Monday, April 1, 2013

This Is the End, Beautiful Friend...

As I sit here waiting to leave I can't help but be overwhelmed with melancholy. South Korea has become home over the past year and a half. I broke down last night and cried. Not for the first time over leaving but definitely the hardest cry. Daric wanted to know why I didn't cry that way when we left Fort Leonard Wood or when I left California. He even asked why I didn't cry like that when I was leaving Germany when I had visited him. He jokingly commented how I must not love him to have not cried this way over leaving him back then. He knows that's not true. I can't label why I'm so heartbroken over this move. Daric has his theories but even I'm not certain why I'm feeling this way.

Would I be feeling this way if all my friends had already left like the Fort so when it's my turn I'm fine with it? I honestly have no idea. All I know for certain is I'm sad and confused. Confused? Yes, confused. You see there are a great deal of Facebook pages that are pertaining to being stationed in South Korea. There are different spouse pages, yard sale pages, info pages, etc. I had to remove all but 3 of those pages because they were making me angry last year. Why were they angering me? Because there was an overwhelming amount of people on those pages bashing Korea. Either they had chosen to stay in the states while their spouse did his year long tour over here so they knew nothing but rumors, or they had come over not sponsored so they only had to stay a year and instead of taking advantage of the opportunity they squandered the chance of a lifetime being miserable because this isn't the U.S., or they came over sponsored and were "stuck" here for the 2 years with their spouse, as a family, but miserable because they were expecting America. It baffled me at first how so many of those spouses didn't realize they got on an international flight to come over here. It baffled me they didn't understand they were no longer in America. Then it started angering me because there would be families asking questions, worried about coming over and all they had to say was negative. How could you say anything negative about Korea?

Koreans are rude! No they're not rude. Americans have the concept of personal space, Koreans don't. If you're in the way then you need to move or they're going to push past you without an excuse me because that is just their way. This is their country, NOT ours! Acclimate.

Koreans hate Americans. If Koreans hated us then why does the military make us live amongst them? If Koreans hated Americans then why isn't there way more violence against us? I'll tell you what Koreans hate, and I can't say I'm not with them on this one. Koreans hate disrespect. We have a great majority of soldiers fresh out of basic and AIT coming over here being barely over 18 years old, first time on their own and they show it. They act disrespectful and disgrace the American image. Would you appreciate an invited house guest coming into your home only to treat it like a dump? I think not.

Your husband will cheat on you whether you're with him or not. If your husband is going to cheat on you the locale doesn't make a difference. *See above reference to barely over 18 year old soldiers. Too many kids are in a rush to prove they're an adult. They join the military, their girlfriend becomes their wife far too young in my opinion, they are feeling trapped because they're so young and already have a wife maybe a kid on the way or already had a kid, they have friends who don't have any attachments i.e. wife, kids and watch them "living the life" of bachelorhood and want the same. It's a sad state indeed. No one should get married before the age of 25 and kids shouldn't come before 30...but that's just my opinion and if you know me then you know I didn't follow my own advice on the matter. (which is why I feel that way!)

I could go on with the slew of moronic statements these people have made but I won't because I take it personally. It's a personal slap in the face for me. I must have been Korean in a past life...

I have NEVER in the entire time we've lived out here encountered these rude, American hating Koreans. Even when I'm in the exact place they are. I smile, I bow my head, I say hello in Korean, I make the effort to show respect and you know what happens? I GET TREATED WITH RESPECT!! What a foreign concept. So what I'm saying is that if you give respect you get respect? Whoa! Mind = Blown! I know I have a friend or two who'll want to fight me over this point, I'm never disrespectful but they are, well I don't know what to tell you. In my experiences with Koreans I've never had those issues so I don't know what I'm doing differently. Maybe it's the way I approach them or the way I interact. My body language is saying friend, maybe yours isn't. Even when I'm frustrated because of the language barrier I still maintain respect. I don't change my tone to a disrespectful tone because that will translate even if the words aren't. Maybe Koreans just like brown people, I don't know! All I know is that we lived in the thick of Korea. There were few, if any, other Americans living around us so when we went to the stores or restaurants around the house English was extremely limited and yet we still managed to develop friendships with the restaurant owners we'd see fairly regularly. There was a chicken restaurant directly across the street from the house and the owner made the effort to learn some English words to better communicate with us. When we first started going there she spoke not a word. Ordering involved much pointing and hand gestures. When we ate there for the last time she understood when we told her we were leaving and even though a slew of Korean came flying out when she was saying goodbye she still tried to throw out the only English words she knew. She came out of the kitchen to give us all hugs and love on the kids and say "visit" over and over. Every time Daric went there she'd give him something for "service". We'd always get a freebie. That last meal was no different.

Koreans are warm, kind and giving. I can't even count the number of things the kids have gotten for free or were given by Koreans. I always felt bad for taking anything they tried to give me, always offering to pay or give them some monetary compensation only to be told no, gift. If only everyone were as generous. And maybe that's why this is so hard. I've finally found a place where I fit in. We are a large family. We go out to eat and our kids are noisy and make a mess unintentionally, they're kids. We're all guilty of wishing ill on "that" family in the restaurant. Here we never got those looks or felt like we were bothering other patrons. I would try to clean up the mess they made on the floor or table since I felt bad and they'd always shoo me away saying ok, ok. I give, unconditionally. I don't expect anything in return when I'm generous. If I pay for something when you can't I don't expect an I.O.U. or a date when I'll be reimbursed. It's ok, get me back when you can or don't even worry about it. There are much more important things in this world than money. When a group of Korean friends go out to eat, 1 of them pays for everyone but it's ok because next time someone else will pay. It's more important to go out and spend time with your friends or family than to keep tabs on exactly how much everyone's portion of the bill is. I like that. Maybe I really was Korean in a past life...

So what was the point of this entry? Honestly I don't know. I'm just sitting here, watching the time go by as I wait for my ride to the airport and I felt the need to get some things off my chest. Whether this made sense or whether it was all just a regurgitation of random thoughts and feelings onto the computer, I hope it made you smile.

And with that I will say for the last time, 안녕히 가세요 (annyeonghi gaseyo)! I am going to miss you Korea but I will return some day.

Good morning, afternoon or night where ever you are in the world from our traveling family to yours.

what a difference a year makes...
I came with babies, I'm leaving with kids!

no doubt about it...this baby is Korean!

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