Korean Marriage program

21 08 14
This drawing  of a couple in traditional wedding attire was on the cover of our handbook
Because Min Jae and I are getting married for the church very soon we had to follow a preparation seminar. I figured it would be about the ceremony itself but it was surprisingly different.

A. They started off by talking about the differences between men and women, handing out plenty of advice. Basically it came down to saying that women are more emotional than men. They showed a few short movie clips that revealed the secret that what a women is saying often is the opposite of what she really means. This was brought in an entertaining joking kinda way but they were also serious about it. 

The differences were also illustrated in the handbook

B. There was this moment when we had to gaze into each others eyes for a good minute or two. So romantic and so weird when twenty couples are doing that all at the same time.

C. Then it was time to fill out little tests answering questions like "what is your partner's favourite colour?", "What country does he/she want to visit?". All basic things and then compare and grade each other. We both passed obviously.

We also had to take a personality test to check the positive and negative points in our character. It was quite fun actually. Apparently Min Jae and I share our positive traits but we have different negative ones. The outcome was that we are pretty compatible, we are technically already married so it would have been too late to change course otherwise  anyway.

D. Break-time: Kimbap + coffee

E. After the break we watched the documentary "Miracle of love" Okay, a bunch of colourful images of sperm swimming and egg growing. I felt like I was in the 5th grade again. It's still awkward watching two people kiss and rub each other jumping to an image of the conception happening.

After the movie we got some advice on how to conceive children. o__o that definitely felt like the 5th grade again. But we were also asked to write down how many children we each wanted and how we envision parenthood. And discuss our anwers with each other.


F. Another break: more snacks + more coffee (yes this class took all afternoon)

G. The last hour was a speech from a friendly priest who informed us that a marriage for the church is forever. And all the legal things surrounding this agreement. Okidoki.

In good old Korean fashion we got a certificate for our attendance (note: you get a lot of certificates in Korea) - we can totally get married for the church now!

For my married friends/ readers I have the question if you had to do something similar? Or is this a Korean thing? I'm not sure. In the end it was pretty fun because of the little quizes and tests but it was defininetly not what I expected. 

On the drawing table today

19 08 14

Our weekend // snippets

10 08 14
And a welcome downpour

Wedding card

05 08 14

Work in progress

Although technically we are already married and living together. And even before that I knew this relationship was some serious business. But now that I am designing our wedding card it really hits me. I'm going to walk down the aisle in two months. With shaking knees probably, not because of the commitment but because I'm nervous being "in the spotlight". I mean weddings kinda scare me. Just a little- I mean a lot. I mean no, it's gonne be great, but I'm kinda nervous.

If you have wedding card related advice, let me know.

Too hot outside, go to a museum

01 08 14

I visited the National museum again. This time taking a good look at the permanent collection, which-by the way- is totally free to visit! If you want to see what the outside of this beautiful museum looks like check out my post of the WKB welcoming dinner that was held there last month.

A view

30 07 14


21 07 14

1. Cicadas are very busy finding a partner (I love their noise). They leave their old coats everywhere. You can go outside and easily find these in any tree or shrub. Then prick them on your clothes and wear them as a fancy brooch. 2. Our neighbours have an adorable rabbit and they let it run around in the hallway. If we leave the door open it comes around for a visit. I'm a cat-person but how can I resist this puff of fluff? 

3. Elvis at Dongmyo. 4.&5. Luckily Korea has Toblerone, so far the only chocolate I found that tastes like chocolate. And -Hurray- Lotus speculaasjes are super-popular here as well! 6. And look at the choice of beer! A lot more expensive but I'm happy it's here.

Dongmyo shrine

16 07 14

This weekend while visiting Dongmyo flea market. I stumbled upon Donggwanwangmyo (meaning "Eastern Shrine") better known as Dongmyo shrine. It's an ancestral shrine that was build in 1601. And here were ancesteral sacrifices and ceremonies performed in honor of the Chinese commander Guan Yu 

I loved the plants creeping up between the stones, the faded wall paintings. The charm of an old building.  

Location: 238-1, Sungin-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul

Leaving the nest

13 07 14

Min Jae and I officially moved out of his parents house~Woo! But even though leaving the nest to start our own is exciting and fun, here are some things I learned to appreciate living with his family & will certainly miss:

Learning to appreciate silence: Just by comparison MJ's family is very quite. They speak calmly and there is never any commotion or discussion to be heard. I grew up in a pretty noisy family; loud discussions at family party's, in arguments- or just exciting conversations we tend to raise our voice, roaring laughter at jokes etc. None of that can be said about MJ's family, I've never ever heard his parents raise their voice or have an argument. I'm not saying one is better than the other, it is just remarkably different. 

Learning about togetherness: Koreans share small living spaces and they are used to spending a lot of time together. In MJ's family home all the doors are open all the time (except the bathroom of course).   Westerners are more attached to their private-space (And even by Western standards I'm kind of a loner) For me this aspect was pretty difficult to adjust to in the beginning.  As I'm used to be being by myself most of the time. 

I feel that there was always much understanding from his family regarding these cultural differences. And they always respected my boundaries while I tried to get into the Korean mindset. And gradually I learned to appreciate the presence of people around and I found myself leaving my door more open.

*note: It's not that I insinuate Western family's don't spend time together, just less in comparison

Learning the language: It's easier getting to know a language being surrounded by it. Simple sentences are easier to learn when you use them every day in your daily life; like I can say "Do you want coffee?" in 5 languages ~priorities. And living with them made some of these daily sentences feel almost natural to say. Hearing their conversations also helps me with learning a correct pronunciation.

My mother-in-law also made a lot of time for me to study Korean with her. She taught me how to read Hangul and during meals and cooking she would teach me all the names of the food.

Learning to cook Korean: My mother-in-law makes sure 3 times a day delicious food is served. And she spends quite some time cooking and prepping meals. It's very different to my Belgian lifestyle, where cooking is just once a day, for dinner (the rest is cheese and bread basically) And when I cook it's quick and easy. But in Korea I learned to appreciate the whole process of making many, many side dishes. All very healthy and perfectly complementing each other. (When I returned to Belgium in the fall I started missing her cooking)

Preparing dinner together with my mother-in-law made me more acquainted to Korean cuisine. And when MJ and I were planning to live together his mother made sure to give me some extra cooking classes.  I still can't compete with her skills, not even by a long shot ~ But no worries, after a visit she gives us plenty of boxes with food to take home.

Learning to communicate: There is obviously a language barrier communicating with my parents-in-law. Although I must say my mother-in-law has a talent for languages. She brushed of the English she learned in college and we communicate easily with a mixture of Korean and English. She even diligently studies it now. My father-in-law is a man of a few words but makes sure we communicate in a way, even if it is mostly encouraging me to eat more so I get a little more chubby. They also have an endless amount of patience dealing with my crummy Korean.

I am really grateful for the time I lived with his family as I could submerge myself in the Korean life style as well as getting comfortable around MJ's family; watching cooking shows on Sunday's, visiting family, talking about the news and current events, saying good morning and goodnight.

I even feel a little melancholic leaving their house (yes, as if it wasn't enough leaving my home country, I feel like I'm leaving twice >__<)
But no worries they only live a 15-minute walk away!

Our new home // work

03 07 14