A "Thrilling" Halloween

Happy Halloween!  Halloween is not celebrated by Koreans but it definitely is by all of the Americans at the Air Force base here.  The celebrations were kicked off two weekends ago with our squadron's zombie night at the Officer's Club on base.

A group of the pilots' wives have been secretly getting together for months in order to learn the dance to Michael Jackson's Thriller song.  The plan, which we executed perfectly, was to have a Thriller flash mob during the party among our unsuspecting husbands and others in the squadron.

Johnnie videotaped the dance and put together this great video for us:

How did we learn the dance?  We used a great series of videos on YouTube called Learn Thriller Dance by INESSENS.  There are 40 videos in the series, each teaching the different moves used in the dance.  Part 38 of 40 is the entire dance with music in slow motion.  Part 39 of 40 is the entire dance with music at regular speed.

Before the party at the club, the performing wives got together for a zombifying party.  We shredded our thrift-store clothing, put on fake nails and costume makeup, and teased our hair. 

The zombified ladies

T-shirts to commemorate the night

How I pulled off my zombie look:  I spent $9 at the thrift store for pants, jacket, and a shirt which I then shredded with scissors and a seam ripper.  I covered every piece of my hair with hairspray, curled it all into ringlets with a skinny curling iron and then teased it.  I used light gray costume makeup on my face and neck, black lipstick, black eyeliner, mascara, and black eyeshadow all around my eyes.  I also used the black eyeshadow below my cheekbones and for a hollowed-out look.

I had a some Photoshop fun with some of the wives' photos to create some zombie portraits.  Here are the "before and afters":

The party was a thrilling good time!

"Eat, drink, and be scary."
~Author Unknown

Scenic Sunday

* Every Sunday our blog features a random scenic photograph from our travels *

The Ledge, Willis Tower Skydeck, Chicago, Illinois

"Faith is taking the first step even when
you don't see the whole staircase."
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

To see other blogs featuring a Scenic Sunday, go to www.scenicsunday.blogspot.com

Korean Plastic Surgery

If you get off the subway at the Apgujeong station in Seoul, the first thing to greet you when exiting the turnstiles is this advertisement:

As a woman, am I supposed to fit that shape if I stand in front of that mirror?  Not likely.

I took a picture of this subway advertisement in Seoul way back in March.  I didn't quite understand... it is advertising that you can change the shape of your face?  And if so, who does that?  Turns out, that is exactly what it is advertising and Koreans do that!

Walk through the Apgujeong station and you'll see life-size poster advertisements on every wall showing before and after pictures of people who have "improved their looks" with plastic surgery done by the cosmetic surgeons on the streets above the station.   Almost all of the posters show a change to the shape of the face, eyes, or nose.




Koreans, in general, are very concerned with their looks.  Young women will wear short mini skirts and heels despite freezing weather in the winter because it's more attractive than pants and boots.  Koreans spend a lot of money on clothing, accessories, make-up/skin products, and plastic surgery in the quest to look good.  Plastic surgery seems to be almost an obsession here in Korea.  While searching for information about this, I found an interesting news video titled Why are Koreans so into their Looks? which shed some light onto the subject.

This CNN report (article and video), Plastic surgery boom as Asians seek 'western' look, is worth watching for a shocker.  It features a 12-year-old Korean girl who had eyelid surgery.  It wasn't the girl's idea, it was her mother's!  "I'm having her do it," says Jang, "because I think it'll help her. This is a society where you have to be pretty to get ahead. She's my only daughter."  Wow.  She's 12.  In the video, the reporter is standing in the Apgujeong district of Seoul saying that it is the "plastic surgery capital of Asia".  From realself.com: "The Apgujeong district in Seoul is already famous for it's ubiquitous plastic surgery clinics. These clinics use aggressive advertising and promotion to get patients in the door."  The aggressive advertising is certainly evident in the subway.

This NTD news video, Where Only the Beautiful and Handsome Can Survive, discusses how young adults view their personal appearance to be more important than their qualifications when applying for jobs.  More and more Korean women and men are getting plastic surgery with the hopes that it will help them land a good job.

The most popular cosmetic surgeries here in Korea are the double eyelid surgery to create an upper eyelid crease making the eyes appear larger, rhinoplasty to change the shape of the nose, and cheek and jaw surgery to change the shape of the face.  In contrast, the most popular cosmetic surgeries in the United States are liposuction, rhinoplasty, and breast augmentation.

double eyelid surgery:


cheek and jaw surgery:

Here in Korea, there are a lot of beautiful people and the women seem to age very well (at least until their late 60's).  However after learning about the prevalence of plastic surgery in this country, I'm starting to wonder how many of those people really are natural beauties and really are just aging gracefully?  This also makes me wonder that if a guy marries a girl who is beautiful because of surgery, what will they think when they have a daughter who looks like mom's "before" picture?  Maybe they'll gift her some plastic surgery at age 12 also.

"Money can't buy you happiness
but it can pay for the plastic surgery."
~Joan Rivers

Harvesting Rice

The humidity of summer is long gone, the nights and mornings are brisk and chilly, and the days are the perfect fall-weather temperature.  It's nearly November and the trees are just starting to reach their peak color and the rice fields have turned golden yellow.

In July, I wrote a post about the rice fields being planted.  In September, I wrote about the rice fields heavy with grains.  Now it's time for the final part of the rice cycle, harvesting.  I have never seen rice fields before coming here to Korea.  I'm so glad that I was able to see and photograph the entire process.

A machine separates the rice grains from the rice grass.

The cut rice grass is laid in rows on top of the cut fields to dry.

When the grass has dried, becoming rice straw or hay, it is gathered into bundles.

Rice straw being bundled manually by field workers. 

The rice straw bundles are wrapped in plastic and later used to feed cattle.

"The purpose of life is a life of purpose."
~Robert Byrne

Buraksan Revisited

While Johnnie was in the States, Dulce was in a kennel.  There are boarding kennels on our military base that are actually pretty nice and we know the people who work there so we knew she was in good hands.  Still, she was beyond excited to see us when we picked her up!  She sheds a lot but besides that, she's such an amazing dog and we both missed her a ton while we were gone.

After our long flight and Dulce's kennel stay, we all were in need of some exercise.  We took a few free hours and went hiking in nearby Buraksan Park that we had first visited in April.  This time we continued on the trail miles further than we've gone before.  The random exercise equipment disappeared, other hikers became far and few between, and the sounds of the city were swallowed up by the thick trees surrounding us.  We took Dulce off leash and all enjoyed hiking through the quiet solitude of nature.

Dulce carried her own treats in her backpack :)

She had a blast treeing some squirrels!

"Ever wonder where you'd end up
if you took your dog for a walk and
never once pulled back on the leash?"
~Robert Brault