Sunday, August 30, 2009

Water Park!!!

As a native Nebraskan, I don't have much experience with water-related activities such as skiing, boating, surfing, etc. Therefore, I become inordinately excited when I get to go to a water amusement park, and yesterday was my day!!!
The park was much like Oceans of Fun, my water park of choice (due to lack of other options), except with lots more Koreans. Here are some observations from the day:
1. Speedos are in. It does not matter if you are in good shape or bad shape. Men in Korea who were wearing speedos at the Caribbean Bay water park yesterday chose to accessorize their speedos with an air of confidence. They thought they looked good.
2. Korean babies are cute enough, but a Korean baby in a bumble bee swimsuit is almost too cute to bear. I had to avert my eyes because I started tearing up.
3. Many Korean women wore sheer zippered hoodies over their swimsuits. They are difficult to describe...and they seem to have no real function at all, aside from making people look fantastic.
4. There was beer at the concession stands. I chose not to partake because drunken swimming never seems like a good idea.
5. The locker room choices were written in both Korean and English. We were to choose between "Outdoor Lockers" and "Super fantastic fancy indoor relaxing lockers." We went with the super fantastic lockers...who can resist such advertising?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Feminism and FRG?

Is it possible to be both a feminist/independent woman and an Army spouse?

Yesterday I attended my first Family Readiness Group (FRG--the army loves acronyms) meeting. I was told it would be an opportunity for Army spouses to get together to discuss the comings and goings of their spouses' company (group of soldiers). I was excited to meet some other spouses, although I wasn't quite sure what to expect. The meeting was literally an informational meeting about our spouses' upcoming days off and activities. The only adult man present was 1st Sergeant Moore, who was helping lead the meeting. I was the only woman there who did not have a child who was also present. Most of the women demonstrated a remarkable ability to multitask as they would hold their children on their legs, feeding them a bottle, while eating a sandwich. The meeting was not about the people in the room, but about our spouses and children where applicable.

There is nothing wrong with being a mother or a wife, but there is something wrong with letting those become all that one does. And so far, it seems as though the army base here is set up so that these roles are all that are available for spouses (I have yet to met a male army spouse). There are many reasons for this: it is difficult to find a job due to limited opportunities as well as Visa restrictions; life in Korea is expensive, as is childcare, so one spouse must stay home; there are not many educational resources on base; etc. I am hoping that these are first impressions of the life of an Army spouse and that more will come to light, but I'm not sure that is the truth.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Right now there are 5-6 older Korean men in my apartment. They are doing somehing to my fridge. They tried to explain it to me--first in fast Korean, then in slower Korean, then in some sort of ape-like sign language. I still don't understand. Luckily, they smiled reassuringly and seem to have at least a small knowledge of what they are doing.
OK, now they are pounding. They seem to think that they should remove a section of wall from the apartment. Should I be worried?
They have covered the floor in cardboard. Geez, this might get messy.
Dear Lord! They took a knife to the wall! What the deuce? Mylanta! I hope they clean it up because I don't know if my new Swiffer WetJet can handle a load this large (no, Swiffer is not paying me to advertise).
I would never know if this is legitimate or not. I'll just have to trust and hope I'm not getting an accidental window or something. Yikes.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dental Hygiene

It is not unusual to see a group of toothbrushes in a restaurant's bathroom. Why, you might ask? Well, some people in Korea seem to bring their toothbrushes everywhere so they might brush constantly. Yesterday, I was in the women's restroom in the mall and a group of giggly young women came in and had a veritable toothbrushing party. I felt left out and plaque-y.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Beginning observations

Here I sit, gainfully unemployed and full of ideas. Here:
1. Taxi drivers in Korea think that running red lights is a good way to pass time.
2. The subway is air conditioned.
3. Cell phone baubles are really popular here. The fact that I don't have one yet makes me feel naked somehow!
4. Why hasn't the U.S. switched to the metric system yet? It makes so much sense!
5. Asian babies find my blonde hair mesmerizing, as they should.

Monday, August 17, 2009

International Flights

I arrived at SFO three hours early and gathered in line at the Singapore Airlines ticket counter. I was the only white person in line, which was a mere precursor of things to come. I boarded the airplane hours later and I was pleased to discover that I had my own personal television. Then the flight attendant started giving me things--a hot towel; headphones; a pair of socks and a tiny toothbrush. During the flight, she would continue to function as Santa Claus as I was provided with snacks and two (!) meals during the 13 hour flight, which was a far cry from my Southwest days. I even got a glass of wine with dinner, and she thought I was strange for asking if it was free.
The descent into Incheon airport seemed to take forever. We were flying through a ton of clouds and my first sight of Korea was an island and some mountains. So it looked a lot like Not like Nebraska at all. Chin-Hwa and some of his family members met me at the airport and we began our two hour car trip home. Pictures of the apartment will come soon!