Being in South Korea is still amazing!
I’ve found my groove with balancing school, teaching, being flexible with schedule changes, studying/improving my Korean, and sight seeing in my city.
As for the weather:
I’m from Florida ya’ll! That just can’t be helped. LOL
Anyway, back to the original point of this post.
Sometimes I find myself staying in on the weekends. For the entire weekend. I have my normal commute Monday through Friday and then I stock up on water and food to hibernate through the weekend. At first I would tell myself that there isn’t anything wrong with this. That in fact I was being responsible and saving my coin by not going out. That is true, but not the reason why I have continued to stay indoors on the weekends. And neither is the weather. It’s the ‘peopling’ that I am avoiding.
For the most part, folks in my city see me and just keep it moving. Which I fully appreciate. It’s the ones that
lurk stare, invade my personal space when there is absolutely no reason to, and attempt to touch my hair without permission. One example of this was when I was waiting for the bus to go home after teaching. I like to use that waiting time to study for a bit, and once I did not have my hoodie covering my head. I was listening to music and could feel someone staring at me.
So I took off my headphones and tried to casually glance around. Sure enough, there was this ahjussi burning a hole into my skull with his laser beam eyes. Sigh. I made eye contact, mainly so he’d know that I know that he’s looking and gave him a slight bow (as a rule of thumb, I don’t smile showing my teeth). He then gives me a big smile and a wink, which prompted me to go back to reading my study notes. Just before I see the bus and get up to catch it, an ahjumma walks up and stands right in front of me. No greeting or nothing, just stares at me and reached her hand out to grab one of my twists. I immediately stood up (I have to catch the bus anyway – perfect timing) and she frowns before walking off and muttering to her friends in Korean.
For once I’m glad to not be at the level to where I can understand her.
Those moments are few and far in between – thank goodness. I try to minimize them more by staying in my studio on the weekends. I only go out to meet my tutor ya’ll – that’s it!
Staring doesn’t bother me – hell sometimes I stare too 🙂
I know that folks will stare and even say things to me regardless. The only thing I can do is control my reaction. It’s just even the thought of having to deal with someone else’s ignorance (at best) is exhausting! And then I find myself getting upset over having to consider that ish. Like, it’s 2018 – why? Why should I have to even think about answering borderline rude AF questions about my weight, my skin, and/or my hair?!
Umm…is that not one of the reasons why I’m here in a sense? To not only expose myself to Korean culture, but to also expose Koreans to foreigners other than Asian Americans? Shouldn’t we be learning from each other in a way? It’s almost as though I’m being expected to apologize for my appearance, and that is NOT something I will ever do. I spend unnecessary time avoiding folks so that I don’t have these incidents even become a possibility because I will never apologize for being in this body of mine.
With my favorite holiday right around the corner, I have decided to put an end to how I’ve been going about dealing with these things. I have to dig deep and find a new order -a new balance to how I have been dealing with these interactions. I know that I can’t respond how I would in the States, but being cooped up in my place is not the answer either. I hope what I’m saying makes sense. LOL
Making my way to South Korea was no easy task. Neither was finding the level of happiness that I have so far while being here. Having said that, I will end this post by sharing what ‘happiness’ it is that I speak of.
Just me. Being free to be myself. Without judgement.
It feels amazing and after years of search for this kind of solitude within, this chick wants to soak it all in.
And for those of you looking for your own version of happy, I hope that with all of my heart that you find it.
As always – be inspired and stay inspiring!
– Soprano Musings