There’s a documentary program called “3일” (3 Days) in South Korea.  They pick a place, and shoot the people’s daily life for 72 hours.  It’s quite fun program.  Last weekend, they filmed the program in Gimpo Airport.  Among the people they filmed, there was a couple.  A woman was departing, but man was staying.  The man didn’t look too happy.  The man was devastated after letting the woman go; and the woman kept crying behind the gate.

They are 조선족 (Chinese-Korean) couple who initially came to South Korea together for a good life (there are ton of Chineses, especially Chinese-Koreans coming over to South Korea for a better life; think of Mexican immigrants in the US).  The man got a work visa, so he could stay, start his journey toward the “Korean Dream.”  The woman couldn’t.  Her visa expired, and she now had to leave.  The man was still on his work visa (not ready to sign up for residence status), and since he was still in his initial stage of settling down, he couldn’t marry her.  The woman asked him to go back to China together; but obviously, the man refused since he would risk too much.  After all, he just got his cornerstone to build his dream and good life.

I shed tears.  I could identify so much with both of them.  I’m sure they worked hard, and I’m also sure they are good, honest people.  The devastation.  The feeling that there’s nothing you can do, and the knowledge of that the decision has been made by factors that is totally out of your control, are terrible.  Honestly, I don’t think I have not gotten over it completly yet.  There’s still a fear within me, especially because I will be heading to America soon again for higher education.  That’s why I worry too much and researching frantically.  I was in a same situation.  Someone I liked very much and I had to depart, because I couldn’t stay and he wasn’t ready to start a family.  Okay, that wasn’t the biggest for reason of our separation, but it had its part in the whole situation.

My mom was watching the program with me.  As she watches the woman sobbing, my mom said: “well, though seperating from someone you love hurts now, but it all gets better later on.”

I don’t disagree with my mom’s comment, but as I hear it, I felt as if there is a large river flowing between us.  Everyone has different responses.  Everyone’s experiences are different.

But in moments like this, I felt so lonely even though my family is right next to me, because I know I feel differently from rest of the people here. I know others would not understand.  So I don’t/can’t tell them.

2 responses »

  1. I’ve been watching the show Lost. Have you ever heard of it? It intrigues me many reasons, but I’m fascinated by the cultural differences in all the people that are survivors on the island. There is this Korean couple and they do flashbacks to people’s lives before the crash. For the Korean couple, you see how prominent respect and shame are within the society. I often think of you when I’m watching them. The interesting part is, they both start to change and shift their ways the longer they stay on the island because the people there because their new society. My point to all of this is, society plays such a huge role in what is accepted and not accepted. Being TCK’s, though, we are so much more accepting of different views and ways of life. I’m so sorry you feel alone and like your parents don’t understand. I know that must make you feel incredibly lonely. Just realize that you’re not alone and there are people who understand, they may just not be right next you right now. Hang in there!!

    • Thank you!!! It’s something we Seoul TCKs talk about a lot, that how society changes ppl and our behavior – especially for TCKs. Ranging from 40 something to 20 something of all different national background, we all agree that: when with “foreigners,” we light up and become really chatty. When with other Koreans, we just zip our mouth and say nothing except “yes” and nod.

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