Trying Hanbok for the first time!

So, last week, we went to Seoul. The reason of going was I had to apply for a visa in Singapore embassy for attending a conference. Well, the authority there said due to lack of time for visa processing there’s a good possibility that, I’m going to miss the conference. I was really heartbroken, because it keeps happening to me for the past few months. And so, to cheer me up, my husband decided that we take a short trip! Gosh, I keep falling in love with this man again and again! ❤

We were looking for opportunities for trying out hanbok or traditional Korean dress for a long time but we never had it. Our friends there, mentioned about this place, Gyeongbokgung Palace, mostly because of the museum there. Because I was telling earlier how I loved to see a museum. But then arriving there, when we saw so many people trying out hanbok, we couldn’t resist ourselves either. lol 😛

Built in 1395, Gyeongbokgung Palace is also commonly referred to as the Northern Palace because its location is furthest north when compared to the neighboring palaces of Changdeokgung (Eastern Palace) and Gyeonghuigung (Western Palace) Palace. Gyeongbokgung Palace is arguably the most beautiful, and remains the largest of all five palaces.

The premises were once destroyed by fire during the Imjin War (Japanese Invasions, 1592-1598). However, all of the palace buildings were later restored under the leadership of Heungseondaewongun during the reign of King Gojong (1852-1919).

Remarkably, the most representative edifices of the Joseon Dynasty, Gyeonghoeru Pavilion and Hyangwonjeong Pond have remained relatively intact. Woldae and the sculptures of Geunjeongjeon (The Royal Audience Chamber) represent past sculptures of contemporary art.

The National Palace Museum of Korea is located south of Heungnyemun Gate, and the National Folk Museum is located on the eastern side within Hyangwonjeong.

Reference: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/ATR/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=264337

Near the palace, there are some shops that rents you a hanbok for 10,000-30,000 KRW, for up to 4 hours. When you go there you will see plenty of hanbok and you get to choose one, however you like. They will help you wear it. They will even provide you a makeover even if you want. Korean people usually wear this dress in their traditional occasions. Though it looks more like a gown, but it is much similar to tunic. At first you have to wear the tunic part and then the blouse over it. Well, I mean the female wear hanbok, I’m not sure about the male wear lol 😛

When you go there you will see plenty of foreigners, sometimes even Koreans renting a hanbok and roaming around wearing one. It’s actually quite fun, wearing and trying out a new dress. Specially when everyone around you is also trying out like you. People walking in the streets wearing a hanbok, everyone looking at them with curiosity, even they looking at each other with curiosity, sometimes even pedestrians complementing you, saying you look beautiful, well, that’s one lovely experience for sure.

And specially, when a hijabi girl like me, tries a dress like this! I think it was a good fusion, you know? Hanbok & hijab! 🙂 In some pictures there are two other ladies with me, I don’t know where they are from, but by their appearance, I guess, they are from China. We were crossing each other, and suddenly they asked for a picture with me! 😀

Anyways, enough talking, let’s see some pictures!

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There are also some other nice places around there, so make sure to keep times in your hand! I hope you liked the post! Have a nice day!

Munira Chowdhury, 02/03/2017

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Facts about Korean people : learned in 602 days

My first 10 days in Korea went really fast! I met my husband after 3months and 3days, the feeling of seeing him again was so overwhelming! It still is, but that was something different I had! So, at first I didn’t really notice Korean people around me at all. Except that, I’m some kinda alien to them  lol 😉 Anyways, finally I was able to get over my overwhelming, and started noticing things and people around.

Koreans are curious about foreigners. When they see someone which is quite different than them, they will give you a look, which often may makes you feel like an alien, but trust me, they are just curious! Specially when you are in bus or subway you will see elderly people looking directly at you with surprise 😉

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They are basically curious about things they are not used to with. Koreans, specially young Koreans love to follow USA and the lifestyle of USA. Most of the Koreans are Buddhist or atheist, only few people are christian. But still they enjoy Christmas like any christian. You will astonished by the arrangements they make in the streets, marts , restaurants or in coffee shops, with Christmas trees or  with Santa Claus.

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There is one common thing Korean women shares with Bengali women. Which is being insecure about themselves. I mean about their looks.

Bengali women are usually insecure about their color, because south Asian part is a mystery of the world, you will see people with almost  every type of colors. So, if you are someone who is very fair compare to the woman next to you, you are actually causing her lots of trouble. People are measuring her in scale of your fairness. lol 😛 Then comes how beautiful your eyes are, how sharp your nose is, how tall you are or if you have a nice physical shape or not. -_-

 

Here, Koreans are fair by born. But still they want to be much fairer. In fact they have a soft corner for white people from western countries. They take extra care of them. 😉 Even the makeup trend of Koreans are kinda different. I mean they use a really bright bb cream, sometimes which is even more brighter than their skin. So, their shades of face (which is way too whitish) and neck never matches after makeup, and they are pretty comfortable with it. I heard it’s a way to make the face look more pale i.e. more natural. Anyways, every country has their different style of everything. But I felt like, only brightest bb / cc / foundation shades coming in to Korean market actually reflects their insecurity, trying to look more fairer. Their biggest insecurity is their facial shape. So, they often gets cosmetic / plastic surgery, to widen their eyes, sharpen their nose, or to fix a round face to a more attractive shape.  Cause those surgeries are very cheap here compared to other countries. So, cosmetic surgery rate is quite high in Korea. In fact Korea has the highest rate of cosmetic surgery in the world.  (http://www.asianplasticsurgeryguide.com/news10-2/081003_south-korea-highest.html)

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Anyways, Koreans are actually very positive towards surgeries. To them,  surgery is like a permanent makeup, where you do not need to wash it off at night or put it again in the morning. 🙂

Koreans women also feel insecure about their age. So, when you met someone new, she will definitely ask you about your age. And if you are elder than them, you will see there’s flash of happiness in their eyes! 😉

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Not every Koreans understand the facts about Muslim or other religions. But those who do, think Muslim families are usually dominated by men, where women have no say at all. lol 😛 Of course, I rely on my husband for almost everything, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t respect my words or wish. So, if you are Muslim, and visiting Korea, you may be questioned who is the powerful one in the house! Also, in some cases you may be asked, if your husband gives his consent to you to do so. 😉

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Usually Korean women are in charge of all the household works, groceries, shopping, house, rent -utility services payment, banking etc. Men are supposed to earn, but how to spend the earning, that is solely up to the woman in the house. One of my male Korean friend even said to me, wives are guardian of the husbands here. 😉

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I am not sure about this one, but I hear Korean women are very choosy when it comes to marriage and life partner. It was told by a parson, who is a male, so there could be other side of the story. Also, Korean women are very career oriented. May be sometimes it just a pressure for them, taking all the responsibilities of their own and others. (http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20160719000872 ) So, a lot of Koreans marry ladies from nearby countries, like Filipino, Vietnamese etc.  Few days ago, I saw a news, that says, now a majority of both men and women in Korea don’t wanna get married, because before and after part of any marriage is kinda expensive. I couldn’t manage the exact link, but this one here has similar information. (  http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2016/11/26/2016112600430.html )

But you will see even different pictures too. Foreign men sometimes gets settled in Korea leaving friends and family, marrying a Korean women. They even say, Korean women are the best kinda housewives! Like I mentioned before, Korean women are in charge of all the household works, groceries, shopping, house, rent -utility services payment, banking etc. Once you marry them, just keep doing your job, and she will take care of the rest!

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Most of the Koreans are very generous and very well mannered. They will try their best when you seek help to them. Can’t find a place? Ask the nearest pedestrian. He or she will definitely help you! Sometimes, they will even go with you, to make sure that you reached safely! 😉

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Learning Korean language is kinda difficult and speaking Korean is even more difficult. Because Koreans don’t usually understand when you say those in a different accent. You have to be very precise, otherwise they won’t get you! But finally when they do, they will try to correct your pronunciation. Like I said, they are very helpful 😀

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So, that was all about what I learned in 602 days in Korea. I hope to learn even more! Sorry for a long post! Have a lovely weekend! ❤

Munira Chowdhury, 20/01/17

Things you hear when you are a makeup freak

The drawback of living in a society is, you have to encounter people, whether you are a social person or not. Everyday you meet new people, so tadaaaa —– number of people who can talk about you keep increasing. lol :p People loves talking about others, being curious about others lives, it is just something they can’t stop doing. Specially when someone is kinda different from a regular person. Yup, I am talking about all those makeup freaks. When you go out after spending hours of doing those sharp eyebrows, properly blended eyeshadows or those perfect contouring, people are bound to notice you, because you are different. And those differences bring curiosity. And curiosity brings questions and talking. Let’s talk about some of those from a makeup freak’s mouth  i.e. me. 😉

  • Question: How many hours does it take you for doing all those makeup stuff?

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Answer: I spend 3 hours of my life doing this one, you got a problem with that? -_-

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  • Sometimes people gets concerned about you so much. So they say things like, if makeup is really good for your skin or tell you how much damage you are causing to your skin putting all those products.

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Seriously people, stop it now. :/

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  • Question: Don’t you ever get tired of this? I mean you have to spend lots of energy, right!

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Well, usually you don’t reply anything to this kinda question, but if you did, it probably should be: How could I get tired of doing my favorite thing when I don’t get to get tired of these stupid questions!

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  • When you are try something new, people keep asking you what the hell you did and how the hell you did so lol 😛 

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Because no matter how much talking they do, at the end of the day, they secretly admit that you run the show here. 😉

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So keep wearing it like you always do. Because you are a queen and a queen keeps doing what she always does, i.e. keep slaying! 😉

-Munira Chowdhury, 12/01/17

 

Cross cultural awareness program: one of my best experiences in Korea :)

Every semester, Busan Board of education arranges a program, where international students visits schools of the city, and give a presentation about their country and culture. The authority also provides guidelines and transportation cost to each presenter. Usually they made a database with all the applicants and give the applicants contact info to the corresponding school teacher, and the teacher lets you know later when’s the time and how you can get there.

So, last semester, when I came to know about this program,I really wanted to apply. But truth is, I always had a stage phobia. I had never done anything like this before. I was too shy, too introvert from the puberty stage. I always skipped things like gathering and even attending a concert. They were all too much for me. I always have had my very own world. Where there is no crowd of people to make me uncomfortable. lol 😛

So, what changed my mind? Like I said before, here in Korea, I have a really small world of people with whom I can interact. I wanted to have something outside. And also, I wanted to know Korean kids about my country. I wanted to have the honour of presenting my country. ❤

Till now, I have attended two schools. One is elementary and another is a private girls’ high school. When you are a cross cultural awareness program volunteer,  not only you have the honour of presenting your country but also you have the fun of watching the kids and teacher’s expression hearing things they are unfamiliar to, about your culture and country.

I always feel very proud to introduce kids and teachers to the pride of country, Cox’s Bazar, the largest sea beach of the world (125 km approximately), Sundorban, largest mangrove forest of the world and home of Royal Bengal Tiger, which is also another pride of my country. 🙂 And of course hearing that their expression will cheer you out more. Usually, Korean People use a long “Haaaaaaaa” expression, for expressing their surprise or appreciation. Which is adorable! ^_^

Or, the fact that we wear Shari in different ways. Or, the different rice cakes we make!  Rice cakes are known as PITHA in bengali. They are also very interested to know about the bengali words, fonts and also the counting system.

They also are amazed by colorful bengali weddings. When I show them my wedding pictures, they can’t even believe it’s me in red shari! HA HA 😀 We surely use a lot of makeup in a wedding, because there’s too many yellow lighting in the program hall, and we want ourselves to look good in camera. The most surprising thing for them was knowing about arranged marriage. They don’t get how can I marry a man knowing only for 10 days! lol 😀

Smashed fruits with spices, putting raw flowers in bun, or kids keeping new dress hidden till eid day because it would get old if someone else sees it, colourful celebration of 1st day of the bengali new year, beautiful Saint martin’s island, I like the way they look at me when I tell about these. Most importantly when they hear about the 9 months long liberation war we had, for an independent country and our language movement in 1952 for which UNESCO announced 21st february an International Mother Language Day, they give me the look of honour and respect, I feel very proud.

I forgot to mention, the kids love wearing shari too! And, both the time I made “Potato Chops” for them as I wanted them to know how our foods taste like. IN SHA ALLAH, the next time I go in other school, I will take some Bangladeshi snacks there, too!

I know for some people, it’s nothing! But for me, who has not done a really productive things in her life, it is very important & significant to let kids know about her country. And, when I’m up on the stage there, I know it is a big responsibility to tell about the things of country properly, but also it is the biggest honour of my life to be the one who represents her country in a foreign land. :’)