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Candidly Kate: Braving Needles for Botox

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stethoscope, medical, health, doctor, macbook, laptop, computer, objects, office, desk
Photographer: Luis Llerena

Growing up I never really thought much about plastic surgery.  I liked my face even if it was a little too chubby for my liking.  I liked my hair until high school when I found it boring.  I hated my body, but what teenager doesn’t?  I played sports and danced all my life, but apparently that wasn’t enough!  In grade 12 my parents signed me up for a gym, so my perspective on liposuction changed from what I thought was my only option to drop the weight to something about which I didn’t really care.  Now that I’m back in the gym regularly, I wouldn’t consider liposuction unless it would fix up the mess from my appendectomy.  As far as implants go, while I may be a card-carrying member of the “itty-bitty titty committee”, I don’t know how I feel about adding stress to my back with the kind of fun-bags I’d need on my 5’8″ frame.  My nose is fine, and while I have had some issues with allergies and my deviated septum, I’d rather just leave well enough alone.

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Saturday was a pretty busy day!  We opened up some new floors at school, so immigration requested that we all get new health checks.  It seemed awfully silly to me, but with the time crunch and my schedule this week the only time I was available to get the health check done was on my own time on the weekend.  Not ideal, but it’s over now.  Having had a health check last weekend as well, I wanted to get this one over with quickly.  I stayed in on Friday night and made sure to fast on Saturday morning.  I got to the giant, glamorous MEDICHECK clinic, where they spoke little English and tried to overcharge me.  After getting my wonderful colleague on the phone, they changed the kind of health check I was getting and wrote a special note to get me through the lines quickly.  That was great, because I had an appointment at VIP Plastic Surgery Center in Sinsa-dong (Gangnam) Seoul.  My health check consisted of a height and weight check (where they squished me down to get my height), a hearing test, a vision test, a dental test (where they had me lay down, asked me if it hurt when I bit down, and promptly sent me on my way), a blood test, a urine test (see the above conveyor belt in the bathroom), and some x-rays.  It’s pretty standard and I appreciate having certain tests done, but others kind of just seem like a waste of time.

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Saturday July 16th I took part in a commercial that was shot for the same plastic surgery center.  I had never had any work done at that point, and was simply asked about some of my perspectives on plastic surgery and about my hopes and dreams.  I’ll make sure to update you all when the ad is up and running.  As you can see, they were into super dark, big eyebrows and super light skin.  Because of my participation, I have a credit toward certain treatments.

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After my medical check I flew into Jamsil Station and made my way over to Apgujeong.  I didn’t have time to have a proper meal, so I just grabbed a sugary coffee beverage to get some calories and caffeine before my appointment.  Upon arrival I was greeted by some very friendly faces who spoke to me completely in English.  There were 3 ladies who offered me water, tea, or coffee, and let me know that the doctor was not quite ready yet.  I had dedicated my entire afternoon to this consultation and time in Gangnam.  I even had my laptop with me ready to perch at a coffee shop and write all afternoon).  I let them know that time was not an issue for me and that I was perfectly fine waiting.  Then, they offered me a complimentary Vitamin C facial treatment.  This facial involved a light chemical peel which itched like crazy, and then a “cold hammer” which was designed for calming down the skin after peeling.  The idea is that this treatment will lead to more youthful, clearer-looking skin.  As you can see above, the final mask of the facial is pretty frightening!

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My intention was to simply come in and have a consultation before weighing out the pros and cons of botox.  I’m on a bit of a “try anything once” kick right now, and when they said they had time to just go in and do it I pretty blindly agreed having dozed off during the facial.  I had to ice the injection areas in advance of the procedure, and then I was plopped in a chair, given a teddy bear to squeeze, and we were off to the races.  I didn’t realise that I would be having approximately 30 injections into my forehead and the sides of my eyes.  It’s actually pretty scary to think about, and I’m pretty sure that’s why this topic has been so popular in the comments on my instagram posts.  Around the age of 26-29 we’re all starting to see the effects of smiling, laughing, being surprised, and grimacing.  The aging process smacks you right in the face – literally.  The needles hurt, which came as a surprise to my friends who have had botox in Korea and in Canada.  I have a pretty high threshold for pain.  Maybe it’s because I had only consumed 157 calories by the procedure at 2 PM, but after the first 10-12 needles I started to feel very woozy.  The doctor lowered the surgical chair, and at my request of “JUST FINISH ‘EM” got the rest over and done with.  He then guided me to the area where I had had my facial so that I could lay down until I felt ready to head out.  After the doctor left, I was told to ice the areas and that bruising cream was available at the clinic, but that they didn’t think I’d need it (hey – I like the honesty rather than the upsell, but looking in the mirror perhaps I should have gotten the cream).

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On Sunday, you can see that the big, bad bruise is there in all its glory.  I took it easy yesterday and enjoyed a 30 Rock marathon.

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It’s now Monday afternoon.  This morning I was joking around with my colleague trying to raise my eyebrows (an impossible feat right now).  You can see that the dreaded crows feet are almost gone, and any lines on my forehead have all but disappeared.  While the sensation is a little bizarre still, it’s certainly not (yet) like the botox jokes on the Real Housewives or pretty much any Eva Longoria TV show.  I can move my face.  I can be expressive, just not quite as normal.  I think that’s the point.

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I know several people who have had botox and don’t keep it a secret.  It’s pretty run-of-the-mill in Seoul, to be candid.  When I came into work and mentioned what I did on the weekend one of my colleagues squealed in delight and said “congratulations!”.  I’m still evaluating the process and am not ready to say I swear by it quite yet.  The value of the botox procedure was quoted to me at approximately $400 USD and the Vitamin C Facial was $100.  The clinic also offers laser facials (I’m a huge fan of the Intense Pulsating Laser [IPL] Facial) and I believe that I will be getting one of those after my trip to Thailand as it’s not wise to be out in the sun too soon after.

Do you have any experiences with Botox?  How about Plastic Surgery in general?  Have you had anything done in Korea?  Let us know in the comments!

Best Summer Korean Festivals in 2016

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Summer in Korea is a time for ice cream, sunscreen, and of course enjoying the unique and unforgettable summer Korean festivals. What better way is there to spend enjoying the longer days and warm weather?

Korea is home to a variety of festivals that you won’t find anywhere else, and they definitely help give insight into various aspects of Korean culture that you may be unfamiliar with. The summer’s not over yet – see how many of these you can hit before the weather starts cooling down again!


1. The Gwangju Toechon Tomato Festival – 퇴촌토마토축제

Gwangju Toechon Tomato Festival

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Festival Dates: June 17 ~ 19, 2016

Website: Gwangju Toechon Tomato Festival

Toechon is known for the tomato crop native to the region, and locals and tourists alike join together to celebrate the amazing fruit during this festival unlike any other (yes, tomatoes are fruit!).

A variety of activities take place at the Tomato Festival including picking tomatoes, learning to craft (or purchase) a variety of tomato-based products, and swimming in a giant pool full of tomatoes and tomato juice. Yes, you read that right! Check out this festival if you’re a tomato fan, and please tell us your experience in the comments below if you’ve actually swam in the tomato pool!


2. Boryeong Mud Festival – 보령머드축제

Korean Summer Festival Boryeong Mud Festival

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Festival Dates: Jul 17 ~ 25, 2016

Website: Boryeong Mud Festival

If you survived the aforementioned Tomato Festival and swimming in a pool full of tomato juice wasn’t crazy enough for you, be sure to check out the Boryeong Mud Festival, a true highlight of summertime in South Korea. This festival takes place on a beach and is supposedly motivated by the health and beauty benefits related to lathering up in this thick, cold mud. If you ask me, it’s really just an excuse to get down and dirty and cross covering yourself in mud from head to toe off of your bucket list!

Check out the Boryeong Mud Festival if you’re in the area and feeling adventurous, but be sure to wear clothes you’re not super attached to. This mud is notoriously difficult to get completely out of clothing!


3. Pentaport Rock Festival – 인천 펜타포트 락페스티벌

Korean Summer Festival Pentaport Rock Festival

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Festival Dates: Aug 12 ~ 14, 2016

Website: Pentaport Rock Festival

Pentaport Rock Festival is one of the biggest international music festivals hosted in all of Asia during summertime, and it is DEFINITELY worth checking out if you’re a fan of energetic crowds and fun rock music. Fall Out Boy, The Monkees, and Suede have all played in recent years – talk about an amazing lineup!

This festival is super easy to access via public transportation, so you won’t have to worry about finding parking or dealing with intoxicated drivers after the night is over. Check out Pentaport Rock Festival, and give crowd surfing a try if it feels right!


4. Haeundae Sand Festival – 해운대 모래축제

Korean Summer Festival Haeundae Sand Festival

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Festival Dates: May 27 ~ May 30, 2016

Website: Haeundae Sand Festival

It doesn’t get more “summer” than the Haeundae Sand Festival. This festival celebrates all things summer, ocean, and most importantly, sand! You’ll find sand sculptures, beach volleyball, sand baths, and a bunch of other activities that are guaranteed to leave you covered in sand and in love with summer. Take a couple of days to enjoy the Sand Festival and then some rest & relaxation in this popular beach destination – you deserve it!


5. The Buyeo Seodong Lotus Festival – 부여서동연꽃축제

Korean Summer Festivals Buyeo Seodong Lotus Festival

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Festival Dates: Jul 8 ~ 17, 2016

Website: Buyeo Seodong Lotus Festival

As a huge flower lover myself, I can always appreciate a festival centered around blooming wildlife like the Buyeo Seodong Lotus Festival. The Lotus Festival is home to sprawling displays of bright, beautiful lotus blossoms as fun, food, and crafts for the entire family.

Checking out this festival means spending the day making lotus-inspired beauty products, paper flowers, and learning about wildflower preservation. Bring the whole family, because there’s something for everybody!


6. Gangneung Danoje Festival – 강릉단오제

Korean Summer Festival Gangneung Danoje Festival

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Festival Dates: Jun 5 ~ 12, 2016

Website: Gangneung Danoje Festival

If you’re looking for a festival that will teach you something new about an aspect of South Korean culture, look no further than the Gangneung Danoje Festival, an annual celebration of the rich and vibrant culture of the Joseon Dynasty. The Danoje Festival is pretty traditional as far as festivals go – it features traditional Korean food, art, and even puts on traditional Korean wedding etiquette displays! Gangneung is also a beautiful area and perfect for beach lounging, so you can easily turn experiencing this fun, historic festival into an extended beach vacation.


7. Pohang International Fireworks Festival – 포항 국제불빛축제

Korean Summer Festival Pohang International Fireworks Festival

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Festival Dates: July 29 ~ 31, 2016

Website: Pohang International Fireworks Festival

Nothing makes me think of summer quicker than the smell, sound, and beauty of a fireworks display! People come from all over the world to enjoy the Pohang International Fireworks Festival, which celebrates the magic of fireworks with competitions, parades, and fireworks shows set to music performances.

Pohang is known as “The City of Light and Fire,” so it’s only fitting that this out of this world fireworks festival is hosted in this beautiful beach town. Be sure to check out this festival this summer and practice your fireworks photography!


8. Muju Firefly Festival – 무주 반딧불축제

Korean Summer Festival Muju Firefly Festival

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Festival Dates: Aug 27 ~ Sep 4, 2016

Website: Muju Firefly Festival

Do you remember catching fireflies as a child? It’s an activity that felt so magical, so carefree, and so summer. That’s the type of feeling that the Muju Firefly Festival captures for millions (that’s right – MILLIONS) of attendees every year. This festival is one of the most popular summer festivals in the country, and it celebrates light, laughter, and spending warm summer nights with the people you hold near and dear. Be sure to stop by this festival to check out traditional performances and concerts as well as fireflies, of course!


9. Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival – 부천 국제판타스틱영화제

Korean Summer Festival Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival

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Festival Dates: Jul 21 ~ 31, 2016

Website: Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival

If you’d rather enjoy a summer festival that boasts air conditioning rather than allowing your makeup to melt off, the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival is the festival for you! This festival focuses on up and coming movies ranging from live action to documentary to video game and animation, so there’s something for everybody and a ton to experience. Check out this festival and enjoy the excitement of summer without the heat that comes with it!


What’s your favorite Korean summer festival? Be sure to let us know in the comments below so we can check it out before summer is over!

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Learn Hangul (Part 8)

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Here's the eighth episode of the new "Learn Hangul" series - a series designed to help you learn the Korean alphabet from the very beginning to the end.

So far we've been introduced to the basics. We've covered all of the basic vowels and consonants, as well as all 6 syllable blocks.

Part 8 will cover double consonants.

Stay tuned for more!

The post Learn Hangul (Part 8) appeared first on Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean.

 Learn Korean with GO! Billy Korean





10 Stunning #Nightviews of #Seoul That Will Make You Want to Follow Trazy on Instagram

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Looking through pics of mouthwatering foods and your friends’ feeds to see what they are up to for tonight on Instagram?

Then you should also check out these brilliant shots of Seoul at night time that will instantly make your day!

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Did you enjoy our Insta photos? Make sure you also check out Our Pick of the Best Instagram-worthy Place You Must Visit in South Korea if you want to find the best spot in Korea for your epic #instatravel photo.

Or, grab your camera and hit the best peaks with the most breathtaking views in Seoul! There are so much more hidden gems in South Korea waiting to be discovered. If you want to discover them, follow our Instagram or visit our website,!button_main 2
a service for travelers to easily share and discover the latest hip & hot travel spots from all over the world. 
We are currently focusing on Korea as our destination and plan to expand to other countries gradually. 

How to Say ‘I Know’ in Korean

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By now you might already know how to say ‘I don’t know’ in Korean, but wouldn’t it be great to also know how to say ‘I know’ in Korean? After all, there will be many situations where this expression could be very handy for you to know.

The infinite form of the expression is the verb ‘to know’ which in Korean is 알다 (alda). To turn it into an ‘I know’, you need to drop the 다 (da) and attach the proper conjugation depending on which level of formality the expression will be used in. Below is a guide on how to say ‘I know’ in Korean, with examples of each level.

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!


Formal ‘I Know’ in Korean

Formal I Know in Korean

1. 압니다 (amnida)

2. 알고 있습니다 (algo isseumnida)

3. 알겠습니다 (algesseumnida)

The first one is the formal conjugation –ㅂ니다 simply attached to the base of the verb ‘know’, 알 (al). As part of the group of verbs with them stem ending in ㄹ, the ㄹ disappears when the ㅂ gets attached as part of the conjugation. However, as the ㅂ is followed by ㄴ, it will be pronounced with an ㅁ-sound instead. You won’t hear 압니다 being spoken much outside of presentations and equivalent situations, though.

알고 있습니다 has a very similar meaning, however with this type of conjugation you are trying to convey that you know of the topic you are currently discussing in a deeply manner. It sounds more natural to use in speech, however, than 압니다 does.

알겠습니다 can also be used as an ‘I know’ response in some situations, but oftentimes its meaning is closer in align with that of ‘I got it’ rather than ‘I know’, so keep that in mind before using it.


A: 이 사람을 압니까? (i sarameul amnikka?)– Do you know this person?

B: 네, 압니다 (ne, amnida) – Yes, I do (know this person).

A: 이 사람을 알고 있습니까? (i sarameul algo issseumnikka?)– Do you know this person?

B: 네, 알고 있습니다 (ne, algo issseumnida) – Yes, I do know this person.


Standard ‘I Know’ in Korean

Standard I Know in Korean

1. 알아요 (arayo)

2. 알고 있어요 (algo isseoyo)

If you attach the word 잘 (jal) in front of the verb, you can really demonstrate that you know of the topic well. For example, if you want to say that you speak Korean well, just add 잘 in front of 알아요, and you’re good to go!

Also notice that when the consonant ㄹ is followed by a vowel, in this case ㅏ, the pronunciation of the letter is closer to an ‘r’ as opposed to ‘l’, whereas if it’s followed by another consonant, it will be pronounced as ‘l’.


A: 이 책을 알아요? (i chaek alayo?) – Do you know this book?

B: 네, 알아요. (ne, alayo) – Yes, I do know this book.


Informal ‘I Know’ in Korean

Informal I Know in Korean

1. 알아 (ara)

Once you’ve become close with the person you are talking to, you can drop the 요 and speak informally like this. If you speak to a stranger or a much older person (without getting their permission) using informal words, you’ll likely offend them, but to a close friend or equivalent, they’ll be very delighted to have you use the informal version.


A: 이 영화 알아? (i yeonghwa ala?) – You know this movie?

B: 응, 알아. (eung, ala) – Yeah. I know.


And now you know how to say ‘I know’ in Korean! To further your knowledge on the verb 알다, here are some other similar usages of the word that might come in use soon.


Alternate Uses of ‘I Know’ in Korean

1. 알겠어요 (algesseoyo)/알겠어 (algesseo)

By using this word, you are conveying that you understood, aka you ‘got it’, what the other person was saying.


A: 선생님 말 이해했어요? (seonsaengnim mal ihaehaesseoyo?) – Did you understand what the teacher said?

B: 네, 이제 알겠어요 (ne, ije algesseoyo) – Yes, I got it now.

2. 알았습니다 (arasseumnida)/알았어요 (arasseoyo)/알았어 (arasseo)

Like the word above, 알았어요 also has a meaning close to saying that you understood what you just heard. In addition to that, it can also simply be used to mean ‘Okay’.

A: 나한테 나중에 전화해 (nahante najunge jeonhwahae) – Call me later

B: 알았어 (alasseo) – Okay


Now that you know how to say ‘I Know’ in Korean, go out and tell people about the things that you know!


*Want more Korean phrases? Go to our Korean Phrases Page for a complete list!

In Praise of Education: Black Lives Matter and Sometimes Your Opinion Doesn’t

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I’ve been stuck for a  couple of weeks on how to address the things that have been going on back home. I’m from a small town outside of Dallas and, as I’m sure you can imagine, my Facebook feed has been lit up with commentary on the police shooting there. The faction that began posting on Facebook like it was their job once the police were shot were of course silent up until that point, whereas an onslaught of news about black men being shot in cold blood had been coming in for days from my friends in other places around the world.

I feel like it’s disrespectful not to address events like this, when you have an online presence. I’m operating under no illusions that I can somehow acknowledge every major issue in world news, but when something hits close to home, either back in the US or here in Korea, I do feel like continuing to post without comment is inappropriate.

But there are a couple of problems with this. The first is that the news just continues to roll in. Now we have this situation with Charles Kinsey in Miami, and I’m even more at a loss for words. The only way to properly address this stuff would be to dedicate an entire blog to it.

On the other hand, I find myself at a place I haven’t been in for a long time, which is that I am no longer interested in “reasoning” with people who are not on board with a full effort to dismantle and reevaluate the presence of the police force in the US. I am no longer willing to make calm, logical arguments about gun control, systemic racism and white supremacy. I don’t want to play nice. I don’t care who agrees. I don’t feel inclined to “be respectful of other people’s opinions”. I find it ludicrous, at this point, to try to have a conversation with people who are posting about how blue lives matter.

So I question how useful any contribution I could make to the greater discourse could be. I am, at this point, only cut out to preach to the choir. What I have decided to stop doing (and what I hope other white people will also stop doing) is not calling racism by its rightful name, no matter how offensive that is to white sensibilities. I don’t care if you’re my grandmother, an old high school friend or a neighbor from back home. I don’t feel inclined to avoid the discomfort of calling racist comments, thinking and behavior racist. That word is like a hand grenade in white society, and at this point, I’m determined to just go ahead and launch it.

I encountered a comment, about a week ago, that really set me off. My response to it was not nice, nor was it intended to be, and it caused a lot of inter-family drama. My mother was told she needs to “get control” of her daughter. I was drowning in white tears for several days. I was told shame on me, for “making things personal”. I was told my behavior was ‘beneath me’. But when I saw a white woman telling a mother of two black sons that she was “not here to be educated,” I lost the plot a little bit. Education is not the enemy, and if you see it as such, maybe just shut your mouth. I’m tired of pretending everyone has the same right to an opinion, when white Americans are raised to believe that no opinion can be wrong, so long as it is yours. Hell, you don’t even need to have an education on the subject, and god forbid it’s personal for you — firsthand experience only ever counts against you.

Other voices are important right now, because the black community is tired. They are battered and bruised, and they need white people to step up to the plate and start claiming responsibility for cleaning up the mess their own kind have made. I just don’t know how to go about doing that. In the meantime, for those who are even halfway there, I think seeking out as many black voices as possible, listening to them and holding a microphone in front of them, is a good solution. I’ve ordered two books, Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson and Assata: An Autobiography, to begin with, in order to give myself a more historical framework to operate within. For many white people, this shit is current events, a lot of hoopla being stirred up by overly sensitive people cherry-picking news stories. For the black community, it is a story as old as American history, and you can’t comprehend the full scope of the thing without tracing it back through time. It didn’t start with Trayvon Martin or Eric Garner. And it sure as hell hasn’t ended there.

Once, when I was visiting a friend in Vienna, a Serbian acquaintance said to me, “You know what I love about you Americans? You have an opinion about everything, whether you know about it or not.” I laughed bitterly and acknowledged that she was right, but she said she meant it as a compliment — her country’s recent history, she said, encouraged keeping your head down and your mouth shut. Now we are 10 years further down the line, and I fear that part of our culture may be our downfall. For the love of god, embrace education. Read as much as you can. When you don’t know what to say, as I currently don’t, then listen instead. The internet exists, and the world is your oyster. Download a podcast, find a Youtube video, read a blog. You don’t need to be a member of the “liberal elite” with a degree from Yale to be curious about and invested in the experiences of your fellow Americans. You also don’t need to be the loudest voice on every subject, whether you understand it or not.

I guess that’s what I have to say for now. The sheer horror of it all keeps me from going any further.

The post In Praise of Education: Black Lives Matter and Sometimes Your Opinion Doesn’t appeared first on Follow the River North.

Follow the River North

Freelance writer and editor. American in Seoul. I write about Korean food. I blog about all food. Last year I wrote a monthly column about traveling to different places around the country to explore Korean ingredients and cuisine. This ignited my interest in local foods and cooking, which I blog about regularly now. I also blog restaurant and cafe recommendations, recipes and some background and history about Korean food.

Books & Stuff    Cafés & Shops     Korean Food & Ingredients      Personal     Recipes       Restaurants & Bars

Sexual Healing: Teacher gets Tested

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Getting Tested
Free and Anonymous rapid HIV/ AIDS and STI Testing in Seoul

I belong to several KakaoTalk group chats and groups on Facebook for Expats and specifically Expat Women in Korea.  Recently the topic of some gentlemen within the foreigner community being less than faithful to their counterparts has left me feeling a whole bunch of emotions.  As someone who has recently dated a big ol’ phoney-bologne, I feel a sad sense of kinship with these women.  I usually feel like ignorance is bliss.  I would rather be ignorant to the truth and happy that someone wants to parade me around and ask me about my passions, my interests, and quite simply my day.  When reading about others who are experiencing things like pregnancy and STI scares, it hit me that if I were in those shoes I wouldn’t just want to know, I would need to know.

men, women, people, couple, lovers, hold, hands, fashion, style, walkway, wood, panels, concrete, stairs, dirt, soil, pose
Photographer: Adriana Velasquez

When I was growing up in Canada we had regular sexual education classes.  It always struck me as strange when the teacher would rhyme off how often you needed a Pap Smear and how often to be checked for Sexually Transmitted Infections.  They’d always add “more often if you engage in risky sexual behaviour”.  Isn’t all sexual behaviour “risky”?  I mean, even if you are in a committed relationship now, nearly everyone has baggage.  It’s important to look out for your physical (and mental) health as well as that of your partner’s.

woman, girl, lady, people, anatomy, body, torso, legs, limbs, hands, feet, knees, style, fashion, wood, floor
Photographer: Imani Clovis

Last Sunday I went to the KHAP – the Korea Federation for HIV/ AIDS Prevention for their Free and Anonymous HIV/AIDS & STI screening.  This is available to all foreigners living and working in Korea regardless of visa status.  They offer a variety of languages as well.  The website is available in English, Chinese, Mongolian, Vietnamese, Thai, Tagalog, Indonesian, and Korean, and it states that services are available in English, Hindi, Urdu, and Korean.  While they offer screenings without a reservation from time to time in Itaewon, I went ahead and booked my appointment here.  I loved that it was available online (who has time for potentially uncomfortable phone calls, really?) and within a few days I had a confirmation e-mail.  I booked nearly 2 weeks ahead of time, so if you’re worried and on a time crunch I would suggest you call to ensure you get an appointment.

My confirmation e-mail:

Dear –

Greetings from Korea Federation for HIV/AIDS Prevention(KHAP).
This is a KHAP Seoul center.

Thanks for your reservation.  It is available HIV rapid or STD testing or both.
Your appointment is at 11:40am (It is Free and Anonymous; your number is *******-06) /Please don’t be late. 

(STD test available : HIV, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Urethritis)

The test result of HIV rapid is within 20minutes, and STDs takes 3~4days later.When you need to cancel your appointment, please call or email us. 

When you arrive at KHAP, please tell us your number and/or nickname. Other forms and identificationa are not necessary.

The test requires about for 30 minutes. Appointments are rigid, so please be on time.
If you have trouble finding us at the test day, call us at 02-927-4322.

Thank you for your cooperation.

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You may have noticed that there’s no mention of infections such as chlamydia,herpes, hepatitis, or the other slew of potential things one might contract.  There is a clinic in Itaewon which offers a variety of different packages (some inclusive of pap smears and blood drawing).  The cost is high in comparison to the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), but isn’t your health and your peace of mind worth it?

bathroom, sink, faucet, tap, water, backsplash, tiles, soap, toothpaste
Photographer: Dan Watson

I found the KHAP incredibly easy to find.  I walked out of Gireum Station (Exit 7) and walked straight.  I crossed a bridge, passed a gas station, and was there.  I had hoped to buy some water along the way as it’s typically tough to find a big enough vein with me.  I donated blood regularly in Canada and always came out black and blue on both sides.  Drink water before you go!  Upon arrival, you’ll be presented with a paper cup and a plastic sample vial.  I immediately started guzzling cup after cup of water (they’ve got a cute little corner with information, free condoms, and some candy surrounding the water cooler) and almost thought I’d be faced with performance anxiety.  My veins, on the other hand, played their regular hide-and-seek game.

Sexual Healing KHAP Seoul
Isn’t all sexual behaviour “risky”? I mean, even if you are in a committed relationship now, nearly everyone has baggage. It’s important to look out for your physical (and mental) health as well as that of your partner’s.

After the urine sample I was directed to a small room with a doctor and someone whom I believe to be a nurse or a technician (sorry guys – I have no medical background and totally let a stranger in a lab coat draw my blood).  The rapid-HIV test was administered by pricking my finger and drawing blood.  The results were provided within 15 minutes.  Less than one full vial of blood was taken for the remaining tests.  I was shown and talked through the new gloves and new syringes which were being opened in front of me.  We had a rough start finding a vein, but after a couple of tries it was pretty quick and easy.  After I was told that I tested negative for HIV, I was given a small piece of paper with my sample number, my alias (you use an alias when booking your appointment to remain anonymous), and that I would be able to call and receive my results over the phone after July 20th.  You’ll be pleased to hear that when I called yesterday I was informed that I tested negative for everything that was tested and that “everything’s good”.

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If you visit the KHAP and can afford to donate I would really encourage you to do so.  This is an invaluable service for all foreigners in Korea, and I’m sure not everyone can afford this type of medical care.  Let’s look out for one-another and keep services like these alive in a country where sex is both taboo and in your face (more on that as this “Sexual Healing” series continues).

woman, girl, lady, people, stand, fashion, style, hold, out, sparklers, fireworks, sparkle, crackle, sparks, light, orbs, celebrate, field, leaves, still, bokeh
Photographer: Kristopher Roller

If you or someone you know has been tested at another facility while living abroad, please be sure to mention it in the comments section!  I can’t stress how easy it was to have this screening done and how professional my experience was getting tested for HIV & STIs in Korea.


The Coming Post-Trump Fight for the Republican Party: Out-of-Touch Reaganites vs Trumpist Insurgents

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0726-thumb-240xautoIt’s the summer of Trump, so my July  monthly essay for Newsweek Japan (available here) is about him. I figure if everyone else can get on the Trump gravy-train, then I can too. For my specific thoughts on Trump and Asia, go here.

My interest is because I used to work in Republican politics in Ohio in the 1990s. I interned for John Boehner and later worked for a congressman. I’ve never really thought of myself as a Democrat, but the Republicans have gotten progressively more paranoid, anti-intellectual, and belligerent in the last 15-20 years. So now I am a ticket-splitting centrist, I guess – or at least I was until Trump came along. This is the first year I skipped a Republican primary, and I think the health of the republic requires a resounding Trump defeat this fall.

Anyway, this piece for Newsweek lays out what I think is the real impact of Trumpism. Given that Trump himself will likely lose and then disappear, his real impact will be that he opened new, white nationalist pathway to the GOP nomination, while demonstrating that GOP voters don’t actually care for the dated Reaganite agenda of the party’s Washington elite. So Ryan, McConnell, Laffer, and the rest now stand revealed as the emperor with no clothes as the nativists take over. Hence the next 4 years will be civil war between entrenched but unrepresentative Reaganites, and rising, insurgent Trumper nationalists. It is not clear who will win.


From July 18 to 21, the American Republican Party will meet in Cleveland, Ohio for its presidential year convention. Donald Trump, of course, has won the Republican primary election, but he is so toxic, that he faces a possible ‘convention coup’ to displace him as the Republican candidate in the general election. This would be unprecedented. The United States has not seen a contested convention in decades.

The Post-Trump Ideological Divide

A convention fight would be remarkable, but it would only reflect the reality of a now-deeply divided Republican party. Indeed, Trump’s primary candidacy has already ignited an intra-party civil war, and that division will outlast Trump’s likely defeat in November. Trump’s nationalist message – populism tinged with racism, trade mercantilism, hostility to immigration and Islam, border control – has resonated deeply with the lower income white electorate that now makes up the majority of the Republican party voter base. Indeed, as Brexit and the rise of the National Front in France have shown, these issues reach across the West. There is a pan-Western backlash brewing against globalization and immigration, of which Trump is just a small part.

The real fight over the Republican party will begin after November’s probable defeat. Trump himself will fade. He is too old to realistically run again and too erratic to maintain a long-term presence in the party. But he has shown a new way to win the Republican primary. He has run as a white cultural nationalist, emphasizing racial, sovereign, and nationalist themes that have not traditionally been a part of polite American political discourse. The United States has never had anything like a European-style, nationalist-rightist party, and fascism never gained a foothold. But Trump has shown that a fair number of white Americans are attracted by overt racial appeals, and this path will almost certainly tempt future conservative candidates.

The Aging Reagan Agenda

Evolving into an overt nationalist party would be a major shift for the Republican party. The current Republican issue coalition dates back to Ronald Reagan’s rise in the late 1970s. The basic ‘Reaganite’ package includes three pillars: libertarian economics, a muscular foreign policy, and social conservatism. The first means supply side economics, with a centerpiece of large tax cuts to ‘supercharge’ the economy. The second is basically what we call ‘neoconservatism’ today. The third meant hostility to the sexual changes unleased by the 1960s, most obviously rejection of abortion and homosexuality, often couched in Christian language.

For 40 years, Republicans have broadly run on this agenda. But racial and cultural anxiety lurked in the background, driving far more conservative votes that Republican elites were willing to admit. When the civil rights movement released blacks from a century of segregation, a white backlash set-in, particularly in the old Confederate South. The Republican party deployed its so-called ‘Southern strategy’ to attract those disgruntled whites. For decades Republican candidates emphasized issues like black crime and racial quotas to attract votes. For similar reasons, the Republican party has attracted evangelical Christian voters hostile to Islam in years since 9/11.

Capitalizing on white nationalist cultural grievances helped win elections, but it could not be overt. The moral success of the civil rights movement delegitimized openly racist politicking. Race politics is politically explosive in a multicultural country like this US, and the Republican party increasingly needs to appeal to non-whites, who are now nearly one-third of the US population. Even Asian-American voters, whose high incomes suggest they might consider voting Republican, are put off by the right’s legacy of racism. The Republicans had to walk a fine line of attracting the resentment vote, without actually indulging its worst instincts.

The Trump ‘Revolution’

Trump’s revolution is that he dropped the hints, implications, and signaling, and ran instead as an overt white nationalist candidate. And he won! He proved that much of the Reaganite agenda has little appeal to the actual median voter of the Republican party, and that what really motivates is the (correct) perception that America is becoming less white and more pluralistic regrading women, homosexuals, non-Christians, and so on.

The Republican party appears, in its elites, to be a party of wealthy, but in fact, its voters are now primarily downscale, working and lower-middle class whites. Over the years, the Reaganite agenda meant less and less to them. They are not anti-statist libertarians. In fact, they rely on the welfare state and believe that the wealthy should pay more taxes. They are not neoconservatives either; they would like to see a more cautious use of American force. And they are not especially devout church-goers; most Americans, including Republicans, have come to accept a great deal more sexual and gender freedom, such as divorce and gay marriage.

These changes have returned the strange outcome that Republican elites today are divorced from their own electorate. They speak a fossilized Reaganite idiom with little real appeal. This explains how Trump came out of nowhere to beat twenty of other establishment Republicans in just eight months. The future of the Republican party then, will be clash between these aged Reaganites and rising post-Trump insurgents. It is not clear who will win.

Filed under: Conservatism, Republican Party, Trump, United States

Robert E Kelly
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University


How to Say ‘Cheers’ in Korean

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If you are in a bar in Korea and everybody raises their glass, do you know what to say? Whether it is with co-workers, friends, or if you are on a date, knowing how to say cheers in Korean will help you make friends quickly and will help you enjoy your time in Korea. So raise your glasses and say…


Cheers in Korean

Cheers in Korean

건배 (geonbae)

The word 건배 (geonbae) literally means ’empty glass’, so is similar to the expression ‘bottom’s up’.

Japanese and Chinese speakers will notice the similarities between this word and the word for ‘cheers’ in those languages (‘ganbei’ in Chinese and ‘kanpai’ in Japanese). This is because the word is based on Chinese characters. Remembering the meaning of these characters can help you learn words quickly when your Korean reaches an intermediate level.

To use this word, raise your glass in the air, say 건배 (geonbae), and clink your glass with your friend’s glass.

The word implies that you should then drink the whole of your drink, but this is not actually necessary.

The word 건배 (geonbae) is usually said by itself, rather than as part of a phrase or sentence.

If somebody says 건배 (geonbae) to you, then the correct response is simply to say 건배 (geonbae) back to them.


Cheers in Korean: Limits on Use

Cheers in Korean Limits on Use

In British English, ‘cheers’ can also mean ‘thanks’. However, 건배 can only be used as a way to say ‘cheers’ as in ‘bottom’s up’.


Be Careful When Using Romanization

Learning how to read Korean will improve your Korean dramatically. While Romanization can have some benefits when you are just starting to learn Korean, you should try and make the transition to Hangeul (the Korean alphabet) as soon as you can. Hangeul is incredibly simple to learn, and will allow you to read signs in Korean, not to mention improve your pronunciation and word learning abilities. It only takes a couple of hours so why not learn it today?


‘Cheers’ in Korean: Similar Korean Words

Similar Korean words to Cheers in Korean

위하여 (wihayeo)

This word literally means ‘for the sake of’. You may come across the 위해서 (wihaeseo) version of this word in your grammar lessons. 위하여 is used in the same way as 건배 but it is much less common, and is mainly used by businessmen, often after they have made a long speech while drinking. Students and alumni of Korea University often replace the 여 at the end of this word with 고 to make 위하고 (wihago).


원샷! (won-shyat!)

This word, derived from the English words ‘one shot’, means that you have to drink your whole drink in one go. Be careful when using this word as it has been known to cause headaches the next day!


Sample sentences

건배할까요? (geonbaehalkkayo?)

May I propose a toast?


우리의 건강을 위하여 건배 (urideulue geongangeul wihayeo geonbae)

To our health, bottoms up!


Now that you know how to say ‘cheers’ in Korean, you can fully enjoy Korea’s many bars and restaurants. Just remember, soju can be strong so don’t celebrate too much!

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