What is so striking here is that every girl and woman is incredibly beautiful and very sophisticated dressed in skirts, high heels and silk blouses. They look like the picture above. They have long hair, beautiful faces and slim waists. I can admit that I didn´t expect everyone to look like that so I was surprised. I felt uncomfortable the first few days surrounded by little dainty and incredibly slim beautiful girls. But I must not forget that it is I who is regarded as exotic with my blonde hair and blue eyes. So now I am used to the street scenes and feel comfortable.
In fact, plastic surgery is very common here. There is a lot of advertising for it everywhere. They operate their Asian narrow eyes, make their noses smaller and ajust their jawbones to get a narrow face to look more "western". It is almost expected that a girl gets an operation from the parents as a graduation gift! It's really a problem that the beauty ideal is westernized when you are born Asian.
If you are a Korean girl friends often question why you are still so thick and why you have not fixed your nose. It may seem absurd to us, but for Koreans, it is part of their modern culture and they do not think there's anything wrong with that.
Of course there is a lot of beauty products and just like the Chinese they are trying to find new ways to beauty. I haven´t seen any products made of tigerbones yet, but I believe they exist. The latest and trendiest means of beauty is slime from snails. It is a trend that comes from Japan. I see a lot of advertising for it in anti-wrinkle creams. The advertisement below is really clever. Yeah, who knows, maybe it works. Why not have a snail on the eye?
On 28th of August I took off from Sweden . Not knowing when I 'll see it again I gazed out of the airplane´s window onto the forests and the lakes until they disappeared in the clouds. Now I was finally on my way! I had packed my new large, orange suitcase. It is certainly not easy to put a girl's whole life in a luggage that could weigh not more than 30 kilo. With a large backpack as handluggage containing books and my flute plus a handbag with camera equipment and laptop plus computer bag , I managed to bring along the most important things . My winter clothes will be sent to me in a cardboard box as "Christmas present " .
I landed at Istanbul airport after three hours and during the trip I had amused myself by viewing a thunderstorm from above. There it was stuffy and people of all kinds, so I waited out my three hours on a plate bench at my gate . At 0:40 , we finally got to board the big plane to make our final leg in 10 hours . As always , there were many movies to watch and plenty to eat.
Arriving in South Korea at 17.30 local time , I went to the immigration counter. It was the toughest I have ever experienced, the queue was not long , but the time it took! I felt the sweat pouring in the heat where I stood in my warm outfit and all the bags. After 45 minutes , it was finally my turn and then I could pick up my luggage and go to the bathroom and slip in to something cooler. It was 30 degrees in Seoul and I had travelled in my heavy sweaters and high leather boots to slim the luggage .
I was greeted by my partner Eric and it was nice to see a well known face in a foreign country. He went a month earlier to Seoul to meet up with Minsung , who has helped us with translations and research. She left Aug. 14 for studies in the U.S. And I was not able to leave because I had a summer job.
But now we stood there in Seoul together and went back to "our neighborhood " ! We wouldn´t get access to our rented apartments in three days. Erik lived right now in the right house , but in the wrong apartment and there was no place for me. Erik had arranged a room with a lady a little bit away who just rented out to girls. There I got to sleep on the floor Korean style in an unadorned room , but it was only to adapt.
After a much needed shower it was already late at night, but we were hungry and went to a traditional Korean BBQ nearby. A grill is integrated into the table, and you ger meat and a lot of sidedishes. You grill the meat and put in a lettuce leaf with the trimmings and put it in your mouth. Very popular activity here in Seoul !
After that I was tired and we parted and I went home to my hard mattress . Jet lag does not exist for me, so I fell asleep at once. My last thought was: Now I'm actually here.
All stories has a beginning, regardless what story. That's why my blog beginns with how it all started. How did I get the crazy idea to leave everything and throw myselfe into a totally diffrent culture?
In January this year I met Erik on my, at the time, boyfriends party. First time I met Erik was one year earlier when he just arrived back home from China, where he had been working and studying for a few years. But this time we got to talk more. He told me about all amazing things that he had experienced in Asia, it made me dream away. Alreddy Erik spoke of returning to Asia, I said I would love to help him with a few things. We decided to have a meeting since we got along so well.
After a few meetings and events that I took him to he told me about his idea, to import scandinavian
interior design to the South Korean market. South Korea tend to fall inbetween the giants China and Japan so it was a really clever idéa to beginn in South Korea, easier to start a business there and then get established in whole of Asia.
Erik asked me if I would like to be his co-owner and college since I got knowledge he hasen't and the other way around. I got experence in social media, consulting, building websites, project leading, graphic design, AD, e-commerce solutions, marketing and print. Exactly the profession that the project would need.
In February I had to make a dessision of what path I wanted to go. I had been planning on getting a job in Gothenburg, my home town, and my own appartment but I quickly made up my mind because you only get this opportunity once in youre life. Gothenburg will always be there and I always have the opportunity to return. ”You rarely regret what you've done, but what you haven't done”, like my wise father told me.
Therefore I stopped looking for a job and appartment, instead I took this chans and leap of faith! In over half a year we have planned and been working hard for this. The time have just been flying by – something that just started as an idea has now turned into reality. And now my life beginns here in Seoul.
In my blogg I will be talking about everything I experince and do in the contry on the other side of the world, how it is to be an entreprenure in a diffrent culture and so much more.