Saturday, August 18, 2012

Korean Diary Day 10

~ The money tree.....it's in my pants! ~

Woke up in my clothes from last night.  Mom brought me home an orange juice.


She cooked breakfast for me today.  Sung Hyun went to meet him work buddies and I stuck around home.  I watched Korean TV.


I was trying to help mom in the kitchen.  Also, I'd like to know how she makes such good jjigae (soup) but she kicked me out.


Korean food for breakfast.  Although it was good, I much prefer this for lunch or supper.


Afternoon soy milk drink


Sung Hyun and his patbingsu (red bean) snack.


When it's all mixed together it's like the 'everything in your kitchen sink' snack.


We packed our bags because we were going to the beach.  When we got to Yeoundungpo station at 3:00 pm to purchase the train tickets there were standing seats only.  There was a sitting train that left after eight and would not get us to the beach until after 10 pm.  We sat down to check the weather forecast and it was rainy.  We decided the $60 tickets + whatever we'd pay for the hotel was not worth it if it was going to rain.  I'm sad we couldn't have a fun weekend with friends.


I parked my butt in the cafeteria and tried to get some school work done.  I wasn't successful so it looks like I'll take another stab at it tomorrow.


Dinner was teriyaki chicken



Sung Hyun had spicy octopus.  YUCK!

Then we went to another 4D movie, but this time it was in Korean.  Sung Hyun acted as a good translator.  When we got to the theatre we realized it was only 2D, meaning that only the seats moved, water sprayed, etc. 


Sung Hyun wanted a late night snack.  Delivery chicken it was!

Observations of the Day:

1.  What an unproductive and miserable day :(

2.  My Korean mom is so grumpy lately.  I've never seen her like this.  She hardly wants to talk to us.  The first week she was excited to see us.  Now it feels like she wants us to go back to Canada.  She barely responds to my questions.  If she does her answer is usually "I don't know".  "Hey mom, when do you want to come to Canada?"...."I don't know", "When you come visit us, which sister do you want to travel with?"....."I don't know",  "If I have a baby can I come here [to Korea], would you help me?".... "I don't know!"  I wish she'd communicate with us more.

3.  Sung Hyun is feeling the strain of being the only son.  Tonight when I was asking mom if she'd like to come to Canada to visit the conversation shifted towards her part-time job.  She said she's tired of working and the only reason she works is because she has to pay for her bills.  Sung Hyun told her that he was going to talk with his sisters so they could make a plan to help pay but she got upset and told him not to do that.  She told him to forget it.  He asked her why she said something to him in the first place if it didn't matter and she replied with "because you're my son".  Sung Hyun said "yah, so what?" and she said "you're my son".  Sung Hyun said "yah so why does that matter" and her response was "you're my son". 

Just so you all know, Sung Hyun was born with a penis!  Apparently it's also grows money.

13 comments:

David said...

korea is in a transitional stage when it come to son, mother and daughter-in-law relationship. juggling that fine line where the mother was raise with old value and the son and DIL with new is a very difficult thing. expecting the mother who was raised with old value to change would probably be a bad idea. i would seek the help of your husband's youngest sister with this matter (i am assuming she is more modern). i also recomend that you should also be more fexible and learn more about the DIL and MIL relationship in korea so that you can blend traditional with modern. i been there and fully understand how difficult this can be. good luck.

Anonymous said...

You feel like your mother-in-law has been a kind of weird since somedays ago. Right?
I think that she is already sad because you guys are coming back to Canada. She could cry alone at night when you are not at home or when you are sleeping.
How old is your MIL? (Sorry about the awkward question. I am Korean. It is important to understand your MIL.)
She could be my father's age. My dad is 68 years old. I understand what she says and what she means.
It doesn't mean that I like it but I am just able to understand her.

Why am I here??? said...

Thanks David. The tricky part is that mom doesn't openly communicate even with her own children. Sung Hyun is very closed b/c of this so we've worked hard as a couple to share our feelings. I am not being a good DIL in that while I'm here I'm not cooking/ cleaning for Sung Hyun. Sung Hyun's youngest sister doesn't have any contact with the family, and neither does the second oldest. I will update you on how things go.

Anony. Sung Hyun's mom is 73. Her husband died when Sung Hyun was 10 so she's lived independantly for more of her life. Do you think it's because I'm taking up her space. We are still here for another 10 days.

Shelley said...

Jenn- This is really difficult. In India, the son usually takes the responsibility of moving in with his parents with his wife and the dil becomes a sort of housemaid, in that she is there to take some of the burden off the mil. I think it was this way and still might be in Korea as well. Obviously, when I married Junayd, that was not going to happen. it was very hard for my in-laws. Though we have made a lot of headway, and have a pretty good relationship, our communication is still not great.
As a westerner and an opinionated independent female I am very open and honest about my feelings, which you would think was a good thing. But to them I come across as blunt and too honest. Here, like Korea, they have this idea of saving face, where they tell you one thing but it might mean something very different. For instance, my husband told me when my mil asks you something or asks you to do something, even if you disagree, just say yes, but do what you want. But that does not work for me, I would rather explain why I won't do it so the communication lines are clear. But it just doesn't work here. So while I might be communicating honestly, my mil is listening, saying this and that, but not really speaking from the heart, and it usually comes out later one way or the other that she has a problem with what I said or did, but never told me. It's so frustrating, because I think we could improve things so much just by communicating properly!
Recently (and sorry this is a book, but your post has really hit home), we spoke to my in-laws about us going to Canada. My husband had decided to start a business here in India, and we are giving it 6 months to make the uphill battle to start seeing profit, if it doesn't we plan to go by December 2012/January 2013. I told my husband that his mother doesn't want us ever to leave India, even though the opportunities and lifestyle is better for both of us and our children.He disagreed. Well. When we told her the plan she was visibly upset, pulled the "leave me and go, take my only son, and let me die alone" bull-crap with us.
I told her, look give me real solutions, if you want us to stay, how do we do it struggling in a country whose salary is so low even for people with very educated backgrounds? She was like if the business fails, then Junayd just gets another job. I was like, so you want us to struggle and struggle just because you want us to live in India?
It was a huge eye opener for both of us, and like you said your mom became your mil, well that day the friendship my mil worked so hard on these past 3 years pretty much died. I realized her selfishness of losing her son, outweighed her son being successful, her grandchildren getting pretty much free education (good schools here cost $3000-6000 per year). She told me I was cruel for taking her grandchildren away from her (even though my family has yet to meet my son). I got very angry and told her that they were my children and I would do what was best for them. And though her role as grandmother was important, it was secondary to that of us, as parents.
Look, it's difficult, and I'm telling you ALL this because yes I understand it is cultural. BUT, Indians and Koreans leave their country ALL the time for better opportunities. And I think in the end it comes down to wanting what is best for your children.
We have talked about bringing my MIL over to Canada.. She has a masters degree in English and a Masters in Philosophy. She could easily get a job teaching English as a professor or in a College. Have you thought about bringing your MIL back to Canada? Now that you have your own home, it might be possible right?
The point is, you are not a bad dil. I am not a bad dil. We are doing the best we can to do also what we were taught, and we are compromising. But our husbands also have to realize THEY married outside their culture too, and somehow we have to find a middle ground and pick our battles. Dealing with my in-laws has been the hardest part for me marrying outside my culture...

권투선수 에이미 [Amy] said...

Hey Jennifer,
How long are you in Korea for? I'm now officially done that English camp and am free to meet up with you guys. What's your plans for next week, perhaps I can come out your way and join you for half a day;) Cool, cool!

Anonymous said...

How about taking a short trip out of the city for 2-3 days and sleeping in a hotel? It will give her some room and give you guys a break and a chance to explore.

Why am I here??? said...

Hey anony. that's a fantastic idea. We just purchase tickets to Busan where we will spend 2 nights and 3 days by our glorious selves.

Why am I here??? said...

Amy I'll be in Korea until Aug 29 but this week is super busy as a result of booking a trip to Busan. I'm not sure what the ram. has planned for next week. Congrats on finishing the camp

Why am I here??? said...

Hi Shelley, I'm sorry your mil is acting unreasonable. It is obvious that she only wants her son in close proximity. I think you've given India a fair try given that you've been there for 5 years. Now it's your dads turn to spoil his grand kids. I would absolutely sponsor my mil in a heartbeat. She doesn't want to live in Canada bc she thinks she'll have no friends. MIT would be a difficult life for her in Canada but I already think she struggles here in Korea. Maybe when she comes for a visit she will see its a great place to live. I just know that she should decide sooner rather than later because paperwork would take like 3 years...Im guessing that she thinks when she decides to come to Canada shel'll just tell us and then she can come. I think your mil could have a successful career in Canadan if you both decided you want to have her there.

In terms of the saving face thing...that is certainly true in my case. I was just reading a university paper on this topic that you may find interesting. Ill post the link on your Facebook. I'm quitting FB at the end of Aug. so please add me to your email list at burtonite@hotmail.com

Why am I here??? said...

Hi Shelley, I'm sorry your mil is acting unreasonable. It is obvious that she only wants her son in close proximity. I think you've given India a fair try given that you've been there for 5 years. Now it's your dads turn to spoil his grand kids. I would absolutely sponsor my mil in a heartbeat. She doesn't want to live in Canada bc she thinks she'll have no friends. MIT would be a difficult life for her in Canada but I already think she struggles here in Korea. Maybe when she comes for a visit she will see its a great place to live. I just know that she should decide sooner rather than later because paperwork would take like 3 years...Im guessing that she thinks when she decides to come to Canada shel'll just tell us and then she can come. I think your mil could have a successful career in Canadan if you both decided you want to have her there.

In terms of the saving face thing...that is certainly true in my case. I was just reading a university paper on this topic that you may find interesting. Ill post the link on your Facebook. I'm quitting FB at the end of Aug. so please add me to your email list at burtonite@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

Is it possible your MIL is upset because she's afraid she's never going to get grandkids?

Even if she has them through her daughters, the son is different. (Especially if she's Buddhist, since traditionally it's the son's line that does all the honorific ceremonies for the ancestors.)

You have been rather flippant about having kids. Add to that the idea that you'll come to Korea without your husband--which, in her mind, means you certainly won't have kids by next summer since you wouldn't leave the baby at home in Canada and/or continue your studies... Maybe that's part of why she's grumpy.

As for the money thing, you have written a lot about your money and how you used your money to support her. I wonder if maybe your harbor some resentment about making more than your husband?

If SH were making a lot more than you, would you begrudge his only/eldest son duties? You certainly don't have to answer that. Just some food for thought.

Why am I here??? said...

Hi anony. Your comment made me think a lot. I have a reply but it's too personal for this blog. Can you please email me at burtonite@hotmail.com so we can carry on this conversation. Just send me a comment when you have sent the email so I can check in my junk mail. Thanks, Jennifer

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

Sorry to hear that your Korean mom is grumpy lately :-( Hopefully things get better before you go home.