Thursday, September 16, 2010

Not so familiar faces

Walking around Korea it took me a while to figure out what made people look different. They tended to all have black hair, black eyes, around the same height, very white skin and dressed rather similarly. It was one of my biggest fears that I would not be able to learn my students names because they all looked alike. Of course, it turned out that I couldn't learn all of their names because I had 700 students, but that is a different story. By the time I was done teaching, however, I realized that not only did people look different, but strikingly so. I would recall faces way before I would recall names. The names were a heck of a lot more similar than the faces. So-young, Su-young, Seo-young, Su-jung, etc.
Here in Bulgaria it is quite different. I can't figure out what makes them the same. Maybe because I've been in Korea and focused on the little details. Where the eyebrows were placed, hairstyles, dimples, teeth, what have you, but here there is a smorgasbord of diversity.
Of course, practically everyone is white. However, I've seen more hair colors walking down the street in an hour than you would see for a month in Seoul. Peoples faces look so strikingly different. I think that I'm surrounded by various Europeans, and then I hear them all speaking Bulgarian. It makes me wonder if people see me and think I'm Bulgarian. Or at least Slavic. One woman in the local grocery store helped me and later asked where I was from. When I didn't understand the question at first, she prompted me with "Czecho? Slovak? Rusky?" I'm not going to lie; it felt good that she didn't presume I was from the states. Maybe if I really learn Bulgarian I can at least somewhat blend in. That really wasn't an option in Korea.
Unless I dyed my hair, got eye surgery, a facial re-construct, and lost 20 lbs.

1 comment:

  1. The only Bulgarians I know are dark haired and dark eyed and very attractive. The couple women i know are gorgeous.