me, or regret that I had let him, or regret that I had loved him?

Regret… Regret made me remember everything that I had tried to wash away with tears, to drown away in rain.

He had left the country but stayed in my heart and taken all of those pieces of myself with him. Months had passed, but one day I had looked at my lonely toothbrush, my lonely towel, my lonely pillow, and my lonely plate. Everything had seemed to be missing, and I realized there was nothing.

I was nothing without him.

I had booked a flight and packed my bags. I had walked the path he had walked. It took me out the door, to the airport, and I landed somewhere in Seoul. I had no way to find him, but I had woken up from my dreams quickly when he had appeared in front me and walked past me as if he did not know me, as if he did not have all those pieces and parts of me that I needed to keep living. 

My heart had died as his shoulders had hunched and pushed past mine in the middle of a crowded street. I had stood utterly still, knowing it was him but unable to look back, because he had seen me– because he had walked past me– because he had turned away from me and left me again.

I had wandered and taken a wrong turn after taking the wrong bus and found myself in some beautiful countryside that had been filled with the sound of wind rustling through trees. It was a wind that had blown the tears off of my cheeks. The temple had appeared as I had walked away, knowing I would never be able to find myself– to leave him– to return.

The boy pushed me, pulling me away from my thoughts and back into the world. He had prepared some semblance of a meal. I refused it, feeling unable to eat.

The day passed away.

Delirium pushed me into a sweaty nightmare, and the boy who hadn’t saved me and the man I had once loved– who also hadn’t saved me, began to blend together. Someone began to pray– softly, so that I would not hear, but I heard him– the boy, and his rhythmic, powerful voice pulled me from my nightmare and into a deep, black sleep.

I woke up, surrounded by folds of crimson cloth on my naked skin. I looked at the boy as he hovered over me. He blushed and looked away.

“You were fevered, so I took you to the river and bathed you. This was the only clothing I had.”

“You saved me,” I whispered in a hoarse, tired voice.

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“Because… Because you are the first visitor to this temple in years, and I have been alone for all those years, and I… I do not like being alone.”

His voice shook and broke, losing its rhythm and strength. His tears fell softly, and since there was no wind I wiped them away. I held him for awhile, because he had not turned away from me, because he had not left me.

We stepped out into the sunlight as morning’s dawn came. It was the only promise left unbroken. We ate on the temple steps. His robe was gray. Mine was crimson. They soon overlapped, becoming one as the sun faded– cloth that echoed with the sound of tears and laughter, cloth that hung loosely on our limbs even as we clung tightly to life.

I left the temple, my steps as I made my return were rhythmic, strong. No one would save me, but when would I stop destroying myself?

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imPress Manicure: Five Minute Fingernails

*The “Beauty Tips and Tricks” Series*

As I said before, I’ve been painting my fingernails (with varied results) for years now, but it was imPress Manicure that took me from messy, chipped fingernails to perfect ones.

I’ve worn a ton of different styles, but these are my (new) favorite ones!

One~

One~

Two~

Two~

Three~

Three~

Just peel, stick, and press!^^

Five minutes later, you’ve got perfect fingernails for one to two weeks.

Oh, but don’t forget to do your toes!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

imPress Pedicure~

The WGEB Community

*Off Topic*

At first I blogged for myself– just because my oppa kept planting little seeds in my ear about how great I would be at blogging about Korea, Korean culture, and Korean boys. Now, I blog about a lot more than that, and I also blog for me AND the amazing girls (and boys) who follow my blog (and have even become my friends).

Together, we are the WGEB community!^^

After doing my first giveaway, someone from the WGEB community who was actually a winner of the giveaway reached out to me in a fun, heartfelt way.

She goes by Miki, and she sent me this awesome video about being able to finally get her first Kpop CD:

I also love the reactions that Miki and her sister “M9Y9″, who is also an amazing singer and songwriter, do on Kpop MVs!

Since I love BTS, too, I’ll share this one:

She also has a fun (and very random) tumblr, which you can check out here.

The best thing about being a part of a community is getting to share so many things that we love with the awesome and amazing people who love them, too.

So, welcome to the WGEB community!

벌써 삼년

*Diary*

This song is called “Already One Year,” and it’s by Brown Eyes. It’s the inspiration for my own “벌써 삼년,” or “Already Three Years.”

헤어진지 벌써 삼년…

벌써 삼년인데 왜 그대 얼굴과 그대 향기와 그대 목소리와 그대 착하고 따듯한 마음을
아직도 이렇게 잘 기억하고 있을까?

너도 나처럼 잘 지내지 못 했을까?

잘지내야지.

나없으니까,
나랑 헤어졌으니까…

더 좋은 여자를 만나야지.

그리고
그여자랑 결혼해야지.

나만 힘든게 충분하니까.

그래,
내 마음은 내 의지와 상관없이 아직도 너를 잊지 못 했어.

그래,
내 마음은 내 의지와 상관없이 아직도 너를 기억하고 있고 또 기다리고 있어.

너 없으니까
너랑 헤어졌으니까
힘들기만 하고
더 좋은 남자를 만났는데–
분명히 만났는데,
너 아니면
사랑은 안돼.

설마 아직도 너를 사랑한다?

누군가 대답 좀 해,
내 바보 같은 마음 말고…

I know many of you are practicing Korean, so I hope that you can read this fairly simple Korean (about my complex, confusing emotions– maybe it’s just PMS) and learn something new!^^

Quick Tip: Write in Google Docs to check your spelling, vocabulary, and grammar. Just highlight a word or phrase, right click it, and then click “Research.”

In addition, singing along to Korean songs while reading the hangul is a great way to learn Korean, and for more tips on how to learn Korean go here.

So Ji Sub’s Road

*The “My Favorite Korean Boys” Series*

My most ultimate fangirl item has arrived, and of course it stars my most favorite Korean “boy,” So Ji Sub.

What is it? 

It’s his photo essay collection, So Ji Sub’s Road:

“Popular actor So Ji Sub takes readers on the road in his new photo essay collection. The book features photos and stories from his trip to the DMZ and other locations in Gangwon Province. So Ji Sub shares his personal thoughts and experiences about life and travel, as well as his encounters with different people including rapper Tiger JK and writer Lee Oi Soo. Filled with beautiful photos this photo essay collection documents both So’s journey as a traveler in the summer of 2010, and also his journey as an actor over the last 13 years.”

I ordered it last month, and it finally arrived on Valentine’s Day!

Here’s a sneak peek:

One~

One~

Two~

Two~

Three~

Three~

Four~

Four~

I am so excited to get to practice my Korean in such a fun, romantic way…

After all, it’s almost like we’re traveling together!^^

imPress Pedicure: Perfect Toenails in Two Minutes

*The “Beauty Tips and Tricks” Series*

I’ve been painting my fingernails (with varied results) for years now, but I was happy when I found imPress Manicure: No more “coloring outside of the lines,” no more chipping, and no more constantly painting my nails.

However, I was even happier when I found imPress Pedicure, because my hands and feet could finally match, especially on those special occasions when I go downtown or on a date!^^

So, what is imPress?

It’s basically the brand name for press-on nails. These are the “sticker nails” that I’m always talking about! By now, it only takes me two minutes to stick them on, and here’s how good they look:

One~

One~

Two~

Two~

Each “nailbox” is really easy to carry around in your purse– in case of an emergency, and each nailbox also comes with a mini nail file and an alcohol nail prep pad. Yes– it only takes (me) two minutes to stick them on, but they last even longer than the manicure– about two to three weeks!

So, be sure to check them out, and you can find them anywhere from grocery stores to pharmacies to online shopping centers.

I prefer the French Tips, but here is a quick look at (some of) the (mostly) stylish selection:

Nails~

Impress with an imPress press-on pedicure!~

For low maintenance girls like me who still want to look just as good as the more high maintenance ones, this is definitely a must-have!

So, do you do your nails– fingernails, toenails? Or, do you prefer going to a nail salon?

(I’ve never been!)

The Way to My Heart is Through Your Credit Card

*Diary*

What happened three years ago (and what happened last night) has absolutely nothing to do with money and everything to do with trust and love.

So, this is one story that has to start with my ex-boyfriend…

My ex-boyfriend left his very nice home in Apgujeong at the age of 16 and started working at the Samsung in Suwon. Like a good Korean son, he gave his first, very big paycheck to his mom and continued to spoil her after that. He had the heart of an angel… and the tattoo of a crucified angel on his back.

(Although some of you might not know it, having a tattoo in Korea can mean certain things, and he was definitely a “bad boy.” He loved bikes and owned a gorgeous Harley Davidson… or two. He would also tell me stories about growing up in Korea– stories that made me laugh and cry, but those aren’t meant to be shared.)

After losing his sister in a terrible accident, he decided to leave Korea and ended up working at the Samsung here in Austin, Texas. After six months of being here, he got into a fight while at a club downtown and decided to go to a different club– the club where we first met. Young, drunk, and having fallen in love with him at first sight, I followed my heart, and my feet led me off the stage where I was dancing and right by his side.

After drinking and dancing the night away, we walked to his car. On the way, he gave me his jacket since it was cold, held my hand, and asked me to be his girlfriend.

Of course I said yes.

He was my first boyfriend, and he spoiled me with Betsey Johnson, fancy dinners, and yes, his credit card, but he also spoiled me with couple toothbrushes, daily phone calls, and a broad shoulder to cry on. I was 21, Nigerian-American, and inexperienced. He was 27, Korean, and experienced. Despite our differences– no, because he was patient, understanding, kind, and saw beyond our differences, we stayed together and– as crazy as it sounds now, almost got married.

(He proposed to me the night before he left for Korea with an 18K gold ring that his mother had given him. It fit perfectly on my ring finger, and I wore it off and on for the next two years even after we broke up, but– like many things, I learned to let it go.)

Sometimes, I wonder what would have happened and who I would have become had we not met, but then I can’t imagine not knowing him and not being who I am today because of him.

As for him, he broke up with his girlfriend (again) and recently bought a new apartment… and a new Lamborghini. As for his credit card, I found it buried underneath my old ones a few days after I moved into my new apartment last year. It reminded me of how much he did for me– how much he trusted me– how much he loved me.

It wasn’t about his credit card, and it wasn’t about being spoiled by him. It was about the amount of trust that it took for him to give me his credit card, and it was about being someone that he wanted to share everything he had with…

It’s strange, but a credit card– what was just a sad souvenir from three years ago, brought a smile to my face this weekend.

Friday Night

I went to my internship in the morning, and (as one of my friends already knows) I was anxious and worried all day. Would I really get to see Tao 2, or would he end up going swing dancing on Valentine’s Day with another girl after all?

Well, my friend told me to think positively, and I did. I got my hopes up– not too high, and I definitely wasn’t disappointed despite the drama that was about to unfold!

My friend and her boyfriend, aka Mr. Awkward, came over to my apartment around 11:00 to pre-game, which is when you drink BEFORE you go out.

Pre-gaming~

Pre-gaming~

We got ALL dressed up, but if you don’t have anything nice to say about either of our outfits, then please– don’t say anything at all.

Garter socks~

Garter socks~

She's my best unni~

She’s my best unni~

Us~

Friends (and sisters) forever~

Surprisingly, everything went as planned– at first.

As “planned,” even though I was supposed to text Tao 2 first, he texted me first, and he met up with us downtown as soon as he got off of work.

(As I found out later that night, he’s a sushi chef and a part-time student. He works to support himself, and he just bought a new car, which is impressive since he’s only 22!)

We got some drinks at the bar and started dancing, but it didn’t take long for my friend and her boyfriend to start fighting (again)– this time for real.

(He’s a flirt.)

By the end of the night, Tao 2 and I were with his friends, and we were all outside of my favorite club– just talking, when he suddenly wished me a Happy Valentine’s day and gave me a hug. Since my friend and her boyfriend were still fighting, this was the perfect chance to ask him to take me home!

Anyway, I haven’t been that excited about being in the passenger seat of a car for awhile, and we had a short but sweet car ride together. I definitely ended up liking him even more after we talked, and we made plans to hang out again on Saturday night.

Saturday Night

On Friday night when we were all outside, I made plans with one of his friends that I immediately clicked with, and she and I pregamed at my place before going downtown. Soon after, one of my best friends from high school, college, and now law school met us downtown once she was done studying; and, Tao 2 met us downtown once he was done working.

(Nothing can tear my best unni and I apart– not even her crazy boyfriend, so of course they met us downtown, too– just later on in the night.)

Anyway, the four of us were at the bar in one of my favorite clubs when Tao 2 Epic Failed at ordering drinks– his expression was sooo cute, so I said that I would buy a round instead. I was standing there ordering our drinks with my friend standing in between us when he reached across her and handed me his credit card…!

*Sigh*

Of course, only my friend (who knows literally everything about me AND my ex-boyfriend) and I knew what had just happened, and we smiled at each other secretly.

There was something about the way they both gave me that little piece of plastic that really touched me– maybe it was the look of trust in their eyes, or maybe it was the surety with which they didn’t hesitate to hand me something that is so hard to share. After all, it’s one thing to share your “crayons,” but it’s another thing to share your credit card!

(Think about whether or not you would give your credit card to someone else– for a minute or for a lifetime.)

Anyway, there were SO many unexpected and amazing things that made last night special, like when my new friend and I bonded over drinks, discovered our mutual love for Korea (and Kpop), and blasted EXO in my car on the way downtown… like when Tao 2 was doing his Dance Dance Revolution dance and a “fanboy” ran over and told him how “dope” it was… like when Tao 2 stepped on my shoe and grabbed me (Korean drama style) and said after I mildly seriously freaked out about my ($200.00) Stylenanda shoes getting stepped on, “I was just worried about you, not your shoes!”

… Like when I was in a circle of my new and old friends– just drinking or dancing, all of us having fun and happy together.

^^

Tao 2 has tentatively agreed to let me take him shopping, so if he lets me dress him then I will definitely share that here!

This Tuesday, though, my new friend and Tao 2 will definitely go get Korean food (my idea) before going to his place to hang out and play video games (his idea). I have no idea if she likes video games, but I do!

All in all, I had a great weekend, and I am ready to get back to school and my internship, which is going REALLY well. I’m also waiting to hear back about a “dream job” here in Austin that I applied for– international business transactions and access to higher education for international students, so wish me luck!^^

Love is A Battlefield

*Diary*

If only life were an RPG (Roleplaying Game) where we all walked around with our “Relationship Hit Points” hanging over our heads– that way we would all know who was heartbroken and who was “ready for battle.” We would also know everyone’s “level”– from Noob to Nymph to Ninja, and the tricks and tools that they had in their “inventory.”

After all, love is a battlefield.

Let me say it again:

Love is a battlefield.”

Why?

Well, you have to fight for love, but outside of RPGs and virtual reality it’s no longer all fun and games.

You have to fight against yourself– be it your own insecurities and doubts. You have to fight against the competition– be it real or imagined. You have to fight against society– be it because of race or culture. You might even have to fight against your family and friends– all for the person that you love.

However, when girls and women “fight” for the person that they love, then they become open to the following criticisms:

1. He only sees you as a friend.

(Doubts and securities affirmed.)

2. You’re not good enough for him.

(Competition– real or imagined, wins.)

3. You guys don’t really go together.

(Negative stereotypes in our society– reinforced.)

4. I don’t approve.

(YOUR relationship, judged by your family and friends.)

So, instead, girls and women lose the battle against themselves and never do anything for the person that they love– be it expressing their emotions to the person that they love or actually “fighting” for the person that they love; or, they lose themselves in a mindless, meaningless competition– lose their love in a society that somehow twists love and turns it into hate– lose their family and friends

I was doing my best to understand one of my best friends who waits by the phone– one that has only been ringing sporadically at night for the past year and a half, when I realized that instead of trying to understand her I needed to make her understand why I think that she is worth more than a late night phone call from a guy who only calls her when he needs her but never takes the time to call her back when she needs him, when she misses him.

She looked dull and tired, and I could tell that her Relationship Hit Points would be in the red zone and flashing brightly over her head. Even though I was stuffing my face on a spicy bulgogi burger, I had been waiting for this moment for so long that I knew exactly what to say.

Well, I thought I did, but in the end after our burgers disappeared and other hungers remained, we both knew that she was still going to go home and wait by the phone.

I told her later as we were texting each other:

“You’re a person. You have feelings, and you shouldn’t push them aside just because he does.”

Suddenly, she texted me back, shouting:

“THAT’S RIGHT. I AM A PERSON, TOO!”

However, it’s easy to forget that we are people when there are boys and men who will treat us like objects for so long that we forget how to feel, how to move– and move on; because, speaking our minds and sharing our hearts is something that we’re also criticized for, and when we do just that we’re often called “crazy” or “too emotional” and told to “calm down.”

Feelings

They’re weird. They’re awkward. They’re stupid. They’re embarrassing.

YES!

They can definitely be all of those things, but do you know that one of the most amazing feelings is to meet someone who listens when you speak and holds your heart carefully in his hands so as not to break it, because it is a treasure? BUT, before you meet someone like that, you have to stop waiting by the phone for a call that may or may not come.

You have to be willing to be open and honest, vulnerable and brave.

You have to be willing to give someone your words and your heart. 

Now, I’ve heard the same old story several times now, but it’s just a work of fiction:

“There’s always another guy around the corner.”

This other guy, he’s supposed to be Mr. Perfect, Mr. Destiny– someone who is somehow better than all the boys and men who came around the corner and entered into my life before him.

Well, let me tell you:

Over the past two or three years– however long it’s been since I’ve broken up with my ex-boyfriend, I soon slowly realized that if I don’t make the time and effort to appreciate the value of the boys and men (and people) in my life NOW, then I won’t suddenly be able to do it in the future, with someone that I might meet someday

For her, it was realizing that she was a person with feelings.

For me, it was realizing that I was no longer heartbroken.

For you, it will be some silly or serious (and strange) realization that takes you back to the battlefield, too; and, home-baked cookies and honest confessions are not for every girl and probably even fewer women, but I would like to tell you to put some in your “inventory,” at least today, whether you consider yourself a Noob, Nymph, or Ninja.

So, Happy Valentine’s Day!^^

It’s Valentine’s Day, and for me, it’s a day that’s less about cards, candy, chocolates, teddy bears, jewelry, and fancy dinners (and flowers) and more about making sure that I’m OKAY– that I have enough Relationship Hit Points to be something other than heartbroken– that I’m on the battlefield, fighting for (or finding) the person that I love in big (or small) ways.

Leggings Aren’t Pants &Other Rants

*Diary*

I’ve got some ranting to do!

Leggings aren’t pants!

Girls (and some boys), you know who you are.

YOU– you’re guilty of leaving the house in leggings so tight that I (and everyone else with eyes that work properly) can see your ass, crack, and pantyline. No, you don’t check the mirror before leaving the house, or maybe you do and you just don’t care, so you leave the skirt and shorts in the closet where they don’t belong.

YOU– you’re everywhere…

I go to the University of Texas at Austin, and I know that college students here pride themselves on being cheap and eating every meal at Wendy’s– or an equally cheap (or cheaper) place, but I know they can afford pants.

They just choose not to wear them.

Look, I don’t know if anyone has ever said this before, but leggings aren’t pants; and, I’m tired of seeing so much ASS everywhere I go: BIG ass, small ass, no ass…

Tribal printed ass, striped or solid ass, rainbow colored ass…

>.<

Am I Still in Highschool?!

It’s really hard for me to text Tao 2. We’ve been hanging out every weekend, and we always talk a lot. I even got his number, but…

There’s one small problem that is getting in my way.

He’s really popular– like, disgustingly popular. I stalked stumbled upon his Facebook pake, and I saw all these random girls that were liking AND commenting on his pictures, so I quickly ran away without adding him, because I didn’t want to be one of those girls.

Random like those girls from Sweden.

Random like those girls saying:

“Oh, but I drive by your workplace every day.”

(Really.)

ONE of his Facebook pictures has 97 likes, but it could easily be more by now.

I mean, that’s not the real problem. That’s just Facebook. The real problem is that it’s Valentine’s Day on Friday, and when I asked him about his plans for the weekend today, some bitch girl had already asked him to go swing dancing (swing dancing?!) on Friday.

So, now I’m stuck in this awkward position of wondering whether I should try to get him to hang out with me on Friday instead or just see him on Saturday.

I mean, I feel like I’m in highschool right now, back to wondering what I should type into that little box on my phone before hitting send.

Thinking about Valentine’s Day Friday is giving me a headache. Thinking about him is giving me a headache…

He’s actually really funny and normal, which is weird, because I wasn’t expecting him to be. We speak the same language; and, by that I just mean that even though I speak both English and Korean it’s rare to meet a guy who actually understands what I say, what I do, and what I mean.

He really understands me; and, girls in general, too.

For example, when I asked him about his plans for Friday and Saturday, he said that “a friend” had asked him to go swing dancing. So, I said:

“Girl friend? Are you sure she’s not asking you out for a Valentine’s Day date?”

Then, he said:

“Not really a girlfriend. I don’t know what she wants.”

What she wants?

WHAT SHE WANTS?!

I’m also annoyed at myself for giving a shit for liking him so much that I’ve actually gone into Crazy Mode, but he’s always telling me to touch his arms and six pack and saying funny things…!

>.<

Okay, I think I’m done ranting.

I feel better, so I’ll share my current Facebook Status:

“I was walking to the PCL– it’s a library, when a boy (who turned out to be from London and visiting a friend for two weeks) stopped and asked me if he could “be cheeky.” He said something about liking my hair– it was braided, because it makes me look like I just stepped out of a fairytale. We had a nice chat; and, of course, I gave him my number when he asked for it.”

If a nice guy asks for my number, then I will give it to him. I might text him when he texts me, but I probably won’t actually bother going out with him.

If I was interested, then I would have asked for his number– just like I asked for Tao 2′s number…

*Sigh*

Sorry, that was only two rants and a Facebook status, but it’s naptime!^^ Maybe I’ll think of something cool to say to Tao 2 in my dreams…

Thousand Years of Love

*Korean Drama Reviews, Recaps, &More*

This is the first in a series of Korean dramas that I will be watching starring So Ji Sub, and it takes me WAY back– all the way back to 2003, in fact!

It’s a fusion, time travel sageuk (historical drama) made in 2003, and the fashion is bewildering. Take So Ji Sub’s ugly unfortunate hair style, for example– see top left, but it looks even worse on screen…

Thousand Years of Love~

Thousand Years of Love~

*Sigh*

Thankfully, his other hair style– see bottom left, definitely makes up for it.

(Can you tell that I have a thing for guys with long hair?)

Anyway, there’s a lot that I love about this drama, so let me tell you all about it!^^

First, it stars a kick ass princess (played by Sung Yu Ri). She literally kicks ass but is still pretty and feminine in her hanbok. When a spy comes to the palace, she races out to catch him and actually meets her love interest– the general, all while still in her “underwear.”

(Just imagine a long, long-sleeved white dress worn underneath a hanbok– not a bra and thong!)

The general (played by So Ji Sub) is a former war hero who has been reduced to drinking in bars and sleeping with women as a result of palace politics. However, he meets the princess while she is chasing after the spy and ends up in a brothel, or whore house. After telling her to get out of his way and then teasing her because she’s in her underwear, he ends up bowing down before her– again, literally.

(After all, she IS a princess.)

Then, shit happens, as it always does in Korean dramas!

For example, the spy gets away– and reappears as the general’s servant!

Eventually, the princess, who appointed the general as her bodyguard after falling in love with him, is caught up in a war, and we soon see that the spy is leading it! Suddenly, the battle is lost, and the princess is forced to watch her kingdom burn down to the ground from a hillside as the general does his best to comfort her.

Well, if watching a kingdom burn down to the ground doesn’t call for a make out session, then I don’t know what does! 

Apparently, the general agrees, but he doesn’t stop there. After they kiss passionately and make love, he promises to never leave the princess’ side.

(This was so hard for me to watch, because it’s like watching my husband cheat on me, you know? Still, I can tell that my husband is a GOOD kisser, although I should know that a little more personally, right?)

Well, more shit happens, and not only does the general die at the hands of the former spy– now ruler, but the princess also tries to follow him into the afterlife. As she flings herself over a cliff, her magical necklace sparkles and a storm brews– one that takes her 1,000 years into the future!

There, she escapes from the Korean gangsters who find her and meets the general (also played by So Ji Sub), but now he is a fashion designer who designs clothes for– well, strippers.

(His partner in crime in the fashion business is a very young looking Lee Sun Gyun!)

So, it’s 2003– a thousand years later, and our princess is suddenly just another girl who happened to meet the wrong guy (story of my life!), but like all of us, she’s doing her best to make it “right”– while also learning how to use a toilet, amongst other things.

I love a Korean drama with a solid storyline and good looking cast– along with some good old fashioned shenanigans!

However, there are SO many differences between this old Korean drama and the newer ones, so stay tuned for Korean Dramas: Then &Now!

Beauty Killed The Girl

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

If curiosity killed the cat, then beauty killed the girl.

There’s nothing wrong with curiosity or beauty, but both can be hard to satisfy; and, in doing so, each one comes with costs. When it comes to beauty, we all know the costs– after all, as girls and women, beauty is something we often preoccupy ourselves with from an early age.

The following is an exaggeration, but the amount of time that you spend staring at yourself in the mirror (worrying), standing on a scale (worrying), and doing your makeup (worrying)– the (equally worrisome) amount of money that you spend on skincare, makeup, and clothes, it’s time and money that you can’t spend on other things, like time spent loving yourself for the way you are (not worrying) or money spent on “dangerously” delicious meals– dangerous to a diet, with family and friends (definitely not worrying).

There IS a balance between having a healthy lifestyle– one that works for you and your body, and having a happy life, one that doesn’t revolve around the way you look but around the things you do and the people you love. Many girls and women have found that balance, but many more of them have not.

Many girls and women are taking beauty to the extreme, so much so that it keeps them from doing the things that they want to do and from loving the people that they want to love.

(There are many reasons for taking beauty to the extreme; mainly, because of the media AND because of those closest to us! >.<)

For example, how many of us have ever wondered if we were ever “good enough” for something or someone– just because of our looks?

This is incredibly relevant to anyone who is interested in or passionate about a country, culture, and people different from their own. However, this is also incredibly relevant to anyone who is different from their OWN country, culture, and people.

So, it’s time to meet The Girl.

The Girl

The Girl stared beauty in the face, and when she looked at her own– she saw too many differences, and she felt ugly. She wasn’t skinny. She wasn’t pale. She wasn’t glowing and radiant, but struggling to control her breakouts and wild, often tangled hair.

The Girl looked to her family and friends– even strangers, for answers, but everyone else was just as obsessed with telling her that she needed to lose weight (sometimes, that she needed to gain weight)– that she needed to stay out of the sun (sometimes, that she needed to get a tan)– that she needed to take better care of her skin and hair (sometimes, that she needed to stop trying so hard and accept her skin and hair the way they were).

The Girl stared at herself in the mirror one day while also standing on top of a scale (she had started to do this in order to save time), and she was fed up with her family, her friends, and even strangers; but, most importantly, she was fed up with herself.

“What’s beauty? No, what’s beauty to me? What do I want to look like?”

The Girl stuffed cotton balls in her ears and decided to define beauty based on the way she felt inside– the sizes, shapes, and shades that she liked.

After a few months had passed, she no longer needed to stuff cotton balls in her ears in order to listen to the voices inside of her head and her heart; and, for the first time in a long time, she looked at herself in the mirror and smiled as she said,

“I look beautiful today.”

Suddenly, she was asking herself:

“Who do I want to be?

Then, The Girl– who was now just one of many girls, went on to conquer the world and find (and keep) her true love, something she could never have done in front of a mirror or standing on top of a scale.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be beautiful, but there is something wrong with obsessing over beauty, which can be deadly: anorexia and bulimia, extreme plastic surgery and skin bleaching…

Beauty is something that you MUST define for yourself.

Why?

Well, despite what the media and what those close to you want you to believe, beauty comes in many different sizes, shapes, and shades; and, to help you reach a better definition of beauty, here are three amazing blog posts from two even more amazing bloggers:

Do Asian Guys Like Thick/Curvy/Big Girls?

My Hair Was Never An Issue With Asian Men

Asian Guy Confessions: I F*CKING LOVE My Black Girlfriend’s Natural Hair!!!

^^

My MAJOR Etude House Haul

*Korean Skin Care: Hauls, Help, &More*

Dr. Palmer’s helped clear up my acne; and, Madina bumped me up a notch on the good skin scale, but Etude House…! Etude House has done wonders for my skin. It’s all I use now, and I did a MAJOR Etude House haul while I was in Korea.

(Almost) everything Etude House!^^

(Almost) everything Etude House– just not my BB cream!^^

So, here is My MAJOR Etude House Haul.

(I’ll also let you know which products are on my “must-have” list!)

It doesn’t look like a lot when you finally see it here, but I ended up buying A LOT of products from my first Etude House haul again. These are in my bathroom cabinet…

One~

One~

And in my “treasure chest”…

Two~

Two~

And in my (Etude House) make-up bag…

Three~

Three~

Well, you get the point! So, here are the products that I will actually be gushing about today.

My MAJOR Etude House Haul~

My MAJOR Etude House Haul~

Baking Powder Moist

This product is great, because the plain old baking powder– a foaming cleanser, was drying out my skin, especially when I was in Korea where the weather was so cold and so dry. This has the same great scent, too, and it does it’s job: squeaky clean skin.

Collagen Moistfull Skincare Line

My skin responded SO well to the collagen mask, so I decided to buy more collagen products.

I was using everything except for the toner until I read that it’s also good to use a toner if your skin needs a little something extra to keep it clear. So, I bought the toner, and I HIGHLY recommend using a good, gentle toner if your skin also needs something a little extra, too.

(This skincare line includes toner, essence, eye firming cream, and skin cream.)

This skincare line is on my “must-have” list, but check out the aloe and shea butter skincare lines if you feel like your skin will respond better to them, too!

Raspberry and Cranberry Body Wash and Body Lotion

These both smell good, and the lotion leaves my skin moisturized and glowing.

Sugar Oil Scrub

I love Love LOVE this product. It’s perfect for healing dry skin, especially since it’s actually been freezing in Austin, Texas lately. It smells amazing and leaves my skin SO soft and smooth.

And, it’s definitely on my “must-have” list!

Choux Choux Base in Berry and Peach

I had a terrible shock when I opened the berry sample and saw how light and pink it was. Thankfully, my Chinese friend came over and saw it, and she told me to use a little not a lot, and I did. I’m not that light but light enough to have it blend into my skin, and I love Love LOVE this product, too.

I’ve never used a base before, and it’s perfect for having that flawless finish. Oftentimes, BB cream just isn’t enough, and if I have this on underneath then my skin is soft and even and my make-up lasts ALL day.

This is (probably) my number one “must-have,” and it smells amazing, too!

(However, I prefer the berry to the peach, which also softens and evens out my skin, but it doesn’t have the same glow. I get more of a matte finish, and it’s a little too light– like the mint one, which I didn’t even bother buying since it’s for “redness”– something I don’t have.)

Baking Powder Crunch Scrub Triangles

Wow! I love exfoliating, and this does The Job. It definitely removed at least one layer of skin, but I could be exaggerating. Either way, my skin was really smooth and squeaky~ clean afterwards.

Again, it smells great and is another must-have!

Collagen Eye Gel Patch

These are fun little sticky collagen patch things. They work better than the not gel ones, and I like them a lot.

I love Etude House, and I am so thankful that my Chinese friend forced me to start using it!

(She’s like that– when she has too much of something, she’ll force us to take it.)

Anyway, I’m sure many other girls who aren’t Korean are wondering whether or not they can use these Korean skincare products on their skin, and the answer is:

YES– you can, and YES– you should.

westerngirleasternboy.com

*Off Topic*

Hi!^^

I am happy to announce that in addition to blogging for Dramafever, I have also decided to become westerngirleasternboy.com.

This was a big decision. After all, it cost $18.00; but, more importantly, it means my blog needs a makeover, a new theme.

(Makeovers are always so hard to do!)

>.<

So, you might walk in on me while I’m changing my theme, but don’t be afraid to take a peek.

And, stay tuned for My MAJOR Etude House Haul, which is coming later this week!

Tao 2, Tryhard Dongsaeng, and The Buff Gentleman

*Diary*

I managed to take a few pictures before racing out to meet my friends, and this was the best one only good one.

Ootn~

Ootn~

They were nice enough to come pick me up so we could go to Dirty 6th together, but when I walked outside it was unexpectedly cold and drizzly, but by then it was too late to change into something warmer!

>.<

Anyway, last night was definitely interesting; but, I’m not sure where to begin to tell this tale, so I’ll just jump right in…

Tao 2

Tao 2 is SO cute– really, he’s adorable, but my friend’s boyfriend is the most awkward and annoying person alive right now. We were all at one of our favorite clubs, and my friend and her boyfriend were briefly separated from us. Tao 2 suddenly said something to me that I couldn’t hear, and when I asked him to repeat it he said shyly as he played with his hair:

“No, I don’t know.”

Then, I did hear him say, “Go dance,” so I followed my friend and her boyfriend onto the dance floor, and he followed along like a good little boy right behind me.

A few minutes later, Mr. Awkward and Annoying says:

“Hey, why don’t you teach him how to dance?”

*Awkward moment*

Tao 2 is very shy, and he got embarrassed and fake punched Mr. A and A before telling me that he doesn’t know how to dance. I smoothed the moment over as best as I could, but I definitely wasn’t going to “teach him how to dance,” which I made clear. After all, I’m not a dance teacher, and I don’t have any reason to teach Tao 2 how to dance OR to dance with him UNLESS he asks me.

Later, I definitely explained the following to Mr. A and A: That if Tao 2 wants to dance with me, then he’ll ask me– that Mr. A and A doesn’t need to make things awkward for me OR Tao 2 by trying to intervene on his behalf.

(He may have been asking me to dance earlier, but I really couldn’t hear what he was saying!)

Anyway, Mr. A and A is always trying to hook Tao 2 up with girls, but I think Tao 2 has fun doing his own little dance revolution thing all by himself. I talked to him when we were outside, and he said he doesn’t really like clubbing here, because he can’t “dance.”

I just laughed but not in a mean way.

Then, we went to my favorite club– we always go right before downtown closes, and Tao 2 bought us ALL some shots– by now we had picked up two more girls, so there were quite a few of us. As always, he was quickly surrounded by a horde of girls, and that’s when I met Tryhard Dongsaeng.

Tryhard Dongsaeng

TD is a gu boy– “Shin,” but last night when I met him for the second time ever he was suddenly older– 23. I let it go, because Korean guys (around here) are always lying about their age:

“I’m a freshman, but you know Korean guys have to go to army for two years, so that’s why I’m older.”

… Sure.

First, some important information:

I have a “friend” who slept with TD, probably the same night that I met him, which was over summer.

Why does this matter?

Well, some Korean guys (around here) think that just because my “friends” are open, that I am open, too, which might explain why he kept trying to kiss me while we were dancing AND why he asked me when the club closed and the lights came back on:

“What are you doing after this?”

I just said that I was going to go outside and look for my friends, because he was trying WAY too hard. I don’t even know why I wasted my time dancing with him, but I was a little too drunk to make good decisions, anyway.

So, I ditched him and found my friends, and except for Tao 2, we all went to another club where we were waiting in line in the freezing cold before I finally left to take a taxi home, which is how I met The Buff Gentleman.

The Buff Gentleman

Well, there’s nothing like walking alone and wearing a short skirt and tank top after 2 AM on Dirty 6th. From Beyonce to mamasita to things I shouldn’t say on my blog, I heard it all within just two blocks.

Thankfully, to my left there suddenly appeared this gorgeous, icy blonde, green-eyed buff gentleman (but no taxis) who talked to me (normally) and asked me where I was going. I let him know that I was trying to catch a taxi and go home, so he said:

“I can catch you a taxi.”

We ended up walking and talking together for QUITE sometime before my friends texted me letting me know that they weren’t going to go into the club after all and could take me home.

So, TBG walked me ALL the way to where we had parked, and he also got my number and said that we should get breakfast sometime.

He texted me around noon, and we have been texting all day since then, so breakfast sometime might actually happen!

Not a bad way to spend Saturday night!^^

Anyway, after all that happened, my friends and I ended up meeting some of their friends at karaoke, so we got to sing all night before my friends dropped me off at home.

I will be seeing Tao 2 again next weekend, but another funny story about him:

He was saying good bye to me and extended a fist for a pound. I froze in disdain, and when I blinked and opened my eyes suddenly his fist was a hand. I blinked again– still not pleased, and when I opened my eyes he was hugging me.

Girls, sometimes, boys can understand what you mean without you saying anything at all.

Tao 2

*Diary*

Uhm, you might know Tao, but you might not. Either way, you should. He’s a Chinese member of EXO, and definitely one of my biases. He’s 20 and a typical growing boy who loves to eat.

(This noona would make sure that he’s never hungry.)

Sexy Tao~

Sexier tao~

Sexier tao~

Sexiest Tao~

Sexiest Tao~

Anyway, Tao 2 is Taiwanese and the cute version of Tao.

Cute Tao~

Tao 2 is friends with my friend’s boyfriend, so I see him a lot– usually downtown. He’s VERY popular with girls, but he is one of those hot nerds, so he doesn’t know what to do with them, and I don’t think he wants to do anything with them, either.

I tend to ignore guys who are REALLY nerdy and “unprofessional” like that, but we’ve been seeing each other a lot lately. He even hugged me when he saw me last night, which was a surprise since we never even speak to each other.

(I literally met him through another friend like a year ago, and I’ve talked to him, like… twice? I don’t even say hi to him, and he usually doesn’t say hi to me either. Thus, surprise!)

Anyway, I went out last night in a pretty big group– like 6 girls and 2 guys, him included. There was one more girl, but she got caught with her fake ID and had to go home.

>.<

Ootn, or "outfit of the night"!~

Ootn, or “outfit of the night”!~

(My Stylenanda shoes that I bought in Myeongdong!^^)

Fast forward to sometime after 2 when the clubs had closed, and we were all standing outside of our favorite club. There were two girls staring in our direction, and then they came over to say hi to me– I mean, to say hi to Tao 2.

They were literally throwing themselves at him, but he just maintained his composure and kept his distance. They left, and he actually hid behind my friend’s boyfriend and giggled shyly and excitedly when I told him that those girls liked him. He was holding onto his friend’s shoulders and peeking out from behind him like a little kid– so cute but SO unnecessary.

Anyway, there was this funny moment when he was taking off his button down shirt. He was wearing some sort of sleeveless tee shirt underneath, so I reached over to fix it for him– I don’t like when people look messy or are exposing too much skin (and he was definitely doing both), and he flexed instead.

Priceless.

It’s very rare for a guy to do something that makes me smile, but last night was a good night.

I also met a super country boy from Corpus Christi who bought my friend and I some whiskey coke, and we had a nice conversation at the bar before smooching (on the cheek) goodbye.

I also danced with a guy who has been trying to get to know me since last year, but I’m not the best dancer, and he actually asked if I was “from overseas.”

… Overseas, where girls can’t dance?

He’s tall, black, and a very good dancer, so maybe he was a little underwhelmed by my lackluster hip-shaking. To be honest, I don’t dance with guys (or dance well with guys), but he’s really sweet, and his friend was dancing with my friend, so it would have been rude AND weird to say no.

All in all, it was a good night!^^

(And, I got to drink a lot, too, so I was happily hungover today.)

I might go out again tonight, because I need to have as much fun as I can before another BORING week of work, school, and homework starts.

On the other hand, what I love about clubbing in Korea is that Korean guys like to dance on their own or with their friends, too. It’s less about grinding, although that does go on– boobie boobie, girls, I hope it happens to you someday, too!

What Not to Do in Seoul, South Korea

fi

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

I’ve been to South Korea– just Seoul, twice now. Once for law school and an internship for three months in the summer of 2012 and once for vacation for two weeks in the winter of 2013. Of course, I drank– I danced– I devoured Korean boys and men like a box of fine chocolates dated, but there were some things that I just didn’t do…

Or, at least learned NOT to do.

So, here it is– all the dirty laundry that I’ve been meaning to air out, but no– it’s not mine.

(At least not all of it.)

1. Don’t pick up Korean guys at clubs.

By picking up Korean guys at clubs, I mean taking them home– not drinking, dancing, or a little more with them AT clubs. Now, taking them home might mean taking them to YOUR home, but it might also mean going with them to a hotel, love motel, or– of all places, a DVD room, all of which I’ve talked about in THIS post on Sex in Korea and THIS post on clubs, nights, and “spas” in Korea.

(I’m only mentioning DVD rooms because an American girl one of my best friends went to school with in Korea slept with a few Korean guys in DVD rooms. I don’t know if she met them at clubs, but DVD rooms?! Imagine Blockbuster with porn and private theater rooms in the back, but try not to imagine anything more than that! Thankfully, not ALL DVD rooms are so “dirty,” literally.)

In addition to having talked a little bit about DVD rooms in Korea, I’ve also talked a lot about clubs in Korea:

Clubs in Korea are well-known for being a place to pick up the opposite sex, hookup, and have what is (usually) a one night stand, so if you start dating a Korean guy or have a Korean boyfriend, then he may or may not let you go clubbing.”

Why?

Well…

Whoo~

Whooo~

Whooo~

(Okay, not everyone who goes clubbing in Korea has this much fun or takes pictures that make it seem like they’re having this much fun…)

I’m not talking about clubs in Hongdae, although Cocoon and NB2 might be relevant to this conversation. Mainly, I’m talking about clubs like Ellui and NB in Gangnam where the crowd is older, hotter, and wilder.

Club Ellui in Seoul:

However, in Korea it’s definitely easier to be approached by Korean guys and also easier to approach Korean guys at clubs– especially if you don’t speak Korean, which might be why so many girls try to meet Korean guys at clubs!

For that reason (or whatever reason), I hear this from girls ALL the time, whether I’m in Korea or on my blog:

“I go to clubs and meet Korean guys, but they never like me or I never see them again even though I thought they liked me. What should I do? I really want to go on dates with them, too.”

Sure, if they “like” you, then it always starts out sweetly. After all, the most commonly used pick-up line by Korean guys (who may or may not speak good English) at clubs when they talk to foreign girls is the following:

“Where are you from?”

He’s cute, or maybe you’re too drunk to know if he’s cute or not, so you smile, and you tell him where you’re from. He buys you a drink. You drink together. Then, you dance together– usually known as 부비부비, or boobie boobie.

Boobie boobie in Korean dramas~

... And boobie boobie in Korean clubs~

… And boobie boobie in Korean clubs~

But, in Korea, you don’t NEED to go to clubs to meet let alone pick up Korean guys, and unless all you want is a casual relationship, then I don’t think you should. In Korea, it’s common enough for guys to approach girls they like on the street or in cafes– wherever they see you, so just “dress up” when you go out, make eye contact, and smile.

Then, wait and let the magic happen!^^

P.S.: I think that casual relationships have their time and place– even in Korea, so THIS what not to do is for the girls who are expecting what starts as a casual relationship with a Korean guy at a club to turn into something more.

(This isn’t impossible, it’s just RARE, especially when language and culture barriers can get in the way.)

In addition, I think that most Korean guys prefer to do the chasing rather than being chased, so I really do mean wait. This doesn’t mean do nothing. It means do everything to get his attention and keep it without “making the first move”; or, if you’re a professional, then make him THINK that he’s making the first move.

(Making the first move could be anything from approaching him first to texting him first to other “firsts,” but I’m not trying to give you girls dating advice, because my own friends can barely learn what I try to teach them.)

Thankfully, it’s okay to be awkward and very “unprofessional,” because a guy– including a Korean guy, should like you for who you are and NOT who you are trying to be. However, if you make a bad first impression on any guy because you ARE awkward or “unprofessional,” then he’s highly unlikely to forget about it…

*Sigh*

2. Don’t drink (a lot).

Where I’m from, it’s a tradition to drink a lot and pass out or black out every now and then, which is NOT what my friends and I do when we go out, but we all know who to call in case that happens: 911.

But, I’ve seen American girls– they were a group of teachers, leave their drunk, passed out friend on the street outside of Monkey Beach in Apgujeong. No one knew who to call OR what to do, and no– I never hung out with those girls again.

At the same club, I met another teacher from America– really sweet girl but a little strange, who got really drunk and disappeared with two Korean guys that I introduced her to (oops), much to the dismay of her friends, and when I told them exactly who she disappeared with they said:

“She’s not that kind of girl.”

Yes, she was, as I found out the next time that I met her.

Why do girls make bad decisions?

(She admitted that it was a bad decision.)

Blame it on the alcohol.

*Plays “Blame It” by Jamie Foxx*

Apart from Goose, Patron, vodka, and Henney (which is the name of a Korean guy that I just met), there’s something called soju. If you’ve never had soju, then drink it MIXED with beer and lemon, fruit, or yogurt– if you drink it at all.

Here’s some advice from an oppa that I met while in Korea for the first time:

“Don’t drink a lot or say that you can drink well. It’s not pretty, and some Korean guys will hear that and think you are “open” and try to take advantage of you.”

This is exactly what happened to an American girl that I spoke with recently. She was with some Korean guys who “fed” her alcohol, and then– of course, afterwards they didn’t bother contacting her again.

Death in a bottle~

Another cultural difference that makes it seem like all Korean guys are judgmental of or don’t like girls who like to drink? I wouldn’t say ALL, but I would say a lot, especially if they just met you (at school or at a club for example) and don’t know you very well.

Now, I only REALLY drink soju with my close friends– usually my 오빠들, or older Korean “brothers.” By REALLY drink I mean not just a few shots but a bottle or two.

Anyway, I don’t drink a lot in Korea, because I don’t know who to call or what to do in case of an emergency, and I don’t think you should either UNLESS you know that someone will be there to take care of you and make sure you get home safely.

(Someone like Mr. Kang.)

3. Don’t be a tourist.

Korea has a lot more to offer than palaces and famous landmarks, but the only way you’ll ever experience Korea is to go out on your own and wander around OR to meet someone who can take you to all the cool places that only Koreans ever seem to know about.

I don’t have anything else to say about this, because there’s really nothing wrong with being a tourist, but it seems like such a waste to travel to a country and never experience what it’s really like.

What did you learn?

Hopefully, you learned that MANY girls go to Korea with stars in their eyes because of Kpop and Korean dramas, and in the end they face disappointment, disillusionment, and disaster because of cultural differences, especially when it comes to relationships.

Hopefully, you also learned that your safety is important, and it’s not worth putting ANYTHING above that– be it ignorance about Korean culture or indifference to meeting good or bad Korean guys or the idea that you are invincible and nothing bad will happen to you in Korea.

Honestly, there are a lot of other things that you really shouldn’t do in Korea, and I think the biggest one is assume that it’s okay to dress and behave in Korea the same way you dress and behave in your own country.

Be yourself, but try to “blend in” by learning about and adapting to Korean culture, too.

As an ahjusshi said about Americans in particular:

Americans are very honest and innocent. They can say that they’ve done something wrong and people will forgive them. It’s not like that in Korea, so Americans come here, and when they make mistakes– especially because the two cultures are so different, they get in trouble– they get hurt.”

So, no matter where you’re from, when you go to Korea, DO have fun, but DON’T put having fun first. You’re still in a foreign country, and you always need to remember that, and remember this:

Safety, first!^^

This blog post sponsored by Smokey the Bear:

Smokey The Bear~