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Yay! We mentioned in our TL;DR that we just passed 5 Years in Korea! Wow. That’s quite a long time. We sometimes speak with people who have been here for, like, a couple of months. We remember what that was like! But we also remember how different we were back then as opposed to now. We mentioned a bunch of ways Korea changed us in the video above, like in our taste buds, portion sizes, perceptions of masculinity and sexuality, our sense of danger, and our paying more attention to our appearances. There are a couple of other things that have changed with us that we didn’t mention in the video, though, so we’ll talk about those here:

Our Taste in Music:

Ok, so we’re music hipsters. We listen to lots of weird indie stuff. People might be really surprised by our taste in music, because they think that we only listen to Kpop, for some reason (maybe because we’re known as Kpop people on YouTube?) Point is: we didn’t like Kpop when we first came to Korea. Our music snobbery got in our way for a while. Hardcore snobbery. It was hard for us to think of Kpop as “real” music, whatever “real music” means. The idea we had before was that music is only good music if it’s made by the musicians alone, and Kpop seemed so fake in comparison. Kpop bands don’t get together from high school and jam out in their mom’s garage and play gigs at local bars and struggle to make ends meet and bartend part time while they practice with their band the rest of the time. There’s none of that with Kpop. Kpop bands are assembled by companies. Members oftentimes don’t know each other before forming the band. Kpop bands oftentimes don’t make their own music, but have songs written for them by people from different countries. There’s none of the traditional sense of sincere artistry in it. Well, that’s what we thought before, or – more specifically – what I – Simon, super music artsnob – thought before.

But that’s changed. I found that I was spending too much time focusing my energies on reasons to NOT like kpop, rather than just letting myself like it. It’s music! Doesn’t matter how it was made: it’s still music. Doesn’t matter if it was one person who wrote the song or a hundred. The song’s there to listen to, and oftentimes it’s ridiculously fun to dance to. Why deprive myself of the joy of liking something? So I can feel better about myself, think highly of myself for not liking a song? Why take pride in NOT liking something? That’s silly. We hear this a lot when we speak with foreigners in Korea not into Kpop. They never speak of it like a “meh, it doesn’t really do it for me.” There’s a passion and a fervor in their eyes, and they speak angrily against kpop. I didn’t want to be one of those angry people any more…

It was really Brown Eyed Girls “Abracadabra” and 2NE1 and Big Bang’s “Lollipop” that got to me. I thought “hell, these are awesome, AWESOME songs. So freaking fun! Why am I trying to deny liking them?” I gave up my pretentions. Sure, I stopped thinking of music as this infallible art or something like that, and good riddance. Pretentious people in any field, be it music or literature or movies suck at parties. They’re condescending fartsuckers and live bitter lives of resentment. Spend your life enjoying more things rather than defining them.

You know, I just realized that I shouldn’t be writing this post while partially drunk. Tomorrow’s a holiday in Korea, and there’s some great energy going on outside, and we’re sitting here at 1AM working on this video and blog post, so we decided to grab a couple of drinks and get back to work, Mad Men style. I forgot that I had a serious post to write, so – my apologies if I’m a bit incoherent.

Our Mission in Life:

Before we came to Korea 5 years ago, we planned on being in Korea for a year. Our plan was this: Korea one year, Japan maybe a year or two, and then back to Canada to teach and “start our lives.” Our idea was that we should travel when we’re young. Why wait till you’re retired to travel? By the time you’re retired, you’re old and in pain and sleep a lot more. Why not enjoy your travels when you’re young and get it out of your system? That’s what we thought.

Yes, it was unconventional, but we thought ourselves risky for doing so. Oooh! A year or two overseas! That’s different! And while we were in Korea at the beginning, we spoke with people who would sometimes ask us “when are you going to start your REAL lives” Real lives. Yes. That was the term used. Like, what we’re doing in Korea isn’t our real life. We have to go back to Canada, back to our roots, and buy a mortgage and buy a car loan, work our 9 to 5, and do all of the things normal people do. Not that we’re bashing that! Not at all! Sometimes we look at our lives now and think that there’d be comfort in a regular life. We just noticed, though, that the idea we had from people who lived lives like this was that the lives we were living here weren’t “real” or weren’t “right.” It’s just a phase, and soon we’ll return to normalcy.

We thought that for a bit, too, but the more we lived here the more we realized that maybe we might want to live here for a long time. Maybe we don’t have to go back and do things the way they “should” be done. Maybe we could live perfectly legitimate and real lives here. We don’t have to get a mortgage. We don’t have to have kids. We don’t have to own a car. We don’t have to do the things that normal folks do, and we wouldn’t have to worry about being unfulfilled as a result.

We’ve met so many awesome people here. Just yesterday we had people from Australia here filming something with us. Two white guys living in Australia, traveling to Korea, and speaking Japanese. How cool is that? We know Canadians living in Korea who married Korean people and have started lovely families here. Are their lives not real? That’s silly. So we look at ourselves now, two white people living in Korea and making YouTube videos. What’s wrong with that? Is that not a real job?

Sorry if that’s a bit of a ramble. Our point is this: coming to Korea and living here has really changed our perceptions of what’s normal and acceptable. Our fruits are far from our roots, but that doesn’t make them rotten. And I hope that, by being here and sharing our lives with people online, we can motivate others to try something different. There’s a world of possibilities out there. So many places. So many options. So many lifestyles. So many lives to live. All of them real. If you’re bored of your life or unhappy or discontent, move! Go somewhere else! You have friends where you live: make new friends! You have family where you live: make new family! It’s not like your old friends and family will cease to exist. Go new places. Do new things, and find something that’s right for you. If life hands you lemons, go somewhere that life grows mangoes. That is, if you like mangoes. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like mangoes…

ToFebruary
  1. I’ve never been abroad, not because I didn’t want to, but because of the money situation and my family telling me that it’s not going to happen for me. It’s been my dream to travel and it still is. I decided to apply to teach English for six months in Korea as a “hiatus” from my university studies, but I’m going to live large and go for a year even though it’s going to set me back on my graduate date. Now is the time to do it and I know how much I really want this. I hope to get into the program and be the best teacher I can possibly be while opening myself up to a completely new culture. I really loved your video, it’s eye opening and made me realise how much I want to experience those things. So I will do anything I possibly can to live in another country. People tell me it’s such an impossible dream, but I know it can be done and I’m going to make it happen. Cheers to you, Simon and Martina!

  2. Lisa Bowen

    Korea does change you, agreed! Martina, fyi: I work at the school where they filmed B4Fs. They still have tons of photo ops and movie props around. I’ve heard the F4 classroom is still open to visitors, too. You all should come out one of these days and do an episode on iconic kdramas or english language hagwons or something like. :) http://www.yea.or.kr

  3. Irischelle Meneses

    Thank you for posting your thoughts. I am inspired more to pursue my dreams and go to S. Korea! And also Japan! I think it would be more exciting if we live unconventional lives (which we can be happy and fulfilled with) and try out new things! :)

    • Irischelle Meneses

      I agree with you so much! I think you’d be able to say that you’ve really lived a real life if you are really happy, content and fulfilled and you love what you’re doing regardless of how much money you make and how much property you own.

  4. Nina García

    i just love the post, really deep and full of weird metaphores and i agree completely with you about not having one only path to follow and that everybody loves mangoes :) i salute you sr. and msssssjsjs i don´t know how to say it :)

  5. I feel so bored with living in America i want to experience new things I’ve fallen in love with korean culture it would be amazing to move to Korea maybe one day I hope :)

  6. Jane Orchard

    I really like seeing other people doing different stuff. My hubby and I
    live on a boat with our 5 year old. We didnt even TALK about kids until
    we had been married for over 8 years. People were always asking when we
    were going to have kids, and have a “real life”. I call BS on those
    who cant get over their personal paradigm. Same with living life afloat:
    just because it doesnt conform to most peoples ideas doesnt make it
    less real, or “a phase”. Its our life. Korea is YOUR life. Live it how
    you want to. You are the ones whos happiness you need to focus on. ;-)

  7. Mona S. McLeod

    I always wonder what is Korea standpoints’s the hip hop culture? Are they more into the whole gangsta rap thing( Like in CL’s video the baddest female LOL) going on or are there some influences of groups such as A tribe called quest, J Cole, Wale, De La Soul, Q-tip, Nas, Kanye West, Common to name a few?

  8. Iolanda Raquel

    Did I just cried over this? Yes, I have. You guys…

  9. Miya Mina

    Even if you were drunk (or not) that a great thinking ^^.
    I mean, I totally feel good reading that and thinking I’m not alone, and I can try to do whatever I want from now.
    Thanks for those good word and advice. Thank for sharing your experiences too, I enjoy reading and looking at them a lot. It give courage.
    From France ^^ (for now)

  10. You silly geese! :) Korea hasn’t changed you. You’ve made the decision to change yourselves. You might very well have done so, regardless of where you lived. Surely that must be quite evident?

  11. cheesecakefactory

    I just discovered this site and S&M and their youtube videos and the nasties and WOW i’m lahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhving all this positivity and youthful vibes! You guys are amazing. I actually met the both of you three weeks ago in hongdae while I was giving a tour of the hongade area to my friend who was visiting me at the time. It was cool cus we were just waiting for the light to turn green to cross the street when she recognized you right away and Simon gave her a hug and the three of you just started talking like yall were the best of friends when it was her first time meeting you guys (in person) too. I just stared and was wondering what on Earth was going on since my knowledge was that I was the only person she really knew in Korea. Then Simon said something like “Oh, didn’t you know we grew up together?” and then I thought about it and remembered my friend telling me about two white folks who vlog on Youtube and said, “Wait! You guys are Youtube stars aren’t you?!” After that I got curious and started watching your videos. And as you can tell, the rest is history.

    There is a point to my rambling and choosing to comment here instead of fangirling on youtube. It is to say this: thank you. It’s so touching to see two foreigners loving Korea and enjoying their lives with such positive and enthusiastic fervor. Your last paragraph in this article really resonated with me. I also became exposed to so many new possibilities and began truly understanding cultural relativism after I moved here upon growing up in Canada for most of my life just as you did. My hope after moving to Korea was that others would also experience the same eye-opening enlightenment I experienced by moving to a different country but what I observed was only disheartening. After I moved here, I began to meet many foreigners who were not having the same experiences as I and did not love Korea or new cultural adventures. Many foreigners merely saw Korea with a critical eye or chose not to open themselves up to these new possibilities that I have begun to love. Granted, I am of Korean ethnicity and have very Korean parents (in the cultural sense) I was able to adjust more easily, it still made me sad to see many people not enjoying what began to be the best journey of my life- that which also could be for them if only they would open themselves up to what is different. Thank you so much for simply being how you guys are: thoughtful, open, experimental, adventurous, exciting, smart, and this list could go on. And though you guys may not realize, your videos embody and symbolize so much more than what meets the eye. You are part of the bridge that is currently being constructed, linking various different cultures, allowing for more understanding, discussion, critical thinking, and acceptance between people of different roots. “Otherness” though still in existence is slowly being pushed aside in this generation, thanks to an amazing bunch of people like you who are willing to see things with a new perspective! Thank you on behalf of Korea, of appreciators of different cultures, travelfreaks like me, and for being such a positive influence on our world. :)

  12. Korea doesn’t grow mangoes… but I feel exactly where you’re coming from with most of this. Me too… I’ve been living my fake life for 7 years in Korea. Have fun, do what you want because YOLO!

  13. José Campos

    wowowowowo…ok I wasnt a subscriber but now I am thanks to this post…my first one you got m fully attention!

  14. Love your posts, but now you know someone who doesn’t like mangoes. I’m possibly allergic to them (One bad allergic reaction after I ate a few things that contained mangoes – now I’m too afraid to eat any sort of “exotic” (American’s idea of that word) fruits. Which sucks because I remember that mangoes did taste alright, but that one bad reaction scared me off them.

  15. Mintyㄴㅇㅅㅌ

    I’ve visited Korea for like around 5 times, and I really love staying there. The taxi drivers are amazingly nice and polite (most of them are, I can’t say all). They chat with us and teach us Korean. I’ve learnt Korean before, (I do know some simple sentences and how to read the words) and when the taxi driver realized that, they just keep on chatting with me and teach me new words. They are really nice and helpful. After returning Hong Kong, I feel kind of embarrased. Koreans (most) are helpful and patient. However, in Hong Kong, people are like annoyed when you try to ask them locations (i’m not saying all, but some). Their pace are really quick and if you are too slow, they will just ignore you and become a bit rude to you. You can easily hear slangs and foul languages in HK, but not Korea. I remember once in Korea, after entering the subway, an old man gave his seat to me (I refused it), and he was like smiling at me and keep on pulling me to sit on his seat. I kindly refused it, as I don’t think I need a seat. I can never see this in HK, but only people rushing and try to get a seat.
    Korea is really an amazing place.
    PS sorry for my bad English…

  16. Cassie

    One way that Korea has changed me is my outlook on law enforcement. Police are so nice here. they give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

    My husband got trashed one night and passed out in the taxi on the way home, so the taxi driver called the cops. Rather than detain him for drunk disorderly behavior like an American cop probably would have, they stayed by his side, outside in the cold in the dead of winter at 3am until I came to pick him up, and they were so pleasant about everything.

    Even if someone gets drunk and tries to punch out a cop, usually the worst they will do is cuff the guy and take him to the station so they can watch him until he sobers up enough to come to his senses. The sense of honour here is so great that usually the drunk guy feels really bad and apologizes profusely when the cops let him go.

    I thought it was funny when Simon said that him and his friend left before the cops could pin blame on them for the fight, because more than likely, once they heard the story, they probably would’ve shaken your hands and thanked you for diffusing the situation.

  17. This may be a cray cray question considering you both are doing so much
    as it is, but have you ever considered producing a book in the future?
    Maybe even if it’s just a blog book of your story? Just throwing it out there. ;)

  18. Ely

    By reading this post, I realize how much I want to travel and how important it is for me!! :D The big (p̶r̶o̶b̶l̶e̶m̶) question I ask myself is, how can I have enough money to do that? -_-” *sigh*

  19. Jessica Martinez

    Can I just say how inspirational this is?! I mean you guys in general. Reading this just makes me want to travel , learn, see and experience the world and what it has to offer. It makes me realize that I am young and I have so many opportunities at my grasp and I should take advantage of them. Also makes me realize how fortunate I am to have parents who will gladly encourage and support in whatever I choose to do even if it means being away from them.I feel like this post is just the push I needed to got to Korea. I really wanna go to Korea now and part of it because of what you guys have shown through your videos and because of my mother’s fascination towards Korea.( This was kind of long, Sorry ):D

  20. Kika Penne

    My twinsister doesn’t like mangoes. She’s weird hehe. ^_^

  21. Just wanted to say, thank you all for contributing such awesome comments. I think this is one of the best discussions we’ve ever had on the site, and we’re really moved by seeing what a lot of people wrote. Thank you guise. You’re all so…Nasty!

  22. It’s strange to me that moving away for a year (or more) seems to be an odd concept in North America. In New Zealand, all everyone wants to do is leave and go on our OE (Overseas experience for all you non-kiwis). We regularly go to the UK, Canada, USA and Australia to live for a long periods of time. I think that has something to do with us being so far away from the rest of the world and hence we need to base ourselves somewhere closer to the rest of the world to make travelling cheaper and more accessible.

  23. It’s interesting to hear you guys mention the chopsticks and the street food cuz it’s actually more of Asian culture in general. I’m from Malaysia and we also have chopsticks out in a bucket too. And we would dip our spoons into the same pot and put it into our mouths lol.

  24. Jessica Lewis

    Since you guys talked about living life the way you want to, I think this is a good post to tell you this.

    Before I started watching your videos, I was already somewhat interested in Korea and it’s culture, although pretty much the only things I knew were Korean dramas and a few Kpop groups.

    But after watching you guys, I’ve really grown to love what you have shown your Nasties about Korean culture, food, etc. And this could not have come at a better time in my life. I was just graduated from high school and my “plans” for my life were pretty much washed down the drain and I was wondering what I could possibly do that I would actually LIKE, since what most people choose as “real” or “normal” lives seemed completely boring and didn’t interest me in the slightest.

    Now, partially because of you guys (and, admittedly, partially because of my love for Korean dramas and Kpop), I know that I want to major in Korean language, which will give me an opportunity to visit Korea for a study abroad program, and also give me many more options with job opportunities, since I’ve also decided to at least minor, if not double major, in psychology as well.

    My mom, although supportive of my decisions, thinks it’s a bit strange and others don’t understand why I am so in love with Korea. However, because of the wonderful things you have shown about Korea, I’ve learned that many of the things I value and believe in are much more valued there instead of here in the US where my opinions are seen as strange and different.

    I sincerely thank you guys for giving my life some direction when I felt completely lost. And while I’m not sure if I can complete my goal quite yet, I at least have a goal now.

    I respect you guys so much, and I am grateful to you! Fighting!!!!

  25. Neonsakura

    Question: Is it common to see Idols on the street or in stores?

  26. Emily Hall

    I hate mangoes. > . <

  27. K Dol Kan

    thank you simon and martina… am planning a trip to Korea to test the waters there (have no great expectations, just excited about the adventure) and i completely agree with you on the ‘real life’ philosophy.. am one of them… wandering around India… for quite a while.. i hope to see you guys or visit your studio when i finally land there.. it would be an honor to see you guys!

  28. my friend is deathly allergic to mangoes……but seriously thanks for this post it is one of my favorites. I have been enjoying your videos for over a year now and must admit to bouts of jealousy as you two are leading the life I would choose but cannot attain atm. It is a bit lonely in the PNW since not many people even know kpop or kdrama and they are prolly 15 years younger than me. The jealousy never lasts b/c of your insights on cross-cultural relations, hilarious commentary on pop culture and of course awesome food porn;)
    congratz on your upcoming anniversary!!

  29. Emilie

    I only like mangoes in super small portions.

  30. I think the problem here is the use of the word “normal”. A lot of people here are commenting and saying their life goals don’t “fit in” or people “don’t understand” their likes, dislikes and plans. I don’t think anyone should be made to feel that way. When I was in college, I chose social sciences as my path. You wouldn’t believe all of the people who just couldn’t imagine why I would choose the major and that it was a waste of time. So my point is, While we kind of have a “standard” a lot of people flock to, I consider everyone making a neutral or positive impact on the world is normal. Two White bloggers in Korea? Normal. American who wants to be a K-pop star? Normal. Someone who does not want to have kids? Normal. So many people feel down because society’s norms mark them as deviant, or weird. Create your own normal and try to make a good impact on the world! I am glad so many people here are empowered by their personal goals, and wish you all the best :)

  31. I really like this post, I really want to move to Japan or Korea to work, but people around me would say ‘why the heck do you want to go there… blah’ and you just get judged by what music you like. Liking kpop is not a bad thing, alot of friends think kpop as fake, all koreans have plastic sugery, etc. No need to hate with a passion.

  32. Jennifer Strzelecki

    S&M…this is more of a serious question. (On a super awesome posting of yours…) But it just seems like almost every week we are hearing about another celebrity/person (i am sure there are so many more than we never hear about as they are “regular people,”) that commit suicide. But why does it seem so prevalent in South Korea/Asian communities? I’m from the states, and here we have psychiatrists, medicine, etc. Is there a lack of this in SK? Or is it just a different culture? This is something that i have been wondering about for pretty much the whole time i have been interested in kpop and South Korea.

  33. Ethan Lincoln

    Living any place foreign is going to change you, particularly if you spend a lot of time there. Your observations are interesting and are nice tidbits I certainly agree with a lot of it. I can certainly say it changed myself when I lived there teaching way back in the day, without question it forced me into a real serious work ethic that I didn’t know I even had. Early morning and late nights teaching, commuting.. Learning how to live and sink or swim. It’s a good way to test yourself and make you a better person. Now at an older age, I live vicariously through you guys! Keep up the vids!

  34. Stephanie Marie

    How do you guys find music because honestly I love most all of your music!!

  35. Stephanie Marie

    Best thing I’ve read in a long time..

  36. SARANGGirl

    Do you guys know anything about the KCON for 2013?? I know it will be in August, but where can I get the tickets and how much do they cost? Also, if I go to the KCON, do the concerts cost money that they do in there, or anything they hold that costs money? I’ve never been before…. Thanks!

  37. sharpcoxx

    Are you guys trying to say, that you wrote that when you was partially drunk?!?!! …no way!! I like that article alot :) ..is well written, despite you probably was tired. Good job! :)

  38. Kaitlin Beranek

    I’m studying abroad in Japan for a year and majoring in Japanese&Int’l studies… but i’m worried about how to survive with that type of degree. I mean, I know your degree isn’t your career and there are a lot of things out there but… I don’t want to get stuck in America >< Thank you for the inspiration to just get going!!

  39. it’s not that i don’t like mangoes; it’s that mangoes don’t like me.

  40. Gosh, when both of you were snuggling I was like “uhhh omg,..” and then right after Simon said : stop vomiting . The timing with my complaint was so good that I actually apologised XD

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