Being Natural

Being Naturally Curly in Korea: Trial 1 & 2

If you didn’t know, I am naturally curly. I said I was going to take pictures of my hair yesterday, but once I was settled at home and was halfway done flat twisting my hair, I realized that I didn’t. Whoops. So here is a picture I took last year of myself with my hair. It has become a lot more tamed now, just still working on the stretching my curls part.

hair

I first decided to try my hair on Sunday to see how it would react to the humidity and also to see if I would either get a strong reaction, stares or see if no one really cared. My hair was fine in the humidity, but then again, it was a lot drier than usual and mostly no one really cared. Which was fantastic. I’ve read and watched so many stories on YouTube about Korean’s reactions to natural hair. But the true test was how my co-workers and director would react to my hair. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a positive or negative reaction. I really didn’t want to straighten my hair and since the water is harsh here, I wanted to try to get my hair in a more healthy state then try and kill it some more with heat.

I walked into school and said the usual good morning. The first person I saw was the secretary (I think she’s the secretary) and her face lit up in an excited shock. She asked if I changed my hair and she kept giving me thumbs up. Needless to say, she loved it. Then it was VK teacher and I had to explain to her that it was my natural hair. She loved it as well. The one person I was worried about was my director, but when he saw me, I got a wink and an approving nod and every time he saw me, he just kept nodding with a face full of respect.

The fun part came when I went to my classes. My homeroom kindergarten class loved it. There were only three of them that kept trying to touch or play with my curls. The nickname that I got from that class was “piggy tails” because my hair was curly just like pig tails. My supplemental kindergarten class did not try to touch my hair, but there is a little boy in the class that has a perm (curly perm) and he said that we are the same! We became twins and the nickname I got from that class was “sheep hair”. I only had two elementary classes that day: my daily elementary class and my intensive reading class. My daily elementary class is always a lot of fun to be in, because you have a lot of class clowns and they are always full of life. They were shocked by my hair, got over it and enjoyed it. One girl kept saying that it was ramen hair and wrote me a note in Korean (she thought I wouldn’t understand) that said,”선생님 머리 라면” meaning in non-grammatical order: Teacher hair ramen or Ramen Hair Teacher. My intensive reading class got over it in two seconds after their initial shock. It was hilarious. Majority of my students loved my hair and that made me happy. What made me even happier was that there wasn’t a lot of grabby hands trying to touch and pull on my hair. It was also a lot of fun to explain to the kids and the staff that I didn’t get a perm and that it was my natural hair. They were able to experience a little bit of a culture difference asides from the language.

It was a really fun day and my hair survived the humidity! Today I have my three other elementary classes and they will experience the flat twist curly version of my hair. I wonder what there reaction will be and if I will get even more nicknames. Thanks for reading and until next time!

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