Wednesday, February 22, 2017

That's Nothing to Sneeze at


If you just came to US, you will notice that you've been sneezing more than ever before. Especially if you are in Oklahoma, don't get me started.

I used to think I got sick a lot in-between seasons because of diurnal temperature range. However, I realized it wasn't really bad after going through Oklahoma's crazy weather.

Plus, carpet and heater. Those don't help me at all. They are so dry and dusty. It totally makes sense that my immune system has been messed up.
*FYI, Korea's underfloor heating is the best heating system in the world. If you are reading this, you should seriously research about it.

I've been allergic to dust and pollen since I was little, but it happen only for a couple weeks. Now, I just live with hay fever every day.

When I went to Korea two summers ago, I barely sneezed and never got congested. My friend, Kalen told me that she didn't have hay fever when she went to California.

Thank you, Oklahoma!

Since I never had or heard of this in Korea, I always thought I caught a cold. Symptoms are very similar so I kept taking flu medicines. Didn't work.

What on Earth Is Hay Fever?

Hay Fever is an allergy caused by pollen or dust in which the mucous membranes of the eyes and nose are itchy and inflamed, causing a runny nose and watery eyes.
*For Koreans, the translation for hay fever is 건초열, but if you search allergic rhinitis (알레르기성 비염), you will find the right information for it.

2 years ago, a Korean lady I know told me that I was having allergy. I was confused. I only knew food allergy, drug allergy and animal allergy.

Then, she said it's a hay fever and I can never get away with it unless I move to other states or countries.

So I started taking allergy medicines and vitamin C, and eating local honey, ginger, turmeric and lemon. I have tried everything that increases my immunity. Unfortunately, nothing has worked yet.

Symptoms of Seasonal Allergy

  • itchy and watery eyes
  • sneezing
  • runny nose
  • itching of the nose or throat

Now I'm going through the worst hay fever in my life, and I'm telling you. It stinks.



Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Are You from North or South?

Click image for original size

My phone has been full of notifications about North Korea from AP News, BBC and CNN these couple days. Since North Korea has been a hot topic recently, I would like to talk about North Korea as a South Korean in the U.S.

When I meet new people, they often ask me where I'm from. I just say Korea. Then, the next thing they usually ask is,

"Umm...North or South?"


I either respond like "I'm from South. If I was from North Korean, I couldn't be here lol" or "I'm from North. My last name is Kim, and my uncle is watching you!"

I don't get offended when they ask me like that, but often get upset when I think about it later. I try to think like they were being nice to get to know me. But I feel like they don't care about Korea at all or try to condemn North Korea.

The reason why I don't say I'm from South Korea in the first place is that I believe South and North are one family and will be united soon. 

I do agree that the leader of North Korea is such a horrible person but people there are starving and living without freedom. Some families were divided during the Korean War and never saw each other due to the division of the country. They can't go see their family members or call. They don't even know whether their family members are alive or not. It's a tragedy.

Some people also said North Korea is our main enemy but I would say North Korean "government" is our main enemy. For me, North Korea is like our cousin. Since I know there are lots of people suffering from poverty, dictatorship and violence, I don't feel comfortable with being asked which Korea I'm from.

I would like you guys to listen more about people than government there. Here's a link about North Korean Refugee:



Thursday, February 9, 2017

Living in America Means Jeans That Don't Fit Anymore

Welcome to America, Yoni!

I was so excited to have those kind of foods everyday before I came to America because I loved them in Korea. Burger and steak everyday? It was like heaven! 

But actually every single food I had was very salty, greasy and sweet. It was not what I expected at all. First 2 months when I FaceTimed my friends in Korea, they were always jealous about having western food everyday. I'm telling you. Not good at all.

I was getting used to American saltiness and sweetness. It was too good to resist, and I was definitely getting addicted.

I also wanted to look American so I started wearing leggings and Nike shorts. And they were all small size (they looked medium or larger to me, though) and so comfy that I didn't really noticed that I was gaining a lot of weight.

And then boom, 22 lbs gained in 5 months!

Literally, none of jeans I brought from Korea fitted. I even ripped one of my favorite jeans while I was trying to squeeze them on. Yay...

Then, I bought a car and got an apartment with kitchen. My only walk was from building to car, car to building. Love drive-thru! I cooked anytime I wanted, even at 3 in the morning. Of course, I gained more weight.

Now I put sugar in my tea and pour salt in everything. I have tried so many times to cut sodium and sugar, but always failed.

This is a friendly reminder for new international students. You are probably aware of how salty and sweet American foods are, and it's real. So you better watch out. Otherwise, no more jeans for you!



Friday, February 3, 2017

Oklahoma Is Now My Home

a home away from home
phrase of home
  1. 1
    a place where one is as happy, relaxed, or comfortable as in one's own home.
Translate home away from home to
  1. 1내 집

Google translated 'home away from home' as 'my home (내 집)' in Korean.

Home away from home is not second home to me. It's another home.

I've recently noticed that I call Oklahoma as home quite often. It's been more than three years being away from home. Since I'm trying to get a job in any country outside of Korea, I'm not even sure if I will ever live in Korea again. Some people might say it's been only three years, but I feel more comfortable in American culture, not in Korean culture although I was born and raised in Korea.

I like small talk with cashiers at stores, holding doors for the next person whom I never met before, wearing whatever I want to wear and not wearing makeup every time I get out of my house. Of course, I miss I my people, food and FAST services back in Korea (everything is fast in Korea, such as DMV, customer services, delivery, restaurant, etc.).

But last time I went to Korea, I couldn't really adapt to Korean culture again. I habitually held a door for next person, then I ended up holding the door for like 5-10 minutes because everyone just passed me without saying thank you or holding the door for me. I got very upset and complained why nobody hold the door for each other and don't even thank me. "Wake up. You are not in America now." That's what my mom said. 

And every time I get out of my house just to go to a convenient store, grocery store and bank for less than 30 minutes, I had to put makeup on, or at least wear nice clothes. It was literally so annoying that I couldn't go out with Nike shorts, school T-shirt and flip-flops because it's like home-wear in Korea, and everyone judge each other by how they look.

I had a great time to see my people in Korea, but I culturally struggled so much in Korea. As soon as I came back to Oklahoma, I felt like I came back home. It was weird. Even when I came back to Oklahoma from Scotland trip last summer, I said I'm going home, and that's how I felt.

I'm so grateful that Oklahoma is my home because a lot of international students struggles with homesickness and don't feel like they are home. Without my mom who let me learn English early to feel comfortable with it and all the friends here who told me we are family, I wouldn't be able to feel like Oklahoma is home.
Thank Y'all!