Two days after arriving in Korea I was sent to go get my health exam. Before getting the exam, I had to get my photo taken to go with the paperwork. The head teacher of my school sent me to a professional photo taking shop to get a single head shot for the paperwork. Only, it wasn’t a single shot. The photographer took shot after shot of my face then meticulously took his time to airbrush every single freckle off my face before printing my package of pictures.
You see, in Korea, having perfectly white pasty skin is considered beautiful. Being tan is considered sexy and takes away your innocence. Freckles are considered ugly and heaven forbid you have a mole!
I didn’t listen to my mom when she was yelling as us to put on sunblock before we went outside. Instead, I spent hours at the lake, swimming pool, or on the tennis court soaking in the sun and the sun burns. And as I’ve gotten older, my skins is revealing to the world that I didn’t listen to my mama.
Today I went to the doctor to have a skin lesion checked. If you’ve ever watched FRIENDS, you may recall the episode titled “The One With Ross’ Thing.” Ross has an unknown skin lesion examined. The lead doctor calls in every other doctor, medical student, and staff at the hospital to look at Ross’ “thing.” This is exactly what I felt like today. The Korean’s “ooo’d” and “aaaaa’d” in awe of the fact that my skin looked different then theirs. It was extremely uncomfortable but I can’t help but laugh at all the differences between our cultures.
It was a very weird experience but the day did provide a couple of laughs. While speaking to the resident before seeing the doctor. He noticed a scar on my arm. Knowing why I was there, he still felt it necessary to put his two cents in and tell me “Ohhhhh, scar very ugly, I take off, you beautiful again.” I politely declined his offer, never wanting to forget the reason I have that scar, only for him to try two more times to allow him to operate on me so I could become beautiful.
My visit concluded with hearing one of the nurses calling out the names of all the patients seen that day as the other nurse was cutting into my skin. It was a nice distraction for the anxiety that was plaguing me…
1. Jun Suh Park
2. Seo Yun Kim
3. Kim Jun Un
4. Woo Jin Choi
5. Yeon Jun Lee
6. Buh Ran Dee <———– That’s me 🙂