Monday, March 7, 2011

Koreanism's: Petting the Waygook

So, I am foreign to this country and I am a classified as a"registered Alien" whilst living in Korea. When I first received my Alien registration card I thought nooo surely not, we could not get away with such 'lingo' in the UK, however, its pretty accurate to how you will sometimes feel while living here...

Example 1: Intense starring....

So people stare here alot, I think mostly at us foreigners (however I'm sure they at least give each other the once over as appearance IS everything after all). They do not just merely look over at you but hard stare, eyeball you, up and down, down and up sometimes with their faces in closer proximity than you could ever desire to be with a little old lady from the fish stall at Jukdo market or a wobbly Soju intoxicated ajoshi (old man).

My students also like to hold my face in their hands and stare at me very closely, usually followed by opening my eyes wide to look at my 'lenses'.... I've been wearing them daily it would seem for the past 12 months!

This brings me on to what usually follows the stare;

Example 2: The touching of the alien....

My experiences vary from little children's hands feeling my eyelashes (that happens alot?!), my arms (once the warm weather arrives my arms are something to marvel at for them?!), my neck and even back (because they have cold hands, very inappropriate) and prodding my belly...I'm sure theres some I am forgetting.

What made me write this post was a little halmonee (old lady) on a bus the other day who began by touching a ring on my finger followed by rubbing my hand and wrist and smiling whilst telling her friend something ("Ah she feels like cheese too"?? Who knows?!).

I have also had an old man sit next to me on the bus and insist on showing me the pressure points of the body followed by how to relieve stress-massage. on a bus. full body attempted. NOT cool.

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