If you haven’t already heard of you must be living under a rock (or not have any kind of internet access, which is tantamount to living under a rock in Korea). The mostly anonymous blogger uses gifs as her medium of expression, posting about the small, quirky things expats can experience while living in South Korea in a humorous and relatable way. Since we think the blog is hilarious, we wanted to find out more about the person behind the popular Tumblr site.
Chincha: Who are you?
#kikinitinkorea: Just a Kalifornia girl currently teaching and kikin it in Korea. In a former life I was a marketing manager for a beverage company, living in a world where sandals were acceptable winter shoes and my idea of public transportation was being able to use the carpool lane on the freeway. Needless to say, living here has been a big change.
What was your inspiration for using gifs as your platform for blogging about Korea?
One of my friends back home sent me a link to the hilarious blog whatshouldwecallme.tumblr.com. I started checking it everyday because it was so relatable. One night, probably after maekju/soju combo, I thought it would be fun to make a similar tumblr pertaining to my experiences living in Korea. I’m so Internet challenged it took me like 3 hours to figure out what a “gif” even was. I ended up starting the tumblr and sent it to a few friends as a joke. Some of them posted it to their facebook and all of a sudden people started following it. I couldn’t believe it.
Do you enjoy living in Korea? How long have you been here for?
I’ve actually only been here for about 9 months – so I definitely still feel like a rookie. With anything there are ups/downs/good/bad things (winter was a huge shock for me), but overall I’m really enjoying myself here. I’m actually leaving to travel in October and the two biggest things I’m worried about now is what to do with KIIK and my hamster Kalvin. Maybe I’ll hand it over to a friend, or open submissions up for anyone to post on the site. So if you know anyone who wants a blog, let me know. Funny thing is that it also comes with a hamster…
One of the reasons we find your blog so funny is because we can relate to almost all your posts. Have all these experiences happened to you?
Ha.. definitely not. I think some of the best posts on the site are other people’s submissions. I think that’s also the main reason why I try and be semi-anonymous about running KIIK. I don’t want to put my name on something that’s not entirely mine. That and if I post something lame, people won’t automatically assume it’s me.
Does blogging about Korea make you enjoy living here more?
I think blogging definitely makes me appreciate the little things here. I’ll come across a random situation, laugh about it and think “ohhh I should post something about this”.
What is the weirdest thing that has happened to you since being in korea?
How much time do you have? I suppose the most random weird thing that has happened to me was when I thought someone was breaking in to my apartment. It was just after midnight and I heard whispers and saw two shadows through my sliding glass door curtains. I jumped out of bed, pulled a Jaime Lee Curtis circa any Halloween movie by grabbing a butcher knife, and called my coteacher to come rescue me. Turns out it was two handymen hired to fix a leaky pipe. In the end, I think the men ended up getting more of a fright from the knife holding waygooks yelling at them in English. But seriously building repairs in the middle of the night? Oh, Korea.
What advice would you give to prospective teachers or travellers in South Korea?
I still feel like such a newbie here it seems silly for me to try and give any advice. I guess I realized early on that it’s better to ride the wave rather than go against it. Things will never be the same as they are back home. Some things are better here, some are worse. I think the people who enjoy their time most here are those who accept that, rather than try to fight it. So my advice is go with the flow. That, and never drink soju on an empty stomach.
Is there anything else you’d like to add or tell us about yourself and your blog?
Just a big thanks for all the nice messages everyone has sent to KIIK. Reading them definitely makes my day and encourages me to keep posting new ones. Also if you have a submission send it over in a message and include the tag line, gif, your name for credit, and the gif credit if applicable. If it puts a smile on my face and doesn’t make my Grandma cringe, you may just see it on the site soon.
Images are screenshots from #kikinitinkorea