All posts filed under: Personal

“My Body My Choice” – My Story of Reproductive Privilege

Tomorrow I’m getting the second IUD (Intra-Uterine Device) of my life. Something going into my uterus is as personal as it gets, but as a researcher who should be starting a PhD on Sexual Health and the Internet in South Korea (one of the cases being the IUD) next year, it is, as we say: “The Personal Is Political”. With under 20mg of levonorgestrel, the Kyleena (and the Skyla/Jaydess) emits 1/10 the amount of hormones than do oral contraceptives. They’re cost-effective (130€ in NL and FR), and once they’re installed, they last three years – bringing their monthly cost to 3.6€. For many women, they come with fewer side-effects than does the Pill. It is particularly effective for young and sexually active women because of its low failure rate and because of the convenience it offers. IUDs are offered fully free of cost to women under 21 years of age in NL and FR. *  *  * In France and in the Netherlands, I am free to choose a contraceptive method. I am free to …

2018 Oslo Freedom Forum

I was hired to work as an interpreter to the North Korean delegation at the Oslo Freedom Forum for the second time (the first time being 2016). This year also marked the 10th anniversary of the Oslo Freedom Forum. In a nutshell, OFF is a a forum and a community of people dedicated to protecting and improving fundamental human rights around the world. It’s fun: There’s always an art performance, and since a few years an ethical fashion show (whose models are human rights activists and speakers from past years), booths by tech companies who offer services which can be used to protect civil rights activists in repressive regimes, and lots of opportunities for people to connect. Human rights activists have a platform to voice their hopes, obstacles, and plans. Philanthropists come to learn more about projects activists are currently running, to ask in-depth questions about what they need, what they plan to do, and what their current challenges are. Entrepreneurs can pitch their technologies to activists and the general public. This year, I was …

2014-2015 in retrospective: 2. The Good

  The highlight of 2014-2015 was meeting my Alaskan friend Jamie and my (very) German (but really, Prussian) boyfriend. So now Alaska is in my future travel plans – who would have thought – an Alaskan in Lyon? I travelled with a friend from Korea to Nice, Amsterdam and Berlin for Halloween. I visited a Portugese penpal in Geneva and I had my first raclette. A Finnish penpal showed me around Berlin and we took a photo together at the Dom. A third penpal, an American PhD student at King’s College let me crash at her central London apartment and even paid for my breakfast the day I was leaving and my bank cards stopped working. Meeting Koreans was not what I’d originally planned, but a friend from high school was on exchange at Kiel, in the North of Germany. We went to Bonn and went crazy over Haribos. We also underestimated the height of the Cologne Cathedral and decided to climb up all the way to the top on a whim (“It doesn’t look so tall compared …

2014-2015 in retrospective: 1. The Bad

[Image description: A news stand with various large posters on the side in the middle of a shopping district in Lyon, France]  I left Seoul on September 11, 2014 (even today, flights on 9/11 are cheapest within a 10-day radius). It was a 24-hour trip with a layover in Doha. There was 30kg of baggage in an American Tourister. It was a long way from Charles de Gaulle to Gare du Nord to Amsterdam Centraal. For the first time, I was jetlagged – not just on time. I was sick for two full days – chills, cramps, headaches, cold sweat. I think my Dutch relatives have ever had jetlag, but they just let me be. France was that much of a stress. It was a country whose language I spoke quite well but a completely foreign land where I knew nobody, whose social system didn’t seem coherent, and whose culture I wasn’t particularly interested in (Sorry France, I’m not interested in cuisine classique or nouvelle, wine or the Parisian catwalk). I only went to France because I …

Updates coming soon

Image: Of Monsters and Men at Ancienne Belgique I’ve been trying out Blogger for  a while now, but I think I’ll stick to WordPress. I like the themes and design flexibility, despite the fact that Blogger is free. Sorry if you’ve been waiting for new posts – they’re on their way! In the meanwhile, I’ve been to see the awesome Of Monsters and Men and Chvrches at Ancienne Belgique, Brussels. I’ve taken the Toefl iBT exam for the 10th time in my life, to a disappointing drop in score (119 to 116, on a scale of 120) –  perhaps due to most of the night being highly animated by Belgian students watching live broadcasts of the Paris attacks on November 13th at the hostel. Regarding my studies, I’ve had the chance to hear the highly influential scholar Sheila Jasanoff at a conference here, but otherwise deeply disappointed by the floor-wiping quality of education and lack of any coherent administrative system at the University of Liège. There’s a reason it doesn’t ever appear on the QS or the THE. Seriously, don’t come here, ever. …

London, Baby! feat. Childhood Friends

  [Image description: An iPod with the screen “Bermondsey Street” by Patrick Wolf is playing, against the backdrop of “Bermondsey Street” sign at a London Tube stop] See what I did there? Bermondsey Street at Bermondsey. A while ago, I couchsurfed for a week in London at an American friend’s flat (this post was scheduled for publishing, but somehow didn’t). It happened that a couple of my friends from university as well as childhood friends from India were in or around London (Brighton). So, I met them every night I was there. One friend, who switched form Political Science to Acting, took me to the Arcola Theatre for a Ghost From A Perfect Place (intense!). Another took me to a pub after work. And my host took me to an English breakfast (incl. the infamous ‘black pudding’ and too-crisp bacon) and to the Borough Market. To me the Netherlands and England are not unfamiliar places. Yes, unfamiliar in the sense I don’t know them because I haven’t lived there, but yes familiar because I am …

Week 2 in the Netherlands – Tall People Problems! (Not a First-Hand Account)

Hanging out with your everyday 180cm girl and 195cm guy, y’know. Today I met another girl who is 180cm tall – I really am in Holland! By now I’ve met so many tall Dutch men that 195cm is sounding like the average man, but tall women are still amazing to meet. She talked of the terrible growing pains she had, of wearing sneakers all the time for her boyfriend even though she loves high-heels, and about having to fit in strange ways to be able to sit on the metro. The first really tall person I’ve met was my cousin’s cousin who is 193cm, and who at that time was really into wearing New Rock Boots (which add 5cms). This was back when I was visiting Holland ten years ago, in 2004! When I met him he was also standing on the top of a couple of stairs, so the visual impact was considerable… Our conversation today opener today? “You’re still really tall!” “You’re still really short!” Closing sentence: “Maybe we see each other in ten years …

Week 1 in the Netherlands – Welcome to Feeling Like a Midget!

At my cousin’s place in the countryside So far I have experienced the following things here in Noord-Holland: – Getting used to the sun setting around 9pm instead or at 7pm – “Korea” North or South?” (it was a very, very old man) – Met a hardcore fan/heavy smoker of ze greens/seen an escort advert on the subway – Been on a boat trip with my uncle demonstrating of how the sluis works – Successfully pronouncing sluis – Understanding tiny bits of Dutch that sound just like English and thinking “Aha! I understood! One Word! Of your conversation!” – Learning to use the words mooi, lekker, and gezellig timely – Having an internal debate between saying “Holland” and “The Netherlands” and eventually going “Meh, everybody in Noord-Holland says Holland, so meh”, Googling it, and then finding angry comments from Southerners – People accepting I can be the cousin of a completely Dutch person and not asking any further questions or having puzzled looks – Seen a “Smoke Your Weed Outside” sign – Had a conversation in English with 60+ Dutch citizens …

Week 1 in the Netherlands – Flying with Hello Kitty

A few days ago I traveled from Incheon to Taipei to Paris to Amsterdam to Wormeveer. It was a long trip involving 16 hours of flight time, 4 hours of train time, and about 6 hours of waiting in between. Anyway, the highlight of the journey was the Hello Kitty jet from Incheon to Taipei aboard Eva Air. I don’t have photos of them all, but the jet itself, the aprons of the flight attendants, the cutlery, the napkins, the playing cards, the pens, and everything was themed. I can imaging how popular they must be on their inter-Asian flights (my friend who is a huge fan was ecstatic and demanded I photograph everything I could!). Le Hello Kitty Jet! The signboards, registration screens and tickets were all themed as well (the man at the counter was slightly embarrassed when I asked ‘Am I taking the HK ket all the way to France?’) Yay! Kitty on screen! Kitty in Eva Air uniform! I didn’t take a picture, but the ‘sick bag’ was themed too Kitty …

YG’s WINNER debuts

WINNER – Color Ring (2014) WINNER has finally released their first album, “2014 S/S“. And I am posting about a boy band because…? Spending a good 170 hours watching a group of people might make you attached to them. I worked the YouTube subtitles to YG and MNET’s official broadcasting of Who Is Next:WIN and WINNERTV between September 2013 and February 2014. I was offered the job starting from episode 3 of WIN through a university friend who is working at YG. His team was in charge of strategy planning, and since I had translation experience and had been accepted to a Master’s in Interpreting and wasn’t charging out-of-the-roof fees, I got the job after a test drive on the episode. What was really funny about the subtitling was…I found out how passionate fans can be: 1. MNET broadcasts new episode Friday evening. 2. Pirated and subtitled versions by fans start circulating by Saturday. 3. Pirated videos get reported by Sunday or Monday. 4. I upload the subtitles on the midnight between Monday and Tuesday. Also, …