The Shape of Things

11 11 2008

Some of my recent conversations have shown me just how different life is here in Korea. For instance, an exchange with my Korean co-teacher today:

Her: Let’s test the mask on you, you have a small face, like children.

Me: Come again? My face is surely larger than the children’s…

Her: No no! It’s good! See? It fits!

I can honestly say I’ve never been concerned with the size of my face. Apparently it’s a big thing here. Small face = pretty girl. However, one thing that I’m lacking is Western ideal of big eyes. At the jimjibang (Korean sauna) my friend will get stopped and excessively complimented at for her large blue eyes. Mine happen to be on the small side and green, but I have a small face, so that’s normal, right?

No no. Too big of body, too tall, small eyes. Good small face though!

Also, a conversation at the club on Saturday night:

Irish guy: I like to see girls like you (my friend and I) not being racist, dancing with the black men.

*a few moments where nothing happens, not even dancing*

Irish guy: All you racist girls are so tiring.

Us (slightly drunk and still celebrating Obama’s win): Ummm…. well we aren’t dancing with anyone at all…. OBAAAMMMAAAAA!!!!

Irish guy: Racists.

Odd encounters with Europeans aside, I’m suffering culture shock for the first time since being here. Being a racial minority for the first time in my life, I’m not used to being in the spotlight, being either a stereotype or the “exception to the rule”. It’s bizarre, and I don’t think I’ve grasped even the entirety of it, yet. All I know is that I’m starting to understand. I’m getting a lot of perspective that I would never gain at home and getting to know an entirely different way of looking at things.

Perspective, new experiences, getting out of my element. This is why I love travel.




3 responses

13 11 2008
Nomadic Matt

the first thing i thought about when i saw this title was the Lost episode with a similar title. i know completely irrelevant.

13 11 2008

are you still keeping up with Lost? My interest faded after how ridiculous the 4th season got, but I’m sure I’ll download more of it eventually…

13 11 2008

With your blonde hair and green eyes……….you would fit in perfectly in Iceland!!!! I think that is one country you would absolutely love……..lots of adventure in the outdoors there!

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