***A note from the editor: I have given (yes, given) Chin-Hwa a guest spot on the blog. I did not censor his post, but I would like to note that many of his stories are hyperbole. With that in mind, please enjoy***
For those of you who have not had the privilege to behold my skills as a Michael Jackson impersonator (I can do the moonwalk), my name is Chin-Hwa. I am Jackie's "poopy pants" (there's no backstory to that nickname, I promise you). If you thought that you were going to be bored to tears by another one of Jackie's "look-at-me-I-live-in-a-foreign-country-and-you-should-envy-me" entries, you are in for a treat. I will be guest blogging every now and then, and all of you will realize how much wittier and funnier (and maybe a bit more arrogant) I am than she.
For the last 2 months, Jackie has been bragging about how she has a large following on her blog. I got a little envious of Jackie's rockstar status, so I thought that I too should give into a little narcissism and share my thoughts (because everyone should care about what is on my mind). One observation that I am reminded of daily is how much living in Korea is totally different from anything that she has experienced (yes, even more than California). Aside from embarrassing me in front of my fellow Koreans with her gross lack of cultural knowledge, constantly getting lost within a few blocks, always asking me if Koreans celebrate Halloween and Valentine's Day (for the record, they do not), and making just about every stereotypical generalization about Koreans, Jackie has shown herself to be pretty resilient when it comes to dealing with immense changes.
Her ability to adapt to another culture may not come as a surprise to you. Some of you still have this image of Jackie as this progressive, liberal, cultured, and cosmopolitan person who can wield chopsticks like my family of the Far East. I mean, she certainly seems like your average liberal: openly supports LBGT issues, is an ardent feminist, loves black people (especially Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, and Barack Obama... in that order), and is all about recycling. However, the fact that she is from the midwest is no more apparent than when she is navigating through the streets of Korea. She stands out like a sore thumb (and not because she is blonde and ridiculously good looking either, although I wonder about those oggling stares that she gets from the Korean men...) for reasons beyond her appearance. She has the constant look of amazement of a tourist... you would think that would go away after 2 months. She asks questions such as, "Do Koreans ever eat with forks?" or "Do all Koreans own the latest gadgets?" I am a little disappointed because I thought that California would have at least taught her how to use chopsticks (the old waitresses like to chuckle a bit and hand her a fork as she struggles with the chopsticks).
I realize that my standards for her to become fully assimilated into the Korean culture (every Korean mother-in-law's dream) are quite harsh. I mean, she is making great progress in learning Korean (she knows how to say "Don't do that!" and she uses that phrase often). So I should look on the bright side and thank whatever deity exists (or doesn't exist) that Jackie is living with me and has the opportunity to experience Korea.
This will not be a cultural immersion as it is a cultural drowning (sink or swim, poopy pants)....