So how I am feeling during this time? Dealing with the Coronavirus, living in South Korea and being a black woman, feels like a movie. I mean people in South Korea worry…but they still try and live their lives the way they should. In all honestly, I’m over it; it has caused so many issues.
No flying, no travelling to run errands on the weekend, having to decide what kind of mask to wear with your outfit. Rumour has it (well at least over here), that the cause for the ‘spread‘ was from a Christian-cult carrying out “God’s work” .
With that being said, at the time of writing this (start of March), Korea was the second largest most infected country. As stated above, they have stopped flights out of Korea. If you fly into the airports there is a chance you wont be going home until they test you. I am pissed, afraid, aand terrified.
I try to stay positive and fashionable in this crisis. What else can I do? Here’s the problem: some Koreans still treat black people like we’ve caused this disease. Seriously? *insert eye roll*. I had a lady walk the long way around the aisle, simply because she did not want to walk next to me. They stare a lot without blinking, they run into you like you aren’t there. They make it a point to let you know you are a foreigner in their country.
Uniformity is key here. The kids I teach all have different pencil cases, because it gives them a sense of individuality. They’re not allowed to work – it’s illegal to hire them. Their daily routine consists of school, study, extra-curricular activities, and study again. The children are inquisitive; they love you because you are different. Fascinated by a game of Hangman, or the kind of earrings you wear on Friday, they stand so close to you that you can count every single eyelash. There is a simplicity to them, it’s very humbling.
Respecting the culture in South Korea is really important. Handing things over with two hands, bowing before you leave the room, pouring everyone’s drink before yours. It all shows that you are treating others as your equal.
As an American born gal, since moving to South Korea I have learned to become more humane. You learn to breathe, to slow down and not burnout. You don’t over consume, buy only what you can afford – over-indulgence is looked at strangely. Life is important to Koreans. Wearing a mask in a cafe is normal.
It’s heartwarming to watch the old traditions never die out, they live next to the new ones. They don’t ever clash. They respect the old cultures, they won’t be forgotten – it’s fascinating. I am an observer in this land, and I take notes. My s(e)oul needed this.