Monday, August 30, 2010

Q & A: Non-white women; Internet hook-up; long flight tips; Marine base in Vietnam; Korean Tuesdays

It's been a long time since I've answered my formspring questions. Sorry to those of you who'd been waiting on an answer.

Do you see colored girls in Korea? Like blacks, Hispanics or mixed girls? I mean I often here stories of Caucasians dating up there but...I'm curious.

I'm not exactly sure what perspective you are coming from (are you a man who wants to hook up with "colored girls" or what?), but I will answer. There are many non-white, non-Korean girls living in Korea. The largest groups I've encountered are Chinese and Filipina students and African-American and Hispanic soldiers. In the English teaching community, they are about proportional to what you would find among college grads from the seven countries eligible for E-2 visas, except that there is about a 70/30 male/female ratio and a much higher percentage of people with any Korean blood within that teacher community compared to a normal population. I come from a very, very diverse part of America, so I tend to think the foreign English teacher community is not very diverse (mostly white, middle class). However, people from less diverse areas think that the expat teaching community is very diverse. So I guess it depends on your perspective. If you actively seek out non-white women, you will find them, but I seriously doubt you will be impressed by the number of them you find (except in certain areas of very large cities). I will say that in Korea, more of my non-Korean friends were white than anywhere else I've lived/worked in my life except during college.

My husband is thinking of going to South Korea to be a teacher, I was wondering how long it took you to get internet hooked up in your apartment?

Your husband wants to go to South Korea, and the only question you have is about length of time for internet hookup? You have some restraint, m'dear. Depending on which service you choose and how well supported you are at your school by the teachers who take care of these things, it could take between 3 days and 2 weeks from the time people start asking around. However, in my first apartment, internet was already set up. In my second apartment, Min Gi shopped around for good deals for about a week and then found one and a week later, I had internet. In the last apartment, we transferred the contract from the second apartment, and I think I was without internet for only a day or two. South Korea prides itself on being the most wired country in the world. It's not for nothing.

How did you deal with the long flight over there? I want to travel but I hate to fly. Any tips for getting through it?

I like to deprive myself of sleep and fatty foods for the 36 hours prior to takeoff. I sleep better on the plane that way, and sleep so well the first night that I usually only experience mild jet lag after. On the plane itself, I read, listen to music, doze off, get up and walk around/stretch, play with the in-flight entertainment center, and always ask for at least 2 cups of water when they come around and offer. Sometimes I find the free red wine helps me zonk out even more quickly, but be careful about hydration. Planes are nastily drying environments.

Are there any remains of the Marine base at Marble Mountain???

I was not specifically looking for the Marine base at the Marble Mountains in Vietnam. However, I recall there was a marker for the lookout point the Americans used and the platform was there and my motorcycle taxi driver mentioned the base (he was a South Vietnamese soldier during that time). The effects of war there struck me more in the extreme shell damage to the temple sites and ancient carvings.

I remember reading how you and your husband speak English at home and every Tuesday it is Korean language day. So now that you are coming back to America, will you do a language swich-a-roo to keep in practice? I would think speaking Korean back in the US [would be helpful].

As you recall correctly, we usually speak English at home and for awhile we were doing Korean on Tuesdays. Right before I left Korea, Min Gi was in hardcore English study mode because he hopes to be able to work and function comfortably in his new country, so my Korean studies were sadly neglected. Currently, we are in separate countries, so I am not speaking much Korean at all these days, with him or anyone else. We will probably speak English at first in America because we are going to stay with my parents, and it is a little rude to speak another language around people who don't understand it when everyone is perfectly capable of communicating in the host's language. I would like to re-start the Korean Tuesdays when we are set up in our own house and then perhaps increase it to 2-3 days a week, as my Korean studies pick up more and I grow my skills.

That's all the formspring for now, but feel free to ask me a question anytime. I'm less crazy stressed now that the move to the U.S. is about 50% complete, so I should get to answering them faster.


  1. Diana- I've been a regular reader, but I'm not sure I've commented before. Anyway. I must have missed something, did you say when Min Gi is coming and why you came first? I can't imagine being so far away from my husband for long :(

    I remember reading earlier you were looking for a place to live - a place I found when looking earlier this summer was Northlake Apartments in Germantown. My situation changed and I didn't end up moving, but it looked pretty decent. 1-2 bedrooms were 1100-1250, I believe.

    Good luck with adjusting to life back here.

  2. Hi amy,

    It is tough. We planned it this way so that I could look for work and have a job or a good lead when he comes over, and he is taking care of all the apartment-moving paperwork stuff that comes with an international move back in Korea. He was also going to stay until Chuseok in Korea (the big holiday in fall), but we had an issue with the timing of his visa, so he has to come two weeks before Chuseok. We miss each other a lot, of course, but we're both insanely busy with transition stuff that it's ok.

    As for apartments, I don't want to move until I have a job. Unfortunately, apartments make you sign one year leases, so I don't want to move to Germantown (or somewhere) and then get a job in Alexandria or Waldorf or Hagerstown. Thanks for the lead and for reading!



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