Culture
Staying with nomadic Mongolian families: part III

Staying with nomadic Mongolian families: part III

Day 3: I arrived at the third family’s home, where I met my host mother and her two grown daughters. One of the daughters and I walked towards the forest to collect kindling for the wood stove. As I piled fallen branches into my arms, I remembered a moment during my exchange semester at the...
Staying with nomadic Mongolian families: part II

Staying with nomadic Mongolian families: part II

Day 2: The clouds hung heavy in the sky; it was about to rain. The second family greeted me outside and ushered me into their ger–a round felt tent traditionally used by nomads. The mother, Amar, handed me a mug of suutai tsai, hot, salted milk tea. I sat on the couch and tried to formulate some...
Prayers and fortune telling at a Taoist temple

Prayers and fortune telling at a Taoist temple

“Before we eat dinner at the night market, we’re going to pray,” Olivia’s mom said as we stopped in front of a Taoist temple in Taichung. My Taiwanese friend Olivia turned to me, “We’re only doing this because you’re here. We rarely go to the temple.” I smiled, thinking about all the times my parents...
Gay in Korea: an interview with an American expat living in Seoul

Gay in Korea: an interview with an American expat living in Seoul

My Korean co-teacher once told me that she had never met a gay person. “You probably have without realizing it,” I responded. She didn’t seem convinced. The gay scene is still quite hidden in Korea, even though this year marked the 13th Queer Culture Festival in Seoul. I recall meeting one gay guy when I...
Solo Daecheop: a flash-mob style blind date for the singles in Seoul

Solo Daecheop: a flash-mob style blind date for the singles in Seoul

In South Korea, Christmas is a romantic holiday, rather than a family or religious celebration. Couples spend the day flaunting their status in matching sweaters and reindeer horn headbands, making dinner reservations for two, and raising the armrest between their seats at the movie theater. In order for singles not to feel quite so lonely...
Are you Russian? an interview about causasian female stereotypes and harassment in Korea

Are you Russian? an interview about causasian female stereotypes and harassment in Korea

IN KOREA, THE WORDS “RUSSIAN” AND “PROSTITUTE” GO HAND IN HAND, a stereotype that has evolved from a recent period of time where droves of Russian women apparently came to Korea on “entertainment” visas. Additionally, white women are often stereotyped as “easy” and “slutty.” Despite the fact that the majority of white women in Korea...
Notes from the covert world of Korean shamanism

Notes from the covert world of Korean shamanism

CELINE CROSSED HER LEGS and took a long drag of her cigarette. “The shaman told me my grandmother’s hometown. She pointed to it on a map,” she recounted in her thick French accent. “Later, the adoption agency gave me the exact same information.” A couple other exchange students and I sat on perpendicular wooden benches...
Postcards: the Chinese calligrapher

Postcards: the Chinese calligrapher

August 24, 2011 On a bright summer morning in Beijing, the calligrapher skillfully ran his brush along the smooth, gray stone of the Summer Palace’s pavilion, making curvaceous strokes with lines as beautiful as the ancient, upturned rooftops in the distance. Each character was written quickly and boldly with water for ink, appearing for an...

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