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First Sunrise of 2016

30 Jan
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Mr and Mrs Kim: the Wedding

13 Jul

I’ve decide to profile my boyfriend brother and his new wife. There are so many customs that go with getting married and starting a family that I thought why not get a nitty gritty look at it first hand.

! Before reading this you should know I have a terribly cynical view of most old world Korean ideas and of all weddings and ajummas (middle age Korean women) both prejudices I am working on toning down but its a work on progress.

First things first!

When the happy couple decide to get married they must first goto her parents house and ask permission. Then if all is well head over to his parents house. From what
I’ve seen sometimes (and usually) the parents don’t meet the girl or man in question until one  or two times before the man plans on asking permission to marry. My boyfriends brothers wife only met her future mother in law twice. Once by accident after her son told her he was too busy to come and visit her and she saw them in Seoul near a subway stop and the other to tell her they were getting married.

After the inital drama the parents finally meet. Usually on neutral territory~ my bf family is from Paju(near the DMZ) and her family is from Daegu(near the middle of Korea) so they met at a restaurant in Seoul. Because my bf is the oldest son he was expected to go as he is “head” of his house. Together the parents (not the bride and groom) decide what day is best for the families as well as where the couple will honeymoon and live after. It may seem old fashioned but key money ~ the deposit money for an apartment is a very big strain for young people as most key money deposits are between 20-40,000,000 ₩. More on key money in a later post. So now that the parents have decided the fate and life plan of the couple its time for the normal stuff.

I’ve never heard of a Korean save the date card~ I think word of mouth is cheaper. But as an ex member of the hospitality I find Korean weddings missing alot of the pomp and circumstance of American weddings. Even though the wedding industry is huge is Korea you don’t see the extras like elaborate invites gift bags ~ everything is simple and straight forward. In my opinion its not treated as a big celebration its treated as an event everyone will go through. To say every Korean is expected to get married ( and more or less produce a baby is those following months) is not an overstatment. I’ve even heard women tell me the biggest contrubution they can make to society is giving birth~ likewise I’ve heard men/huabands are basically ATMs and sperm donors. But I digress~

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Above is one of the snaps from my bf brothers wedding shoot~ theres are a ton more from my friend Jeesuks on the facebook page . Basically the bride wears a ton of different dresses in a ton if different settings. Most of his brothers were inside the studio and Jeesoks were in the studio with tons of props(an old moped, the front have of a car, etc.) . I was completely baffled by why you would want pictures wearing your wedding dress!? ITS BAD LUCK PEOPLE!!! But again different culture~ the idea is that the couple has a wedding album at their wedding… o_O your wedding album at your wedding… whatever~ not my style.

As I mentioned the wedding invites are nothing to shout about and are literally given to everyone last person the couple and their parents know, they’re usually white, girly and if I heard correctly I think you can buy them generically from the venue. My biggest complaint about Korean weddings is the pre- packaged- ness. Also your supposed to invite everyone – literally EVERYONE in your address book and extended family. Usually it pays off^^. I always thought you invited every to share the special day but apparently its to pay for it. After his brothers wedding I found out his mom made 10,000,000 from it!!! Which leads me to gifts.

If your going to a Korean wedding you’ve got to bring a cash gift. Always over 30,000(which is considered really low and kind of cheap) and an uneven number~ 30-50-70 etc.

The cash gift like so many other gifts in Korean society are seen as a returned investment. Which is why at the wedding ceremony there are two desks setup~ one for brides guests and one for the grooms. After giving a white envelope of money the envelope taker gives a color coded paper the guest then give the paper to the waiter or attendant at the buffet. (see below picture)

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Prior to the event starting the bride is dolled up and placed in a very elaborately decorated room and made to sit in a giant chair. You can take lots of pictures with the bride. As you can see she look absolutle adorable!
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After the event is finish and before the happy couple depart for their packaged honeymoon the bills must be paid. Each family pays for their guests and if your guests have been extra generous then you pocket their kindness. About 700 people ate at their wedding~ when I asked how many people saw the wedding he said maybe half that. As usual the most important part of the event was the food not the ceremony which is basically an elaborative civil ceremony.
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There was a private traditional part that was great the watch where super bitter tea was drunk, jujubees were tossed and other promienent couples were supposed to give the couple advice (myself and my boyfriend included o_O). Below are some snaps from that~
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Like I said the ceremony is relatively boring but its held in a place that looks like a nightclub flowershop.

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His sister in laws friends did a k- pop dance to Psys ” Gentleman” which left everyone squealing (eye roll) and asking me if I wanted to have the same thing ~ unfortunately for his family I hate that crap here and elsewhere~ although Id love to see it in an Indian Wedding too. Also the serenading (double eye roll). Because my bf is the oldest its considered not very good that his brother was married before him. His mom said it made their family look ” broken”~ honey I can think of alot more things worst than that. But old ladies will be old ladies and all of her noisy country friends accosted us throughout the ceremony regarding when we were getting married and where. Good grieve! Far away from you! I wouldn’t mind them so much but they know I’m not fluent and they laugh at me when I can’t answer them~ its fecking rude. We’ve got a plan which is none of you damn business you intrusive old raisin now leave me alone. But naturally you smile alot and don’t say any of that. More often than not if you are brought by your boyfriend to that kind of event your considered a public couple. I didn’t see my attendence as a big deal but when I was called out to stand with the couple, his parents and him in the grooms picture there was a noticeable hush in the crowd. Jerks~ then even more people came up to us not asking but looking and laughing this time jibber jabbering in Korean. I know theyre not rude people and they just didnt know any better but I was still really embarassed and didnt enjoy being laughed at. Needless to say I thought every last one of them was a massive uncultured ass-hat. Another annoying thing that left me pretty furious was when his mom didnt give the bride and groom the difference in the food cost and the cash gift- which would have been nice for them to take on their honeymoon or put down on an apartment which I knewbthey were struggling to find. It was explained to me that his mom has given or would be giving money at the weddings of these attendees(her friends) children. My brain was spinning and I was beyond angry~ I still dont understand why a gift can just be a freakin gift~ everythings got to be a full circle.

Later after enjoying the banquet meal with his family after all the guests had left the couple went off on their honeymoon to Maui when they drove around a Mustang convertible in true American fashion and snorkeled their little hearts out ♥♥♥
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PS~ Fun fact Korean women don’ take their husbands names- no idea why and don’ t really care!

Jebu-do: Sexy by the Sea

13 Jul

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Jebu is this great little island about 1-2 hours from Seoul. You can only visit when the tide is low. There are a plethora of cheap seafood restaurants and love motels for the stranded couples ^^

Trick Eye FUN!!!

24 Mar

Yesterday I spent an awesome day in Hongdae at the Trick Eye Muesum here are just some of the photos

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and here is a handy map to the museum. Its a little tricky as its in a basement of a build.

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Baseball Season is BAAAAAAACK!!!

24 Mar

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How to Eat a Persimmon

28 Feb

During the Lunar New Year holiday I had a revelation! Korea desserts are usually fruits… rocked my world. I’ve always thought of fruit as a snack, but after eating three BIG bowls of Dukguk laced with massive mandoos and having a giant pear or some apples was perfect ending to a great dinner. I digress (as usual)- so! The Persimmon is a 70 calorie delicious super sweet super fruit. The best comparsion is that it looks like a tomato and unripe it feels like a hard apple? The key is to get them while their green is what Im told. Wait about one week or less and when they start to turn bright orange and slightly soft either freeze them from another day or put then in a bowl or a tray in your refridgerator. If you choose to freeze them its easy peasy. Just shove them into a plastic bag and toss em in the freezer. When you want to eat them just an fyi it takes a out two hour to partial thaw. It will give you a great sherbety or pudding consistancy. If you wait any long you’ll be drink a persimmon shake- which isn’t really that bad. DON’T FORGET: watch for the big seeds (usually about 4-5), the skin isn’t that tasty so avoid it if you can and finally this is a mess fruit – be careful and patient or you’ll look like you hit in the face by a tomato!
Step 1: Defrost fruit (2 hours)

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Step 2: Gently slice open the fruit.

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Step 3: Pick out the skin and seeds if possible.

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Step 4: VOILA! Persimmon pudding and a delicious 70 calorie dessert!

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New Year in Korea

3 Jan

After getting back from Seattle I had a full day of work then picked up my dog from the sitter and hauled ass to Seoul National University to catch my bus to Jeongsongjin. I recently discovered meetup.com and have gone to a couple of meetups where I went snowboarding, ice skating and now to the East Sea to watch the first sunrise of the new year. The organizer had gotten a deal on some tickets- similar to the group on deals in the states. We were in a standard coach loaded with university students and moms with their kids. We left at 11:00pm and it took us about 4 hours to get there including the one rest break. When parked about a 30 minute walk outside of Jeongdongjin since it was still early everyone sleot on the bus till 5am when they kicked us off and pointed us in the direction of town. In the dark there we were walk on the side of the road with TONS of poorly parked cara on either side of the road along with more cars trying to squeeze thru. Jeongdongjin is a cute place with a few quirky building – the life sized pirate ship coffee shop and the ocean liner resort hotel perched on the cliff. If your coming to see the sunrise, word is you want to be on the right side of the cliff with the ocean liner resort on it. There is a huge rock which everyone goes to stand on but the cops were kicking everyone off right as I goto the gate. The sunrise happened for a second so I just saw a sliver of the it so maybe next year. After that I had to hussle back for the bus which was leaving at 8:30am it took me an hour to get back due to the like minded crowds. At one point I looked over and saw a 13 year old fall off the edge of the road luckly the beach was what he fell into… you should have heard the grasps of the ajummas- a collective “OOOOOOOOOHH!!!”… haha then about 10 other boys did the same. Finally I reached the bus 10 minutes late… and there were only two other people. We finally pushed off around 9:15am then went to this sheep farm which at the time I could havae cared less about but it was actually really cool and gorgeous… still sooooo cold !!! Due to my poor choice in clothing it also meant I was slipping and falling on my ass all the way around the ridge but still a good way to kill an hour. Between traffic and the snow it took us 5 hours to get to Seoul. Good times tho. Ah! On a side note my pipes froze by the time Id gotten home. Word to the wise leave your heat on low and you bathroom tap trickling.

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