Cheesy, Fat, Selfish Stereotypes

Gossip girl life, Mcdonald and KFC everyday, you are looser if you don’t have Apple stuff,low cut shirt girls .etc.

What am I talking about?

These are the fat, juicy stereotypes that people had and have on Americans-more specifically, white Americans. Past three summers that I had in the Unites States, I have been consistently participating in the Intercultural Communication class at UMD. It is the best, unique class you cannot meet any other school. As you can tell from the name of the class, it has its focus on helping student communicate inter-culturally. Little bit about the class, it is provided in the fall semester and summer session. Usually total number of the class goes up til 35-40. At the registration period, only half the class is white American and other half are culturally-diverse students from different countries or cultures. Fun of this class is it does not require any textbook material nor boring memorizing information type of exams but ask each student to go on “dates”. This date asks one-on-one hangout time minimum two hours at least 5 times. After you hangout with peers from different cultures what you need to do is to video record for three minutes about what you learned about the person.

First few days there is little tension around the room because it is dang SO hard to come out from comfort zone and just walk to the person who look different from you and ask to hang out with you. There are so many reasons that it is hard besides it just needs a lot of gut itself, for example, different skin color or the appearance immediately brings us specific stereotypes on the person. As soon as I see white skin people in the class, it is hard to not assume they would like mc and cheese, have Netflix account and owe nothing but dozen pairs of black leggings. We, human beings, are so arrogant and indifferent, we assume others with a single story or just a tiny fragment of information on the culture. Some we are well acknowledged of but some we do with not even recognizing it. So that is the first thing we do in class for couple weeks. For an hour and half, we throw any stereotypes either we heard, saw or thought about the cultures. And then the people who are from the culture talks what they think about the stereotypes that was thrown. It is not to offend or attack anyone but to let everyone realize the prejudice and discriminate against many-sometimes stupid-stereotypes.

So as for the very first class discussion time we talked about white American stereotypes. Many were negatives including common image of giant,fat people sitting down at the Mcdonald gobbling two Mcchickens and coke with french fries. As for the country that is king of fast food, there were lots of criticism on greasy, salty,high calories and cholesterol condensed processed food culture. Also, one guy from Ethiopia threw a questions whether they-white americans- think western’s individualistic culture is better than eastern family-oriented culture. This question was driven from the thought that they are so independent from the family and have their own boundaries. From some cultures that are familiar with hugging, smiling, kissing on the cheek as an expression of greet, such as Peru, Oromia,etc, american’s protected life that usually do not allow others touching them or if do, considered as sexually attracted interest is very odd and weird.

Before I came to United States, I also learned in the class the difference of cultures in western cultures and eastern cultures. One of the biggest different is family tie or bond between people. Asians flock together especially it is pretty common to live with parents even after they get married because it is one of the way to show respect. Also it is from the thought they had since they are child that it is now themselves who need to take the responsibilities of their parents who raised them and fed them whole life. However, as soon as white Americans graduate college, they become another individual who don’t belong to the family that much. It is assumed normally that the person move out when they turn 20 or even early. But what I have seen is quite different. It is true that many white american friends move out when they are considered as adult, but it is because they are ready to start their own life, sometimes create new family they belong as different role not because they don’t belong to their parents. Moreover, seeing many of my friends getting married right after college, I could feel the desire for creating family of their own which means they prioritize family than their works or jobs.

We were able to talk freely about what we think about other cultures because the classroom is the safe place. We understand it is not to attack anyone but to face the reality and understand each other better by taking and getting rid of stereotypes that cause many problems in our society. There were so many things we talked about other than couple I put up on this post but I just want to make it clear that no one knows everything in the world. Even we spent almost two hours talking about the one culture and 35 college kids sharing opinions and their stories, it does not tell everything about the race or the culture. Stereotypes exist because of the reason but also it reinforces the negative side which is not necessary.

Before we complain about the unpleasant stereotypes from people and rather saying rude words back, we are on the phase to act more civilized human being. Being humble and just take single story as a single story. You cannot judge one unless you have met everyone, EVERYONE in the culture and experienced everything there.

You there! Want to vote?

Vote! ( Click <- to go to UMD student voting article)

As a person who even haven’t gotten a real chance to vote for own country,it was very thrilling to see so many volunteers were pushing peers to vote for their future. In Korea, voting age is 20 and as soon as I turned 20, ironically I had to come United States to study abroad. Since I came here, timing hasn’t worked with the elections.

However, while interviewing more than 10 random students on a hallway, I was surprised how many are also not interested in changing their world in to a better place.

Watching all the movie parody youtube video clips and playing games are not time consuming but researching election date and candidates’ information is wasting time, which is such a sad reality in current society shaped by next generation that will lead the world. This one guy who stopped by was not interest in voting but wanted to check out pretty girl tabling.

 So much extreme could be already seen and I do not want to expect the huge gap our world will have soon.

 

Oh my! I was on American TV!

16:40 International Club

Guest Speaker to announce 46th Annual Feast Of Nations. In previous posts, I covered details of the event so you could check the post to get idea why this is such a big deal in Duluth.

It wasn’t just another club on campus, it was another stepping stone as a bridge to united school, society and the world.

Does raw tofu freaks you out?

tofu-main
Picture from http://www.bostonmagazine.com

“I get freaked out by raw tofu”

“Raw Tofu? Why?”

“Because it is just like moving everywhere! ugh”

Very interesting conversation I had with my summer roommate. It all started from watching Bizarre foods in the world with Andrew Zimmern. He was eating octopus ice cream and rotten tofu sandwich. He even spit it back since he could not handle the taste. My roommate who have never watched the show before questioned if there is any food that he actually likes or is he only eating the food he does not like. Well, in the show there are some cuisines that he really likes but not every time. At least he is being honest I guess.

For some people raw tofu is another healthy, tasty food while it is one of uncomfortable, weird food to some people. Longer I stay in United States more I feel that it is not just something about culture but personal differences shaped by environment.

Before, I have met people who do not eat specific meat because of their personal belief and religions. However, recently I have found out there are people who feels closer to chicken and pork than beef for no reason.

“I have never tried beef”

What? How is that even possible?

She is born in vegetarian family and has been grown by thinking that steak is something that human should not eat.

As an advocates of providing steak, I did not know how to continue conversation since the person has such a strong opinion on eating meat. It is personal preference and choice on deciding what to eat and what not to eat but cannot force others to follow their lifestyle. Sometimes I found myself receiving all those flyers from vegetarian corporation trying to pursue consuming meat. Most of the time those flyers are filled with disgusting pictures of half cut animals bleeding everywhere. It is very disturbing and makes me lose appetite but very inappropriate way that do not convince me at all.

There are lots of stories to tell about experiencing meeting vegetarian since my very first roommate is from India who does not eat beef for a religious belief. Later she became a vegetarian after watching video clip with brutal treatment on animals. At first I had stereotype on vegetarians that they do not like meat. But it is not true. My Indian roommate also enjoys mock chicken nugget from Pizza Luce and mock chicken wings. I admire those commitments since I cannot never imagine myself not eating meat less than once a week.

My other Indian friend has different story. He loves steak. Couple of weeks ago he even asked me to go Texas Roadhouse for steak. In Intercultural Communication Class and in Interpersonal Communication Class he mentioned that lots of people choose their life style based on religious in India and condemn others who eat beef. However, he does not totally agree with it and does not agree on not eating steak will make society better or show respects on religion.

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20140722_154805 My Indian friend Pranav eating steak. Steak & Chicken –

 

Like I mentioned in other posts, the way person behave is not only shaped by culture but also the environment the person was grown in.

Also I think will is the most important thing that sets beliefs and lifestyle. No matter what culture or family you are born in, if you try to open your mind and overcome lots of challenges by confronting differences, you became open minded with broad perspective.

Conclusion of today; I like raw tofu and steak both :)

 

K-Woman VS. Food

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Delicious cheese onion burger and the chicken wing is grilled at the background.

저번주 목요일 우리는 하우스파티겸 바베큐 파티를 했다. 비가 억수로 오던 날, 영문 모를 누군가가 또는 바람이-아니겠지만 앞마당에 있는 그릴 뚜껑을 가져간 후 돌려주지 않는 바람에 우리는 옆집의 그릴을 잠시 *빌려야* 했다.

왜 갑자기 뜬금없는 바베큐 파티냐는 질문에 나는 글쎄, 좋은 고기와 좋은 사람 들이 그리웠던 거였을까 라는 대답뿐 할 말이 없었다.

각자가 먹고싶은 음식을 조금씩 가져와 그릴에 구웠다. 시작부터 조금 예민한 잠에서 덜 꺤 상태 여서 였을까 도와주지 않고 윗사람 처럼 서서 보기만 하던 몇 사람들이 얄미워 머리 끝까지 투덜거림으로 가득 차 있었다.

소시지가 구워져 가고 햄버거 패티가 지글지글 익어갈때 시원한 맥주가 꿀꺽꿀꺽 넘어갔다.

한국가는 다른 스탠딩 스타일. 한국에서의 바베큐 파티였다면 어땟을까-

너무나 익숙한 초록색 병들이 박스채 있고 피쳐 맥주명이 가득했겠지. 어쩜 한국은 술문화까지도 통일 시켜놧을까.

Last Thursday we had our first BBQ semi-house warming party. Not that I imagined gossip girl scene will be happening in my life exactly, but there was a slight of expectation on American house warming BBQ party. When we have a house warming party in Korea we usually don’t involve alcohol but lots of home made food. But since it was an American style gathering I didn’t have to prepare any food which was so convenient to me. BYOB how good culture it is!
After we finished grilling sausages, burger patties, onions and chicken wings, like we planned we circled around the couch and watched TV. Guess what TV program we watched?
It was Man vs. Food!
One girl threw a question why we are watching TV when eating food. And surprisingly, others gave perfect answer. To encourage ourselves to devour and enjoy food more we watch this man eating huge amount of food in the processed program. It satisfies one of our fundamental need by filling our actual tummy and by watching unreal image through media. Such an interesting point of view but makes sense right?

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Korean Kimchi pancake with rice and .. Man vs. Food

Anyhow, the other day I tried again if that actually is true. I prepared a nice meal for myself and watched Man vs. Food again. On the show it was showing big fat juicy burger patty and while I was admiring the fatness of it I realized that my meal is all gone. Conclusion I got was that watching another person eating food does encourage me eating but unconsciously. The next thought popped up in my head was ‘ this might be the easiest and most effective way of gaining weight’. 

Lots of Korean women struggle to lose weights when they are totally normal. Lots of them view them chubbier than their actual appearance. We could found this more frequently from Asian women since most of women I have talked to for 20 years in Korea said so and lots of Chinese and Indian women could be another references.  

World famous models and Korean celebrities prioritize skinny body shape rather than healthy fit glamorous  shape. I personally do not agree with this. Not because I have little bit of ‘extra sexiness’ on my body but because of the belief  having confidence and having healthy mindset should be priority of person. Few years ago when I first got here I was considered as tiny when in Korea I was just ok. Now I look healthy in United States but in Korea I will be considered as chubby or fat. Funny story, last summer I visited Korea for like a month and when I arrived in the airport my mother did not recognized me first and screamed shortly in shock. Lots of Korean students who spend whole summer in Korea tend to lose weight when they come back to school. Reason could be explained by  huge relations with diets in Korea and difference style of food but also because of our society’s social stereotype. Appearance is very important and sometimes regarded as a priority in Korean society. If someone is chubby or ugly, they get unfair treatment from company or co-workers. It is really unfair and nonsense judging someone by appearance but in the society I came from is like that.

It is sad and hopefully sometime in the future people learn the importance is not in outside but in inside.

I will talk more about beauty standard in other time with another post.

Long story short; BBQ with friends taste better than eating by myself. :)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Red,Yellow and Green? – First time driving ever.

인간은 일어나지도 않은 일들을 먼저 걱정하며 더 많은 스트레스를 자신에게 선물한다. 낙관적이기로 유명한, 오히려 그래서 가끔은 생각이 부족할때가 있는 나 자신에게 최근 엄청난 집중적 스트레스가 밀려왔었다. 

나에게 새로 주어진 최고난도의 집중력을 필요로 헀던, 

한순간 눈깜빡하면 오늘의 내가 더이상 지구에 존재하지 않을 수도 있는 무시무시한 순간-

운전. 

22년간 차를 탄 시간들만 합쳐도 엄청날 것이고, 아주 짧은 시간부터 오랜시간까지, 훌륭한 운전자부터 아주 막무가내 운전자의 험한 차까지, 교통수단에서 바퀴달린 것들은 아주 오랜시간 내 곁에 있었다. 

사실 한국에 있을 때에는 교통수단이 너무 잘 되있어서 차의 필요성을 거의 느끼지 못했다. 게다가 우리나라에서는 운전면허를 만 19 이상이 되어야 딸 수 있기에 그 전에는 꿈도 못꿧구. 

그런데 여기서는 15살 이상되면 운전 면허 수업을 학교에서 가르쳐 주고 면허를 딸 수 있게 해준다니.. 엄청난 문화충격이 아닐 수 없었다. 솔직히 아직도 웃으며 이해못하는것이 운전면허는 15살 이상부터, 대학도 18살부터, 다닐수 있고, 투표도 할 수 있고, 알바도 15이상부터 할 수 있는데 술을 마시는 것은 21살 인지. 규제가 강해지면 달콤함이 배로 늘어나서 오히려 더 위험이 증가 될 텐데. 

아무튼 그거는 술 포스팅을 위해 남겨두기로 하고, 다시 운전면허로 돌아와서, 어떤 한국인 교수님들은 Research Assistant 나 Teaching Assistant 를 뽑을 떄 운전면허 여부를 묻는 다고도 한다. 운전을 할 수 있다는 것이 순발력과 어떠한 특정 요구 사항을 만족 시킨 다는 거다. 매우 흥미롭다. 

그때까지만 해도 나는 코웃음 쳤는데 불과 하루전 와장창 그 생각이 깨졌다. 

처음 핸들을 잡은 것은 2014년 눈이 어느정도 쌓였고 녹기만을 기다리던 4월쯤 ( 여기는 미네소타…) 좋은 친구 Shawn 을 졸라 운전연습을 하게 된 때이다. 무슨 생각인지 모르겠지만 Shawn 은 꾸불한 산길을 내가 운전하게 자비를 베풀어 주었다. 차가 많이 다니지 않는 한적한 길이라 엄청 떨리지는 않았지만 눈이 쌓인 빙판길이라는 점에 매우 불안했었다. 아무튼 그때 무사히 살아 돌아온 후 이번 여름 삼개월전, 6월초에 나는 필기 시험을 당당히 합격했다.

컷트라인이 80점이었는데 시험치기 전 20분 빡시게 공부하고 아주 멋지게 80점을 받았다. 눈을 의심해서 점수를 다시 확인했다. 오랜만에 느끼는 환희였다. 인터네셔널이라는 장애? 를 갖고 치는 시험은 뭐든 안 쉬운 것 같다. 

실기 시험준비를 위해  Skye 라는 친구의 바이오연료 차로 주차 연습을 했었다. 그렇게 센서티브 한 차는 처음이었다. 하긴 뭐 겨우 두번째 핸들 잡아보는 거니 뭐 더 그렇게 느꼈던 거였을 수도 있다.  그때 느낀점은 평행 주차는 정말 .. 왠만하면 피하고 싶다는 거다. 

그리고 어제! James 오빠의 차를 운전하고 드디어! superone 까지 갔다가 boulder ridge 까지 갔다. 몇번 앞의 차들의 간담을 서늘하게 만든 적이 있었지만 ( 나 자신의 머릿속 까지도…) 무사히 아주 무사히 즐겁게 돌아왔다. 

운전이라는 것이 보조석이나 뒷자리에 있을떄는 80km/h 도 그저 그런 것같은데 내가 운전대를 잡으니 30 km/h 조차도 굉장히 빠르게 느껴지는 거였다. 

이렇게 몇번만 더 연습하면 highway 도 탈 수 있을 것 같은 이 자신감! 아 그래도 운전- 아무나 하는 거 아니다 …

어서 빨리 나의 driver license 의 사진을 당당히 올릴 날이 기대된다 히힣.

Humans gift themselves lots of stresses by worrying ahead of something that has not happened yet. Known as optimistic, so even lack of profound thought, I recently had so much intensive stress.

The tast that needed the maximum concentration,
At one moment, me living today might not be existing in earth anymore-
Driving.
Counting total hours of being with transportation especially those have wheels, it will be countless in 22 years of my life.

Frankly speaking, I barely felt the need of car since high quality of transportation in Korea. Moreover, it is legal to get driver license above 20 years old which was a pie in the sky to young teenager.

However, it couldn’t be more of a culture shock to know that it is legal and common to get driver license when you turn 15…
To be honest, I still cannot understand why drinking age is 21 when voting age, going to college age, getting part-time job age and driving age all start from 15. In personal opinion, stronger regulation has twice sweetness which will also increase danger.

Anyway I will leave that for another posting, back to driver licence, some Korean professors ask status of the license when hiring Resesarch Assistant or Teaching Assitant. According to them, the ability of driving meets some specific requirements and tell improvisation skills. Very intersting.

Actually I laughed at that time. But it all got crashed yesterday.

First time I grabbed handle was in spring one day when we were all waiting snow to be melt ( it is Minnesota here..). My good friend Shawn let me drove his car. It was a little bit deep up the mountain where not many traffic is which relaxed me but also very nervouse because of snow. Anyhow, we came back alive and three months ago I passed a written test.
Cutline score was 80 and I got exactly 80 after studying 20 minutes before the test. With an obstacle name International , every test is not easy.

For actual driving test, I had practice with my friend with her bio engine car. From that day I hated parallel parking like most of people do.
AND yesterday! I drove my another friend James’ car to Superone and Boulder Ridge. I probably scared couple of cars infront of me ( even my head) but I really had lots of fun and back safe.

When I am seating at the back or at ‘shotgun’ seat, 80km/h does not seem so fast but when handdle is in my hand, even 30km/h felt very speedy.

driving
Shawn’s car

Ah- driving- a long way to go…
I can’t wait to post my driver license!

Am I American enough?

 

Hooray!  It is the day that our country got free! wait, today is not August 15?

For 20 years, August 15 has been an only independence day I have known. However, two years ago I got another independence day to celebrate.

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‘Three different density of vitamin waters will make different color levels’ theory and it worked!
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Turkey meat burger with veggies and delicious spicy cheese dip

Hailey, my friend Shawn’s sister made amazing spicy cheese dip with meat inside. Even though I don’t like chips that much, I couldn’t stop eating the dip sauce with it. It was perfect typical fun family holiday that I imagined. Barbecue grill filled with firing sausages and patties, fresh tomatoes, celery, onions, other veggies, and home made s’more chocolate cupcake made me gaining little holiday weight that I haven’t gotten for a while.

 

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Sitting all together on camping chair like a family! :)

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Dave Weddel, Shawn’s father owns boat and jet ski. He is a professional photographer and made a nice video from lots of pictures he took on that day. I have been trying to change the format from gomplayer to youtube but couldn’t.  It has all the fun I had in their home. I got to meet Shawn’s whole ( father side and stepmother side and his sisters) family and their cute little kids who kept asked me to play with them. At first I could tell they were too shy to even look at me but after half an hour, I became their best friend.

Sometimes I think our world would be more wonderful place to live if everyone has heart of children.

With a flag in behind, I had the most family gathering American holiday. At first I wasn’t sure if I could go since in Korea it is really hard to imagine bringing guest especially who does not speak native language at big family holiday. I was invited several times from other American friends who wanted to show me their family and the the way they spend it. Every time I was invited, I tried to make excuses to not go since I was afraid and scared not accepted.  But this time I know Shawn is very good friend and felt it is time to get out from this scary cat thinking. And it was a good decision.

 

First time trying jet ski was scary but after 3 minutes I was driving it in 30m/h speed! Neighbors who own boat and jet ski participated in parade. Some set up theme such as bumble bee or pirates and decorated their boats and dressed up like it. It was just the best legit American fourth of July I have ever experienced. Can’t wait for another holiday to come ;)

 

 

 

 

 

Everyday life experience in United States

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