So, have you ever felt like someone is watching you???
I don't mean in a creepy, FBI stalking sorta way...no, just staring. Quietly observing you. I went out running on Sunday because the weather was unseasonably warm. Scratch that...WHAT seasons?! The seasons no longer change. They just grind to a halt and before you know it, you're wearing a fleece down jacket on Saturday and shorts and t-shirt on Sunday. As if we needed any more evidence of the destructive warpath global warming is on.....I digress.
Anywho, I went jogging at the big park I like on Sunday afternoon. But from the moment I stepped outside, I just felt...different. Now, granted, perhaps people were staring because of my outfit. I had on a long sleeve black tshirt, black leggings, and red shorts on top of the leggings. In the US, this might not look too funny (then again, it might). I've actually never tried that outfit before, but all my other workout clothes were dirty so I had to be resourceful. Didn't wanna show too much leg! It's almost like when you let your small child dress themselves for the first time and you know it's looking awful and you know they're gonna get teased at school but you let them do it "their way"?? *ahem, Dad...* Well perhaps that's what happened to me. But nevertheless, I felt a little freakish on Sunday. I mean, it seemed like EVERYONE was staring at me. And not in the "oh, she's pretty and different" kinda way but in the "oh my god what IS it?!" kinda way. I felt really out of place for my first time here. I'm sure it won't be the last either. I'm not normally paranoid, but all of a sudden I was. And anyone who passed by me and just happened to be laughing, well I just KNEW they were laughing at me and saying mean things about ME - the foreigner!! The black girl!!
But, here's something to further explicate my point. I went to the movies later that night with my friend, Steve. I was dressed completely normal - black trench coat, Chuck Taylors, and a hat. Nothing out of the ordinary at all. And I STILL felt people staring at me!! What in the world is that all about??? Did someone place a "KICK ME" sign on my back?! I'm not combative by any stretch of the word, but I really wanted to haul off and smack the smugness off a couple girls' faces. Ladies here looooooove to dress up and wear heels. Everyday. No matter the weather. And I'm sorry, but busted up feet aren't my idea of a fun time. So they may chuckle at my Chucks, but I love them! And I dont apologize. On my way home from running, a group of teenage boys busted out laughing. That's cool. Whatever. I get it - I'm different. But not even 10 feet later, a group of young girls smiled, waved at me, and said Hi. When I smiled back, that got an amazing reaction. It was like I'd made their day, which kinda made my day.
So, this all leads me to one specific point - Koreans are out to get me!! Just kidding. :) Quite frankly, it takes a lot more than a group of teenage boys to dampen my spirits. I think it's that mob mentality. Had any of those boys been alone, I'm quite sure it would have been a different scenario. But you have your pals egging you on and that's what happens. Big deal. I realize I'm in the most homogeneous society ON THE PLANET (yes, it is...). Most people here just aren't used to seeing people like me. And that's okay...it's my job to enlighten and educate :) Yes, educate. It is NOT my job to be the ugly American and go badmouthing South Korea. No, not at all. Because at the end of the day, I've been called much worse in my own country. At the end of the day, I've been teased unmercifully for things I cannot control. And I'm still here...and I'm still Joia. Warts and all. :)
Off to bed cuz I'm downright exhausted...<3 J