The Perception of Beauty

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder but is it really? In Korea the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the surgeon... or something like that. A recent report claimed that 77% of Korean women wanted some type of plastic surgery. I do not doubt this stat. Women here get nips and tucks for anything: weddings, graduation, new job, etc... Teacher at school just got some work done on her face.

There is an intense pressure to be slim, beautiful and all that. This is similar to pressure in America but I like to think that in recent years we have inserted a healthy dose of reality with campaigns to promote inner beauty. Here, well it's like an experiment in Western culture gone wrong. Overweight or obese people are so extremely rare and mostly because if they were to be overweight they would be shamed into losing weight quicker than you could say "Overweight Korean". As my boy Stanley said, "if it ain't olive oil, it's fat". Think on that one.

This extends to the kids. We had a slightly larger girl in my one class. No one would even notice in a Canadian class. But the teacher were always talking about her and for her speech (for our English festival) gave her a line, "I like yoga because I want to try and work for a nicer body". Come on, she's 5/6 years old!

All this focus on beauty extends to clothing. Women don't go anywhere without their high heels. Beach = high heels. Walk in the mountains = high heels. No jokes. Men go to the beach in suits. You see them riding their bikes in suits.

So is beauty anything you want it to be? Can a culture put such ridiculous limits to beauty and it be alright? Makes one think....


The Boyz

A couple pictures of me with two of my kindergarten boys who graduated. These two were alot of fun.

Weekend Funnies

We had a lovely long weekend where we got to relax and rue the fact that we have so little time to do that. The couple hours each night just doesn't leave much room for getting out and exploring.
Saturday we went with a bunch of friends down to Busan for an afternoon/evening of fun. We took in some downtown underground shopping.

Which was more or less just wandering. Got stopped by the JW's... yeah, they have them in Korea too. Been to our door before too and they usually speak good English so you can't pretend you don't understand them. Too bad.

In Busan you take the subway around so we spent our fair share of time riding that.

My boy Va'shajn had a little fun with a sleeping Korean. We went to the big bath house there... it was packed because of the holiday, us guys actually had a 15 min. wait to get in. More guys go during the holidays while the wife stays home and cooks/prepares.... at least that's what we figure.

In the same building as the bath house is a brew house that we hit up after for dinner. Some crazy band from Bulgaria was playing there and some adjoshi's really got into the music. You can always count on drunk adjoshi's for a little fun. They took a bit of a liking to the girls in our group, as you can see.

Sunday we went to church and then for dinner at our pastor's place with everybody. Monday was spent relaxing, went out for dinner. Really nice.

Now we are back at school. We had our kindergarten graduation was a big production as all things seem to be here. Caps and gown... for kindy graduation!

We started all our new elementary classes today and kindergarten starts in March. Everything is all over the place because, in the typical Korean way, everything got left to the last minute. Nolana's organizational skills have been put to good use the past couple days. So a couple weeks to get adjusted to everything new. I have a new schedule and I'm liking the looks of it. If it all pans out then the next 4 and a bit months might be relatively enjoyable. Here's hoping.


Musings of the Mind to Pass the Time

So I've been pretty apathetic towards blogging recently, mostly due to some tough weeks at school and just being pretty busy without much exciting happening. The normal life, ya know? So here's a few updates and random tidbits on Korea until I get something more exciting to post.

Long weekend coming up so maybe something exciting then... a trip to Busan, maybe a scooter trip...

School has been seriously sucky. Just a whole lot of not listening to us. A little event last week summed it up. My "partner teacher" asked for the weekly word list for our 2 joint classes. This was Thursday. I had finished the book so I was making up my own material and selected words from that. Come Monday I go into class to teach and find the kids had some other wordlist, not related at all to what I was doing. So I go ask why and excuses ensue to save face (the Korean way). I mean, you freakin' asked me for it and then didn't give it to them! Anyhoo, just alot of silliness.
Here's a pic of the outdoor market by our place, good for buying veggies and alot of things. Seems highly usual for us now but it's so not-Western.

Valentine's Day is a holiday in Korea but it is the GIRLS that give chocolate to the boys. There is another day called White Day where the boys give to the girls.

Korean New Years is this weekend (hence the long weekend) and then we start the new school year. New schedule... so fingers crossed on it getting better. We are also getting a 3rd foreign teacher.... and he's 54 years old. Should be interesting.

Last weekend we went to a board games room to play Settlers. Yours truly kicked butt.

New girl in town from Australia and we took her with us. A unique Korean experience.

It was pouring rain on Tuesday and I drove my scooter... and got seriously soaked. I think I'll take a taxi next time.

Been reading Deitrich Bonhoeffer's Ethics and it is quite impressive on a number of fronts. An intellectual look at why we need to mix simplicity of faith (simple in that it is a singular goal) with a knowledge of reality.

Korea is seeming so normal and yet still so frustrating on so many fronts. It is a test of endurance. Just under 5 months to go.

Well... that's it for now I guess. Take care out there my peeps.


A Korean Wedding Day

Our good friend Bora got married today and we were invited to the wedding... so we thought we would share how Korean weddings are a little different than their North American counterparts.

First, we got to eat. No bride or groom around just a buffet dinner for anyone who came early and wanted some free food. Then we went up and before the wedding Bora had a little room where people could come and get pictures with her.

Note the stunning specimen stage right (the rest are the English teachers at our school... oh yeah, and my gorgeous wife).

Korean weddings are all big we were told and this one was no exception. They invite pretty much any and all family friends, co-workers, etc... and there was a couple hundred people there. Bora walked down the aisle and no one stood. Guess that's a North American thing.

It was a nice ceremony although we understoof very little. All I know is that those Korean ministers can PRAY. None of this 2 minute quick bake prayer, when their lids drop you know you're gonna need to get comfortable! The parents on sit up on the stage on either side and gave a quick little speech. Then at the end of the ceremony the couple bows to both sets of parents and then to the congregation.Once all is said and done the couple sticks around and does a bunch of group pictures with family and friends. This one is with the parents; the mothers in their traditional hanbok.It was neat to be invited to something like this, not a lot of foreigners come to Korea and get to see something like this. Neat to see the differences and yet see how they were pretty similar.