Thursday, May 31, 2007

Thursday afternoon with Kyung-Jin

Kyung-Jin seems a bit calmer about the whole visa thing today, although she still hasn't made up her mind. We had a nice chat, though, about our normal miscellany of topics:

  • The tensions in Canada between our Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the often different beliefs of immigrants
  • Institutional policies about homosexuality. Kyung-Jin was shocked to learn that same-sex marriage is legal in Canada and that universities have policies in place to create an inclusive environment for people of every orientation. In Korea, talking about your orientation just isn't done.
  • The difference between project (a set course of action) and project (an image, a film, your voice)
  • Why we say "I'll meet you at the YMCA" and not "I'll meet you in the YMCA"
  • The way that we sometimes use the present tense as a future tense- this one confused her. For example, the present tense phrase "my visa expires" functions as future tense when you add "in July." Some languages don't have a future tense at all, and you can see how they'd pull it off
  • Certain phrases that are out of style. For example, "I'm psyched", "That's groovy" and "Wicked!"
  • Cultural norms about beauty/ desirability. Did you know that a tall ugly guy in Korea could get a wife more easily than a short good looking one? Apparently height is the ultimate determining factor. Here, not so much, unless you're like me and are tall and don't want to do the whole Nicole Kidman & Tom Cruise thing. Kyung-Jin was also shocked at how tall my cousins are. Apparently being 6'8" is almost incomprehensible for someone who grew up in Seoul
Before and after our session, I managed to write a few more pages of the thesis. I've got two pages left until I'm done the chapter, but it's such a nice day out (and everyone just left for the afternoon) that I think I'm going to head home and run some errands while it's still nice outside. Why bother living in Halifax if I'm not going to enjoy it?


Purple Mangos said...

I knew about the height thing in Korea. When MotivatedTea and I were there (on tour), he was the only almost-6-foot redhead in sight, especially because we weren't in any of the touristy areas of Korea but were where people actually work and live. They also liked me for my size (our host families said they expected Canadians would be "larger") and because my hair is brown and wavy, which was in fashion at the time but hard to get with Korean hair.

Melissa said...

Kyung-Jin is so cute about hair. She hates that a lot of Korean women want to look more Western by dyeing their hair lighter, and refuses. She's such a little free spirit! I was surprisingly not gawked at much in Japan, even though I lived in a city with about 25 foreigners; I think it was mostly because I have dark hair, and so I'm not so immediately conspicuous. My friend Dave, however, got chased down the street by teenage girls. Go figure!