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Riding the White Horse; Are You the White Horse? And Other Concerns

1. I saw this post last night on the Teach ESL Korea Facebook page before anyone had the chance to respond:

“Has anyone else’s hair gotten thinner since moving here? Is there anything I can do?”

I checked back this morning for comments, hoping that people would reply “Nope, you might want to go to a doctor,” Or “That’s genetics kicking in, honey.”

Instead, there was a slew of responses which are worth reposting here:

  •  yeah my hair did the same thing when I first got here. Try changing your shampoo, that helped me.
  •  I used Dove for my first 4 or 5 months, just like at home, and now I’m using misc en scene I think it’s called. What are you using?
  •  Yep all the girls seem to complain about this, its a huge issue for us all. I use this one by Loreal that’s called ‘hair fall out’ or something, i get it at home plus. I’m not sure if it works but I feel that it could be doing something because of the name. Mainly I think it’s the water that’s the biggest problem.
  •  Try using food-grade products instead of the toxic chemical stuff people love here. I saw an article on herbsandoilsworld.com that addresses the vitamin/mineral deficiency that leads to hair loss & how to reverse it. Sure you can find it
    11 hours ago via mobile · Like · 1
  •  I haven’t really noticed a difference. I only wash my hair once a week, though, and I never use shampoo. Usually I just mix unrefined coconut oil and cinnamon. Leave it in my hair for an hour and then rinse it out really well.
  •  I had the same problem. I lost soooo much hair. I stopped washing it as much and doing the same as the girl above. Now ive been back in the usa for a year and the problem has completely dissapeared.
  •  This might explain all the balding ajumas I see everywhere. I thought I was just crazy…
    8 hours ago · Like · 1
  •   It’s the hard water. I actually go to the bathhouse to wash my hair because the water is different, and only wash it once a week. I know that sounds drastic, but it’s worked well for me
  •  Could also be stress thrown in there too. In combination with hard water..
    Noticing the same issue myself, but my school is being a huge _______ so that’s probably the cause for me.
  • Yeah I am losing so much hair lol luckily I’ve got loads to spare haha x
              This actually is not so scary, considering the fact that a friend and I both noticed our hair thinning while in Spain. It sounds like a similar situation, it didn’t get to the point of balding, and we were fine once we got back home (although I had to form a close working relationship with the local dermatologist since the transition in climate left a much more stubborn effect on my skin).
              However, that was 3 months and this will be a year, so I’m discarding the expensive shampoo I planned on taking with me in exchange for a travel sized one to use on the airplane bathroom before I meet my boss and then some unrefined coconut oil.
              2. My boss is meeting me at the airport, which is awesome and necessary. It’s also something to fret over, because after 12-18 hours of flight time, you are going to be nasty in both body and soul. What’s worse, they might want to have a welcome party for you before you settle in, which can include taking shots of soju (read: rubbing alcohol) until you are plastered and egging you on to sing in a karaoke room among all your new coworkers.
     Be sure to buy and read Konglish, available on Amazon. It’s hilarious and incredibly informative.
    Especially read the So Shell Foe Paws chapter, where you’ll learn how to NOT offend your boss or directly imply to one of your students that you wish they were dead in front of the entire class (don’t ever write a name in red ink.) If there’s anything you take away from this blog, it should be to read that book.
              3. Racism. I’ve experienced it a few times in central America, and have almost been run down by a car in a particularly hateful town while the driver called me gringa. In the same town, I was also spit at. To be fair, there were an abundance of westerner pedophiles in that town. I also have blue eyes and blond hair, so, as this video notes is a commonality in South Korea as well, I was often mistaken for a Russian prostitute in Spain.
    On the plus side, I will be considered beautiful and, again on the down (or up, depending on your point of view), a valuable bedpost notch to be had for the kinkier Korean. A Korean guy dating a white girl is called “Riding the white horse” A Korean girl dating a white guy is called “Risky, promiscuous behavior.”
    For black sisters and brothers, it’s harder. Be prepared for the odd comparison to monkeys. Ugh.
    Also, here is an example from Konglish on the subject, which incidentally, passes my urban legend test with flying colors:
    So, this english teacher, a friend of a friend of the author, notices fleas in his apartment, and “foolishly asked his boss for local insight regarding the mysterious midnight visitors. A rather cool reply informed him that parasites only appeared in the rooms of exceptionally dirty Westerners and that extermination by chemical means was the lone solution.” And because your boss is also your landlord and holder of your visa, the guy has no choice but to handle this on his own, full of shame. First, he buys the all natural solution. That fails to work, and he initiates chemical warfare on his apartment. It works! Until the next day, when the fleas come back. So the guy is going bananas and decides to check out his roof, thinking it will be an improvement on his current living situation. He finds a chicken pen right above his apartment, with a drainage pipe. IT WAS BIRD LICE DELIVERED DAILY VIA PIPE.
    That said, at least Korean people are forthright about their racist misconceptions. You know what you’re getting.
              5. Which leads me to my next item. Korea has a very low rate of violent crime, and the only thing you really have to watch out for is pickpockets in large cities. One old fashioned cultural oddity is similar to Central America in that you know what you’re getting with Korean criminals and gangsters. Like in a bad movie, if they are smoking cigarettes or have a tattoo, they are miscreants and ruffians (unfortunately, this may apply to you as well-don’t let your employer or coworkers see your tattoos). They are not a coke dealer unless they have a long, yellow pinkie nail, a mustache, gold teeth, platinum rings and chains and a box of cigars to “sell”.
              6. In Korea, there are no drugs. Well, there might be some, but you have to really make some tight knit connections. It’s really better not to bother, because the corresponding penalties are no joke. If this is an issue for you, go to Thailand. There are plenty of drugs there.
              While there are always more things to worry your pretty little heads with, I’ll leave the list there with my recommendations of Konglish and Eatyourkimchi youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/simonandmartina?feature=watch and blog http://www.eatyourkimchi.com/ to round off your Korean education.
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