Saturday, 22 January 2011

The Big Chill

...or what Caucasian expats do after hours and why I like it.
Grace, Mona, Iri... saranheyo...Nikolai is missing here...

I usually write here about Korea and Koreans, language, cuisine, people, places. But this post will be different.

My cross-cultural couch told me once that an expat always hangs among vacum space and has to learn how to live with it. Has to learn how to recognize symptoms of unfitting and overcome an expatriate crisis.

Away from the natural environment of family and friends everyone encounters difficult moments. Body language, communication patterns, hierarchy, and all sorts of non-verbal signals are sometimes too different to create genuine connection with anyone. Especially if you are an expatriate Caucasian female in the world.

An expatriate success is when you fit in. Not in terms of replacing your own culture with another but in terms of getting bi-cultural skills. People are not born with this, it is not easy to acquire such competencies, even if you are the most socially successful person in the world.

However once in a while everyone needs to feel the air of his own environment and his own kind of sense of humor and entertainment. This is what The Big Chill in Suwon crreated for me. A not- so -huge and not-so-small place with pool and darts and bar and couches is perfect. A friend behind the bar who recognizes me immediately after entering, repeating pattern of faces, even if I don't know them, makes me feel home. Home between individuals whoose communication code is the same. When they make the appointment, it's fixed. When they say a compliment, they don't expect too much out of it. And if I am upset I can have a drink at the bar... all so very Western. It's only a bar, you'd say. Yes, but it's my bar. It's my refuge. A place where my friends meet.

Location: Once in Suwon say to the taxi driver: Nammun. And later have a look.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Welcome to my blog :) If you like, please comment. Keep in mind that if the comment may hurt anyone, including me, I will, by common sense, delete it :) Enjoy :)