Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Better than Busan! Our Weekend at Jumunjin Beach (주문진해변)

Two weeks ago, a friend invited me to go to the beach. This beach was called Jumunjin (주문진), which is located on the east coast of South Korea, in Gangneung City in the Gangwon Province (강원도 강릉시).

Jumunjin Beach
I had always heard that the beaches on the east coast of Korea were better, but I hadn't gone to the east coast at that point. Now that I've been, I can safely say that I also agree with that statement. If you're looking for nice beaches in Korea, but haven't checked out the east coast, then you're really missing out!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My God They're Bold: Frustrations with Korean Boys and Their Solicitations for Sex

25th birthday. A day or night out with "friends" can easily lead to disaster.
One Sunday evening a couple of months ago, I met with a potential language exchange partner. I wanted to practice using Korean, but the course I was taking ended, and wasn't going to start up again for several months at least.

We met at an ice cream parlor. He told me that he had lived in America for awhile, and we were interested in the same TV shows. I thought we had hit it off. He could help me.

Not too long later, he started making comments, suggesting that I "must be popular" and he asked me whether I had a boyfriend. He began pestering me about coming over his place to cook dinner sometime. When I told him that I didn't know him well enough, he became pushy about it. "Then, I'll come over to your place." 

I let him know that also wasn't acceptable. I wanted to only meet him in public places. He quickly became frustrated. He told me that it was okay, nothing would happen. I didn't have a boyfriend, so why did it matter?

By then, what he was looking for was clear. I bluntly told him that I wasn't looking for sex. I wanted a language exchange partner.

"What?? No, that wasn't what I wanted!! You're crazy!"

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Time a Korean Man Followed Me Home

At the King Sejeong Museum by Seoul City Hall. Usually these things happen to me when I'm away from home.

That night, about three weeks ago, I was walking to my apartment with two coworkers, both of whom had decided to do some evening shopping at the local food mart. I was only a block away and didn't need anything, so I continued on to our street.

As I turned the corner, I walked by several drunk men in their late twenties or early thirties.  One of them called out "Helllo! Helllo!" I ignored him and kept walking.

When I was just a few steps from my apartment building, I realize that one of these men is following me. I had already felt exhausted from a long day's work, so I became frustrated. Thinking that he would probably go away, I walked by my building and into a convenience store. I come out and he's magically reemerges. I walk to the food mart. He ducks around the corner and waits for me to come out.

I didn't want this man to see where I lived, nor did I want him to catch me in a secluded area. Very bad things have happened to women in these situations, so I try to be careful and do my best to keep aware of what's going on around me.

That man followed me as I kept walking around the block and eventually he got tired, instead asking me for my phone number. I shook my head and circled the block again. I had finally made it to my apartment safely. I have been followed, groped, violated and flashed before in Korea, but this was different. None of these things had happened so close to home. And that was the scary part.