Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fresh Off the Boat

So I was hanging out with some friends on Friday night, when they introduced me to a new word that I never heard of before.

They kept talking about how "FOB" someone was or that was a "FOB"ie thing to do...
I kept hearing them use it, and I was totally confused by what they meant. So I finally asked what it meant.

Apparently it means "Fresh Off the Boat". I don't know what happened to the letter "T" in that acronym, it probably got left off for pronuciation purposes.

I know its probably not the most politically correct word (if you really knew me you would know I really wouldnt care if it was or not...lol), but I figure its ok since they were using it to describe themselves and their friends.

From what I gather it is similar to what Koreans refer to as Gyopos. Except FOB could mean any ethnicity, not just Korean. It just so happens that some of these friends happen to be Korean.

The term FOB is a little confusing because some of the people they were referring too, had been born in the US. Meanwhile I was not considered a FOB, even though I was born overseas and literally came here on a boat (or airplane...modern times equivalent). "FOB" apparently has more to do with culture than actual geography.

Since I am practically "white" in terms of speaking, thinking, and culture I don't qualify as a "FOB". While some people who have always lived in the US, have had enough of an influence from environmental factors such as family members to be classified as a "FOB".

I guess "FOB"s are people who might not understand idioms or irony when used in the English language. The way they think or their values may be different from "mainstream" society in the US. This part I have a little bit harder time understanding. But I think a "FOB" relates to a foreign culture. Not to say they have not done a good job of integrating, but to say that they have exterrior influences beyond the US.

This is a very interesting topic to me; which is obviuosly why I am writing about it. I was wondering if anyone else out there has heard this terminology and their thoughts on what it means. Do you consider yourself a "FOB"ie? I guess those of you in Korea from the US would be "FOB"s in Korea...lol, there's a little irony.

To be honest, a part of me is a little jealous of "FOB"s. I can't explain why. I think its because Ive worked so hard all of my life to be integrated into American society, that I "lost" my "FOB"ness, and now I found a whole "pocket" of "FOB"s. I think maybe its a new thing to me so I am fascinated by it. I have never known that many people who would be classified as "FOB"s, now in St. Louis I have a lot of "FOB" friends. Maybe its my fascination with learning and experiencing new things, maybe I want to experience what its like to be "FOB"...lol. I think it would be easier for me to just move somewhere else in the world and become "FOB" there.

I do have to say, I consider myself lucky to find so many cool "FOB" friends.


  1. haha yes I am very familiar with this word. I usually use it when talking about the international students I know (rich Korean kids studying in America) but lately it's about me -- I have a fobby haircut and fobby clothes and when I go back to America my friends will think I am such a fob.

  2. i'm a closet fob. ahha. i can't believe youve never heard of it!

  3. LoL Lann!
    Who do you think I was talking about when I wrote: "and now I found a whole "pocket" of "FOB"s"...lol

    Stealing from Jeff Foxworthy...

    You might be a FOB if...

    You and your family watch Korean Dramas while eating dinner!!!!