Spicing Things Up (not the Kimchi)

In battling reverse culture shock, beating reverse culture shock, South Korean race incidents, South Korean race issues, V. Michelle Bernard on November 3, 2010 at 8:13 pm

I was lucky to have a diverse group of friends in South Korea.

I’ve been back in the states for almost two months now and am still excited at our diversity, and my ability to easily blend in with the crowd. But, I’m not exploring my community like I did when living in Asia.

One of the first things I noticed in Korea is the ethic homogeneity. It goes without saying that foreigners are easily noticed.

On one of my first weekends living in Gwangju, a city in the southern part of the country, several of my African American friends came to visit. After going out for dinner we caught a seemingly dull cab ride home.

But, for the cab driver, our trip was an exciting event.

She had never seen a black person.

She cranked her head around and stared at Fabrice and Natacha. She began to brush their cheeks to see if the color came off, and kept on pointing to the black ceiling.

We eventually understood that she was excited about their different colored skin.

Not happy about the event, my friends couldn’t believe what had happened.

That cab driver was excited/curious/nosey/ and even rude towards my friends because they were different. (I’m white, something not as exotic in South Korea.) Excited and curious about are obviously good things. I’ll leave the rest alone.

But, her behavior got me wondering how much more would I notice if I was more curious, got more excited when I learned or saw something new? I hope I wouldn’t try to remove the color of people’s skin, but would want to delve deeper into my environment and community.

I don’t want to get complacent now that I’m back with my friends and family in America.

This week’s goal will be to rediscover my community.

Does anyone know of hidden treasures in the D.C. area I should check out?

  1. that's a kwel…if you are going to Korea ,besure to wear some flower in your head..sometimes you could have various experience I 'm glad you hear that you like Korea culture..I'm listening American top 40 songs via youtube..

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