Moving to South Korea happened quickly so I didn't have time to research other black women's experiences living in the East Asian country.
I was overwhelmed by all the paperwork and the thought of leaving my old life behind to start a new one.
I have let a few people touch my hair, because I see that it is out of genuine interest.
Perhaps I am guilty of condoning inappropriate behaviour.
During several job interviews, interviewees tried to explain that I would experience culture shock, and that locals would act very surprised to see me.
I was also informed that the food would be very different and that it was really going to be a massive change. I interviewed with the recruiters who were happy and a few days later they called me to tell me the school didn't want to hire black people.
Most locals usually guess “Miguk" which means America and when I say “no, South Africa," they give me a perplexed look.
It's as if they're trying to connect the dots, like, "how did she end up all the way in South Korea." After a slight delay they respond with an “ahhh Africa." On a good day someone will say “ahhh, Nelson Mandela." Which leaves me hopeful; at least someone knows where I'm from.
I first came here as a student in August 2012 and left. The ongoing use of ignorance as an excuse exposes an unending willingness to legitimize inappropriate and ill-informed behaviour.
I was out with my friends (who are foreign) in Seoul once. This is why I have decided to stop dating Korean men. Since arriving in Korea I just wanted to marry a Korean. I'm sorry but in a country with the fastest internet speed; with no censorship laws like China for example and where young people have access to and are obsessed with American and Hip Hop culture.
My friends went in the club, I went somewhere else quickly. It was the only thing on my mind, it felt right to come back. Living in Korea as a black woman, what is that like? More men are interested because we seem more exotic. It's nice to stand out in the Korean dating scene but it feels terrible to be fetishized. It's good mostly but I have experienced some difficulties with a few companies that won't hire you specifically because you are not a white female. But then realised and accepted that I don't qualify in their eyes. I find it really hard to believe that the issue is still ignorance.
I had an interesting encounter at the market in my old hometown in Jeollanamdo, I went to the market to buy some fish from the behind me who was about to touch my hair, her companion hit her hand and must've told her not to in Korean because she didn't end up touching my hair. How does one person ( an elderly person in a small town) know that touching my hair is inappropriate?
I am not going to spend all of my days correcting every single person's behavior, it's tiring.
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