bien arrivée

May 5, 2007

Just a quick post to let everyone know that I arrived safely to Korea. The plane ride was direct from Chicago to Seoul, and therefore the 13 hours actually seemed short in comparison to the 20+ hours it generally takes when transferring through Tokyo Narita. So far, we’ve been busy, but busy having fun playing, eating, and visiting friends and cousins before our friends arrive next Monday. “Real life” (i.e., back to teaching, research, and writing) begins after they leave. We’re making sure to photo document as much as we can, so you can check out the fruit of our efforts here.

Two noteworthy events/observations that are not mentioned on our flickr site: First, for some reason, I’m noticing more so than before that seemingly close to 90% of women in Seoul under 40 have undergone s’sangkapul, or double eyelid surgery. At only between $500-$1000 (compared to over $3,500 in the US) and with all of the social pressure to undergo the procedure (my own mother, for example, has told me that she’d be thrilled if I came back having had it done), it’s no surprise that natural eyelids are rapidly becoming a novelty. Speaking of suffering for beauty, it’s now also possible (and not surprisingly a Korean specialty) to have plastic surgery to obtain slim calves. Those who grew up with me know how much I complain about my own stumpy stems, but actually cutting out the calf muscles? Yikes. [So, if I come back with much bigger eyes and skinny legs, but unable to walk, you’ll know what happened!]

Secondly, the oddest thing happened yesterday in the subway. Matty and I were standing in the train on our way to my cousin’s house. I was holding a medium-sized giftbag and standing in front of a seated middle-aged man, who, after watching Matty and me speak for a bit, suddenly grabbed at my bag, as if he wanted to hold it. I refused and moved away from him. The only explanation we could come up with was that he was likely trying to show Matty (i.e., “whitey”) up by insisting to hold my bag, since no proper Korean man would allow his woman to hold a bag that he himself should have offered to carry. Maybe this wasn’t actually the case, but I have to wonder whether or not he would have done the same thing if Matty was Korean.



  1. oops… I’m reading it now…

  2. Dominica,

    Maybe the man was just a sedentary, lazy purse(bag) snatcher!!


  3. Don’t know if you’re still reading comments on this post but I found it by googling s’sangkapul surgery. And the explanation is that in Korea, people sitting on public transport very often hold packages for those who stand. I found out both ways: by people grabbing my bags when I stood and by people depositing their bags in my lap when I sat. On buses, trains & subways. Had nothing to do with Matty or showing him up.

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