Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mexican in Korea P.I.

Today I decided to write about something I know very well...being a Mexican in Korea. Mexicans in Korea are not something you see a lot, at least, not as much as you see USAians (I hate calling them "Americans" because America is a whole continent and not a country, and we're all Americans from Canada to Brazil, FYI!) in Korea; so I guess you can say it's still a "new thing" and I can tell because, in order to support this post, I was doing a bit of research -as I usually do- and found nothing...at least, nothing useful. So, that means that not only there are very few Mexicans in Korea (about 600, give or take) but the ones here aren't very active on the internet (they don't blog, vlog, write for any kind of media...nothing, really). So, other than my sister, I did not find any Mexican blogging in/about Korea. 

My Mexican Self

My Korean Self
Anyways, I'd like to start by saying that it is kind of odd that for Mexicans being rare in Korea, there are whole bunch of "Mexican restaurants", particularly in Seoul -where I live-, not sure about the rest of the country. This range of restaurants go from -the already a classic lol- Taco Bell to Don Charly, passing through places like Julio's, that call themselves a Mexican restaurant that is "even better than authentic", even though they play Bossanova (Brazilian music) as background music. Now, as a Mexican who respects herself, I have NEVER ever been to nor tried the food from Taco Bell because...well, why would I? I can tell it's all Fake-o McFake just by looking at their pics. I will say that Don Charly is the best Mexican "restaurant" (in Mexico we'd just call it "antojeria" for the kind of things they serve) I have tried in Seoul. I have tried several but that's a topic for another post (reviews and all).

A decent Mexican Food restaurant in Seoul

Being a Mexican in Korea is...funny, most of the times anyway. It's always fun getting people trying to put a finger on your nationality cause we clearly don't look like "gringas" but don't have the single-eyelid thing going on (to make them think we're from somewhere in Asia) either and then again Mexico is so far from Korea that that nationality doesn't even come up in their radar lol And when it does, 2 things -mainly- come to their mind: "Tacos" and "Tequila", oh yeah, it feels pretty amazing that in spite of having hundreds of years of -interesting- history what the world knows about us is Tacos and Tequila. But in a way is fun (funny?) cause you get to have a sort of an instant connection with people cause they meet you and they all go like "Mexico, really? Wow! I LOVE Mexican food!" (as if they've actually tried the real thing) and then I go "OMG, really? Me too!", then we all laugh and smile and it's like we're already friends cause we've got something in common ^_^

It's also cool cause people don't instantly hate you as they hate USAians (I mean old people, generally speaking) and most of the times they find you...exotic, and well, I guess that in a place like this...I sort of am (?). You know, my eyes, my hair...those are the features people most comment on. I've always considered I have small eyes (because I do!) but here, people is like "oh, you have such big and pretty eyes!" lol Also, when I wear my hair natural (curly) they just love it, like, they think I did something to it, when the fact is...I was too lazy to actually do anything on it that day.
A day when I didn't do anything to my hair...but washed it! lol
One of the parts I like the least, well, more like I totally dislike is the part when -again- Mexico is so far that -most- Koreans are very ignorant about it and it's not their fault...entirely cause we're two completely different cultures and set so apart from each other that, up to certain point, it is kind of understandable, I mean, I only knew so much about Korea before coming here. But when they think Mexico is a poor country and all they see/imagine when they think of it is this:

What Mexico looks like...in Korean's imagination.
A dry-flat-dirty surface with tons of poor people on it. And yes, poverty does exist in Mexico and yes, it a country in "development" but, come on, you gotta widen your horizons a bit more and -at least- do some google-ing or naver-ing (for Koreans). This is how Mexico looks like, at least Mexico City -where I am from. It is a big, modern and AMAZING city, to be honest. Hectic and polluted, yes, also, but still quite pretty and interesting. So, before imagining we come from a dirty hole, please use  your super fast internet connection and get informed ^^  
What Mexico looks like...in reality.

Umm, writing this post actually just made me miss Mexico and, as odd as it is...this is the very first time I miss it since I left over 6 months ago. Food? Yes, I missed that ever since I was having my last Tacos before even getting on the plane to Japan last summer but Mexico itself? Not one bit...until now. *deep sigh* Anyway, moving on.

Being a Mexican in Korea is also cool because you get to play the "Foreigner Card". What is it, you wonder? Well, it's when you use being a foreigner as an justification to get things, you know, cause foreigners are still sorta new to Koreans and they wanna impress them with their country and culture and stuff. So, even though I'm generally not a big fan of using it, I admit I sometimes do recur to it. It's good when you wanna get into shows, TV Network performances, clubs, etc. It can also get you a lot of free stuff, though that just may be us, I don't know...cause we have some foreigner friends and they're always amazed at the things that happen to us or we get, or even the people we meet lol 

That is all for now...but then again, it's only Part I, which is all I could think of so far but I'm sure more things and memories of experiences will come to mind later for the following Parts, so stay tuned!  

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad I came across your blog! I am a Mexican-American (from Texas) and am hoping to travel to Korea next year to teach English. I too had a few concerns since I am not the typical "gringa" as you put it. I hope that by the time I get the opportunity to travel to Korea there are a few more Spanish speaking colleagues I can connect with. Thanks again for your post, it was very informative!