Tag Archives: father

My Father is Constant Reminder for Why I Never Think Korean-Korean Guy as My Partner.

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I thought things have been going alright between my father and me.  I don’t mean that we started to talk so much and spent a lot of time together under rainbows and flowers and unicorns.  He didn’t pick on me, and I just kept my head low and did my things.  Well, there was a reason things were going too well, because he picked on me. Again. For nothing.

Few days ago, I ordered a gadget which I’ve used back in the States.  My father wondered what it is, so I handed him the manual.

Father: well, if you want me to read it, you’ll have to turn on the lights and get me my glasses.

So I rise from my chair to do them.  Then he said it’s not necessary, he was only joking, and I take everything too seriously.

My reaction?  What the fuck.

If someone handed you a manual, you can surely get your glasses and turn on the lights on yourself.  It’s not that difficult.

Earlier on that day, he said my amount of studying is nothing compared to what he did back in high school and college, and how he studied until he nosebleed. Guess what.  You were in your own country, your mom doing all your laundry and getting your meal.  You just had to study, not to worry about paying the bill on due date, tax filing, location of Korean supermarket and how to manage your movement for weekend shopping so you can do grocery shopping AND still work on your 40 pg paper, and most importantly, constantly worrying about your language skills, because you were studying in your first language.  And you just nosebleed a lot: doctor said you just have weak blood veins in nose.

Today, I was busting my butt off for working on some of the last sections of my online course (I am getting tired of this. Urgh).  It was near dinner time, so I called my mom’s cell to check where she is about.  No answer.  Maybe she’s back at home.  So I called home.  Father answered.

I: Is mom there yet?
Father: No, she’s not here yet.  I’ll call her.
I: No, that’s fine.  I called her a minute ago and she’s not answering.
Father: Okay I’ll call her.

…Did he not hear me? Nevertheless, I said I’ll be back.  On the way back, I had a bad craving for Garden Fresh Pizza from Papa John’s, so I dropped by to pick it up.  I made it back to home, with deliciously smelling fresh-cooked pizza (note: my father doesn’t like “healthy” “vegetable” stuff.  He doesn’t even try it, or try to). I said hello to him, sat down and munched down my pizza.  Then he found me with my pizza.

Father: Is that your dinner?
I: Yes?
Father: Then why didn’t you call me? I’ve been waiting so we can eat together.  What you did is rude.

I was dumbfounded.  Rude? If he is the kind of guy who just can’t eat alone, I’d knew it.  But he is man who can set his own table and eat alone (note2: as a Korean man, he deserves credit for this one).  If I remember correctly, there was no mention of anything like “let’s eat together” or “I’ll wait.”  To be honest, I’d rather drink a cup of milk for my dinner instead of having 5-star French course meal with my father only.

But, what can I say as a powerless daughter of Korean family.  I just said “yes, yes, my fault, sorry about it.”  So I ate my yummy pizza and he had his dinner in the kitchen.

After he finished eating, then he started picking on me again.  That:

– It is so ludicrous that I didn’t even call that I’ll just have my pizza for dinner while he is waiting for me.
* My answer: you didn’t say anything about it.  How the hell would I figure that out?  I’m no mind reader.

– Are you ignoring me? You don’t feel any weight around me?
* My answer: no, more like I want to minimize my contact with you, because I don’t feel like developing a good relationship with someone who can’t put his/her feet to others’ shoes and doesn’t give any single credit to others who are different from yourself.  So I guess my answer to your 2nd question is yes…?

Then he AGAIN complained how I don’t ever greet him in the morning or evening.
*My answer: AGAIN, I have my agenda to run, and my way of getting things done.  You didn’t really call me anyway like other fathers back in my school.  I didn’t complain.  You are complaining.    If you are grown up, you really should not expect others to do it for you.

Of course I didn’t say any of my answers out loud.  I just say yeah, yeah, sorry *munch my pizza*.

He still wants to be babysitted.  He doesn’t understand other family members have their own life and their own things to do, and not everyone will be just sitting there, waiting for him.  He doesn’t think that there are different ways of doing things done; and he thinks it’s bad because it’s nothing like his way.

Unless he approves that there are different ways, and accepts that his daughter grew up in a very different culture/surrounding from his, there will be no improvement.  That’s the minimum starting point.  But now I really don’t hope for anything.

He is a constant reminder of why I don’t like Korean-Korean guys and never consider them as a potential partner.

Decision Made

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I’ve been busy with additional documents and catching up my online pre-law class.  Sorry blog and readers.  I don’t know how the things will turn up, but for now it’s not great.  Yes I bombed my LSAT.  And the recession is making everyone to fly into law school and LSAT.  I was rejected from 50% of the schools I applied.  I haven’t heard or am waitlisted/held in other schools.  And all the schools I really want to go held me.  Sometimes I don’t know whether I am heading to the right path – but then, I don’t really have other option do I?  The economy is bad here as well, and Korean firms don’t like me.  Working surrounded by Koreans is suffocating.  I don’t have green card or citizenship.  I can’t just go to US or Hong Kong and get a job.  I used up all of my LSAT slots, so I can’t take it until 2014. On a good side, I did get into all of my safe schools but…they are safes.  I don’t know.  I just don’t want to be in that situation again – where I can’t even apply for a position because I don’t have the residential right even though I fit in their job description, or job offer canceled at the last moment. So…that’s pretty much what was my life like.

Right, now to the main story.  Though I rant a lot about my father, a small portion of my mind has been wishing that things will get better eventually.  As of today, I gave all my hopes and expectations on my father.  He is so full of himself, and it’s impossible to have any kind of conversation with him.  I know he’s doing what he can, and I have a lot of respect and gratuitous for him supporting his family.  He deserves massive credit for it.  BUT, other than that part, I despise everything else about him.  I want to keep some distance from him (which, clearly, isn’t working well).  I can’t wait until I frigging leave here.

Here’s what happened.  Last night, my father called me to dinner table.  Not a good sign, but oh well.  He asked about how’s my admission going.  So I told him.  Then he asked about my GPA and test score.  Not the most glorious numbers, but I told him.  I don’t know how the story progressed, but what started with “what do you think? do you want to go law school?  are you sure you are not dazed with just images of lawyer?” soon became how he thinks I’m impolite, disrespectful and..all that old shit again.  So I just put my mask on again, just said yes, yes, okay, sorry.  I can’t fucking believe he still brought up that incident before my LSAT. And still never thinks about my position. I am the one who actually took the test and wrote and sent all my applications.  No one can be happy/upset/disappointed as much as I do.   Sounds like he doesn’t think so, because he is to concerend about how he doesn’t get respect and stuff.

Then both my mom and dad insisted me to say something.  Really? I know better than that.  I asked, “well, what do I have to say?  You won’t listen nor understand…”  Again, they asked why. Well, they asked.

“Whenever I say what I think, dad always says I’m either rude, impolite, or disrespectful.  When I make a small complaint, mom always says I can’t think like that, but instead grateful and there are hundreds of other people out there who is like me so I shouldn’t complain.  If I get same replies over and over, what’s the use for me to say my opinions?”

My mom somewhat understood.  Father insisted he has never done that.  Bullshit.  The minimum I remember is 3 times.  When both my mom and I pointed that out, only then he apologized, with massive unnecessary excuses of “I don’t remember saying such things.”  All and all, everything looked like it’s all wrapped up nicely.

But it wasn’t.

It started off as a good day.  I spent too much time taking online lessons and making my notes, so I decided to take a day off.  My mom and I went to a local outlet.  Everything was built in “American size” (=not packed like Seoul) so it was very good.  Father came back, and all hell broke loose again.

Apparently, he was upset that I didn’t say clear apology for that goddamn incident.  Jesus Christ.  Any average person would think it’s all the story of past, especially after a conversation with a nice wrap up.  So I just went usual, saying okay, okay, sorry, sorry.  But he went on and on and on, saying how he should have really give me hard time on that moment.  I’m pretty stressed these days again, and I couldn’t just frigging believe he’s still on it. So I finally said:

“Look, I am sorry about how I responded.  But don’t you think you could just hold it until my test ends? And spank me or handle stuff in any way you want?”

Yeah, I should have just held my tongue.  He got furious, saying that now I’m trying to “teach” him.  What? What the?  He also said I was really rude to him when he asked some computer stuff to me.  I really don’t think that is true, because knowing is temper and learned from experience, I did my best to not to raise my voice when helping him out.  I think it’s just his sense of inferiority.  Somehow it was wrapped up and I kept watching the show I was watching.  Then, 10 minutes later, he yelled again and made an ugly scene.  So I started that okay okay sorry routine again.  Then he said I’m being sarcastic and I don’t mean it.  Jesus,  What does he want from me?

He also said I’m being rude, that I keep glaring his eyes.  First, I wasn’t staring his eyes.  Second, I fucking grew up in the States, where it is rude to NOT look at someone’s face/eyes when talking.  If he sent his kid to the States, has that much admiration to a foreign country, and watches plenty of American TV shows, he should’ve known it.  I couldn’t take it anymore.  I said that is so not true.

“Look, you seem like you think conversation as figuring out who’s bad, who’s good and whose fault it is.  I think conversation is stating each other’s thoughts, and just respect that difference – at least that’s the starting point.  So I say what I think, as you asked.  Then your response is how I’m being rude and disrespectful.  How can we actually understand each other if we can’t even agree on where to begin?”

It looked like he eased down a bit, but then it was all about himself, again.  How he feels lonely, sometimes sad, working hard to support family so I should treat him well and just try to understand him more. Okay, fine, points taken.

I understand sometimes it’s lonely to have no one to say hello and goodbye, or prepare your meal.  It’s nice to have them.  BUT isn’t that most part of the life?  It sucks, and sometimes it gets terribly lonely, but in the end, there will be no one (or very few number of people) there to babysit you, so you’d better know how to handle the situation.  I hate to say this to my own family member, but the whole thing sounds like him playing the baby.

But if we wants such a treatment from someone else, shouldn’t he first try to put his feet in other’s shoes?  For instance, he always says I and my mom shouldn’t cut in when he’s talking.  But he ALWAYS cuts in when my mom and I are talking.  Who is he to say cutting in is impolite?  How can he actually understand someone if he’s lens to the world is wrong/right and filled with sense of inferiority?  How can he expect to someone to actually apologize, when he doesn’t even remember his faults (or refuse to admit) yet acts really annoyingly picky about other’s fault on him?  How can he expect someone to be good to him when he is so full of himself?

I don’t want him making all that visual gestures of niceness and friendliness, like holding my hands.  Stop.  That’s just vain.  Just look yourself around, and try to change your mind and behavior.

So as I wrote above, as of today, I give up all of my hopes on father.  Which actually feels pretty good, because now I don’t have to be frustrated or worry.

Wall

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I always feel as if I am talking to a wall whenever I “talk” with my dad.  We are a pair of parallel lines.  I think I already wrote this for a million times – how he wants me to explain something, to have a “conversation,” or asks me about my thoughts; and how I state my thoughts; and him picking on me, usually saying how my way of talking doesn’t suit his preference, or how I am being rude.  Then I try to explain.  Then again he thinks I’m rebelling or something (I’m too old to be a ‘rebel.’ Please.).

If you have been reading my blog (thank you), you know what my culture-conscious solution is.  I just zip my mouth, say yes to whatever.  Then the household peace is realized.  My dad complains about it, saying how I don’t share stuff with him.  I don’t intend to do it, at least for a while.  Because, if I do so, there are things he doesn’t know, which leads me having to explain.  And if I do the “explaining…” you know what will happen (for the reference, read the earlier paragraph).

Here’s what really put me off.  He wasn’t the kind of dad who calls/e-mails his kid frequently, unlike some parents who sent their kids to boarding school.  Not even once I envied them or upset at my dad.  I didn’t get into any trouble.  I managed my daily life.  I did better than average.  All was good, without him directly intervening.

Then, all of sudden, after I moved in with my family, he complains how I don’t share stuff, and tries to execute authority on me.  If I were still a teenager, sure, I understand.  But I’m well over the legal adult age.  I have work experience.  His experience and my experience are two completely different thing.  I respect that.  He doesn’t seem so.  How can you share something and understand each other, unless both parties respect each other, and recognize they are different?

Long story short, here’s what happened today:

While I was busting my brain with LSAT and applications, he said maybe it’s a good idea to take a course in accounting, or finance whenever I’m free.  I agreed, and looked up for some courses.  It turns out all hagwons I could find were either for government certification exam, or using Korean SW (which, of course, is not used in countries other than South Korea).  What I wanted was a general intro class.  I felt exam prep courses are too serious for me, and learning only some Korean finance SW seems to be too limited and waste of money.

Then, I heard that though getting a job in the States might be tough, Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Japan can be different story.  As someone going for an occupational school and dying to secure employment in international Asian places out of South Korea after graduation, I thought learning Chinese can be a good option.

After weighing my options, I went for Chinese.  Yes, learning about accounting and finance is very helpful.  However, it’s not my immediate need, and it is less related to my goal.  Besides, I couldn’t find any courses that suit my needs.  If I get a job and luckily start to build my career, the finance/accounting knowledge will be handy only then.  Maybe I will be in MBA.  Who knows.  I’ll need them if I happened to specialize in tax/financial law.  But that ‘s not going to happen soon – I’ll be one of those pathetic 1Ls who are just struggling to stay afloat.  What I know is, it all starts AFTER I graduate and get a job.  And for now, my priority goal is to get a job in international Asian places.  I will have a bit more edge in the market with foreign language skill (which, by the way, I already speak two).

I was talking with my mom about potential Chinese courses.  All of sudden, my dad called me to come to his room.  Ooops, not a good sign, here it goes again.  Clearly he wasn’t too happy about my decision.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he said “are you not respecting what I said?”  He didn’t.  Instead, he kept going on, trying to convince me that I need to take finance courses.

Math is all about logics.  Wouldn’t you need it for case analysis and such? Wouldn’t you need it since you are going to law school? Like, case analysis, tax laws, and business law.”

– Er, well, pre-law courses I’m looking at are much more directly related (and if academic math is that helpful, I honestly think it would be better to go to academic math hagwon instead of accounting hagwon…obviously I didn’t say this out loud).  And, all that tax and business specialization happens after 1st year.  1st year, you just take common subjects and none of them are finance related.  I’m not even in school yet.  I don’t know what I’m going to specialize in, and I think taking finance and accounting courses then will be far much more useful.  I’m going to take Chinese courses, because there seems to be much more job openings in places under Chinese influence.  And that’s my priority at the moment.

What about the speech courses?
– It’s only about 8-10 sessions, once in a week and I can get discount.  I can do it while taking pre-law courses.

As you can imagine, he started to preach about my way of talking.  Dear God.  How I just cut in, make him uncomfortable as if I am teaching something, how listening improves the mood, etc.  If I need a speech class for that sense, he needs to be in it, too.  His speech is flying everywhere, so many times my mom and I have to “what ? wait what? what’s your point?”  And he cuts in all the time.  And he preaches.  I guess it’s okay when HE cuts in and not listen, but I can’t cut him in and not listen.  Another thing that puts me off.  Why does he keep pointing fingers at me, especially on things he knows no better than I do?

He concluded saying “I know less than you do in this field.  But I’m uncomfortable to ask because you just pour it out, as if you look down on me.”

Honestly, I’m satisfied with it.  If he really want my answer or explanation on something he doesn’t know, it’s him who needs to start to listen and not cut in.  From the beginning, I have had no intention to “look down” on my dad.  It’s him who feels that way – like hundreds of other Korean men.  Few days ago, I read an article by a chef and a high-end restaurant owner.  They all agreed how Koreans get angry whenever someone tries to correct/teach the proper table manner with good intention.  Quoting from them: “it’s the inferiority complex.  For some reason, not knowing and someone merely pointing it out is translated to ‘oh, right, this guy is slighting me!'”

I do pour it out and I do cut in my dad.  Why? I usually spend a lot of time thinking through, and usually have my answers ready when someone asks for my reasoning behind certain decision.  And I don’t want to have a long conversation with someone who regards my statements and reasonings as “being impolite.”  I guess it’s kind of “you asked, here’s your answer, done.”  I don’t want any nonsense stuff raining on me just because of someone’s authority.

If he knows that I know a bit better, than maybe it’s better to leave me to handle this.  After all, it’s my burden and it’s something I can’t just pass to others.

I wonder when he would accept that his world and my world are completely different, have even a minimum understanding of why I act “impolite,” and stop rubbing his values in my face.

Why is it me always have to say sorry?

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You’ve probably heard stories about Asian dad.  Though exaggerated, it does have some grain of truth.  Tell me about it, because I am living with one, and I bet you know some of the past troubles if you’ve been reading my blog.  Sure, he’s not the worst and he’s doing his best.  But what drives me absolutely crazy is that…there’s no “communication.”   He says it’s conversation/communication.  Well, not really.  It’s more like him lecturing. 
Tomorrow’s my big day.  So I prepared everything and planned what I will to today before going to sleep.  My parents know it is my big day.  I will be fu*king anxious and touchy for all day (and, readers, it will be easy to infer that I will go nuts if something doesn’t go like my plan.  We all do, no?)  It will be a long day tomorrow, meaning I will need a nice snack.  There’s a particular bread that I know which would be a good snack for a day like tomorrow, so I bought one and came back home. 
What if my dad eats it away, like he always does?
The thought has occurred, but I soon thought, naaah.  He knows it’s my big day tomorrow.  He really wouldn’t think it is coincidence that there is a single loaf of small chubby bread with potato fillings on the table, from a store that is not near from our home.  He knows better.  Besides, after doing the same thing over and over, he developed a habit of asking “okay to eat this?”  Yeah, it will be alright.
As I was preparing my early dinner, my dad came.  So we ate together.  He didn’t ask for more food.  Usually, he goes to his room or watch TV after dinner.  That’s what I expected. 

I dropped by my room to check my materials for tomorrow.  I came out, and could not believe my eyes.  The bread bag opened, my dad munching a good half of the bread away in one bite, saying “this is greasy.  Ew.”  You can imagine how I got really flipped.  Or how my face would have been turned white.
“Why would you eat that!?  It’s my meal for tomorrow!  You know what’s coming up!”
My dad looked like a bit startled, and said he will get another one, but I really did not care.  He can’t tell the difference between bread shops nor where’s the place.  Or what kind.  I was pissed, and all I could do was wishing that the bread store is still open, and the bread I got is still there (it’s Saturday and breads are sold out quickly on Friday and Saturday).  I just slammed the door and ran out. 

 Fortunately, I was able to get the breads.  While I was angry because of his thoughtlessness, I knew it would be better to not to make a big deal about it (it’s hard to stay calm and relaxed before big day, and that was my primary aim for today – to stay calm and go to bed in a relatively good mood).  Alright, if he’s there, I’ll just joke about it or keep myself quiet.’
He was in his room, so I thought “right, no big deal, I’ll just play some game and watch TV and go to bed.”  He came out from his room, as if he is going somewhere.  All of sudden, he said to me, “don’t you think you have something to say?”
Oh no.  You got to be kidding. 

According to the Asian rules of indirect communication, that is roughly translated as “you did something bad and you’d better apologize for it.”  But hey, here’s my question.  One, though I was pissed and it affected my mood control before big day, is it really that much of a big deal?  Two, if this really is a something to decide guilt and innocence, is it my bad?  For both questions, my answer is no.  In addition, it is my big big day tomorrow.  And he’s picking on a fight.  Fuc* me.
I simply said (speaking in honorifics), “look, I got the breads again, so it’s all sorted out.”
Guess what his response was: “Oh, so it’s just that simple, huh?”
I was like OMFG LEAVE ME ALREADY ALONE YOU ALREADY SCREWED MY MOOD CONTROL BEFORE MY BIG DAY but of course, instead of saying it, I said, “Yes, indeed.”  He left.
I mean, is it really a big deal though I’m not too happy about the incidence?  Does he want to set his “authority” that badly?  Even before his daughter’s big day, in a situation like Eminem’s Lose Yourself lyric?  (“You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow”).  So as you can see, I ended up blogging because I needed a release.
Honestly, it’s not just my problem.  A Korean-American friend of mine once told me: her parents would just break into her room without knocking.  That part is understandable.  Well, but whenever she’s startled by this sudden break-in, somehow, SHE has to apologize for nothing.  She’s not on drug or sneaking some boys in.  It’s not a big deal, but if someone has to apologize for this situation, it really should be her parents.  But somehow, she ends up apologizing.  It drives her nuts.
Another Korean-American friend of mine has a lot of similar stories with me regarding his dad.  He understands his dad isn’t the bad guy and he is doing what he can.  BUT still, it irritates him whenever his dad goes “we need to talk,” but really he means “I will give you a long lecture and you don’t dare to speak back to me.”  So, my friend found a nice solution, just like mine: whenever his dad says something , he just shuts and say “oh, yes, you are right, I’m sorry.  All good?” 
Dad might get some authority and keeping of his face and no-talking kids, but not a communication.  So Asian dads, don’t ever complain about how your kids are shutting you away and you feel isolated from the family as time goes by.

I Blame It on the Magnesium Powder

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I know there are so much more pressure on women’s look in South Korea than Midwestern America (where I grew up), and I also know the place of my residence is known as the mecca of plastic surgery in the entire South Korea.  But still, I had too much trouble with my parents because of this.

My mom just wouldn’t stop talking about my looks.  When I was working in the office, she kept going on and on and on and on about how I look fat and unattractive.  I said my BMI index is fine.   Of course this didn’t stop her.  Fortunately, she became aware of my LSAT stress and the effect of it (= losing weight) so she stopped talking about it.  Then another issue came up – clothing.

As someone grew up in Midwestern America, I really don’t care much about clothing, unless I am going some kind of social or formal occasion.  As long as I  wear something that is not embarrassing and appropriate of the time, place and occasion, that’s it.  For other times, I should be able to wear whatever I want, and people shouldn’t give a damn about it either – especially when I am going to spend next 5 hours sitting in the library, struggling with LSAT questions. Think about it – do you want to wear fluffy spring maxi dress with toe-tightening shoes when you know you’ll have to walk with a heavy backpack and sit down for more than 4 hours?  I know I don’t.

But she thought differently.  And she just can’t say it in a nice way either.

In addition, she’d always say how I need to get a plastic surgery on here and there.  Unfortunately, my stress resistance gauge was already at its peak, all thanks to LSAT.  For several times, I said to her without getting upset, that all I am focusing now is LSAT and such, so it would be very nice if she can at least tone it down.  She said yes.  But again, of course, she wouldn’t listen.  She listened to me only after I screamed and cried and threw stuff around.  Then she accused me how I did not tell her beforehand.  Oh gawd.

I don’t want to be a drama queen – the thing is, she’d listen only when I become a drama queen.

Then there’s my dad.

I know I blogged a lot about my dad.  Since then, I think he figured out how to keep a safe distance from me, which is really nice.  But then, he’s still awkward.  One day, I suspect my mom talked him about how stressed out I am (and thus behaved like a drama queen…*facepalm* if only she did not mention about clothing/plastic surgery again!!!)  Then all of sudden, he started to get my backpack, and give me random neck massage.  Uh, thanks, but really this is awkward, and it wouldn’t magically make you a caring dad, so the best way is just let me be and give a bit of moral support.  That will do.

I was on my way to the local department store, and ran into my dad.  We said hi and all.  Then all of sudden, he started to mention how I should keep my upper and lower teeth together – because I’m not doing it, and it makes me look like an idiot.  Oh thank you very much for your kind words.

I have been loosened my jaws intentionally, ever since the oriental medicine doctor (for non-Asian readers: in many parts of Asian countries, oriental medicine doctors ARE formally educated medical doctors with PhD, managed by governments) told me I put too much pressure on my jaws by tightening up way too much – all that anxiety, tensions and stress.  Not only this affect my blood circulation, but it also made their treatment difficult – they couldn’t get the acupuncture needle in my jaws.

So I explained this.  Then my dad told me how he doesn’t trust them and he knows better.  I had enough comments about my looks from my own parents.  I was annoyed. Making the matter worse, my mom was helping him along.

“Mom, dad, seriously, can we just stop talking about me?!?!”

Then my dad got upset because I “talked back,” and behaved in a rude way (I can’t really recall – as he started this, I really didn’t give a flying f*ck, thinking ‘here it goes again…’).

Here’s the funny thing.  Though I have that problems with my mom, I somewhat understand her.  You can tell she really cares about looks and such.  But my dad isnt’ as sophisticated as my mom.   He never ever helps with the house chore – he thinks as long as he dumps the bowls in the sink (without filling the water), he gets a big pat on his shoulder.  He’d simply command “hey, you need to wipe the table” and walks away into his room.  He never ever answers the home phone.  He doesn’t even know how to make a tea out of teabag and a cup of hot water (I still can’t believe this).

He can’t keep his clothing together with time/place/occasion, nor social.  His table manner isn’t great either (for this I am grateful to my mom) – he’d goggle with the water after we finish eating, he frequently makes sound when chewing, and he would jab his spoons into pretty much everything on the table.   My mom or I would comment on this once in a while, but he never takes it seriously.  I guess, for these reasons, sometimes it’s hard to take his “advice.”  I can’t help myself thinking “so you are advising me on right clothing/posture/behavior while you can’t even dress properly or keep up with the table manner?”  He admires the western lifestyle.  At the same time, he can’t take his daughter who integrated the western lifestyle.  Once, as we were watching some travel TV program on Belgium, he said “they have a lot more relaxed lifestyle than us.  I think I will fit in there.”  I almost laughed – you never know what it takes to be in the world of individualism, especially being prepared to cover your own butt for every situations.

Thinking about bringing my future fiance to my family dinner scares me because of this.  If we have dinner at some restaurant, my dad won’t be natural at all, never enjoying it.  He’d think it as a work, not as an enjoyable meal.  If we bring him to our family dinner, then my future fiance will have to see my dad absolutely not keeping up with the table manner.  Marrying off without notifying my parents is a really convincing option to me at this point.

I understand the parental care and love and all that stuff.  But why can’t they just listen to me and give me some credit when I talk them nicely?  Why only listen to be after I end up screaming like a drama queen? All I remember as a reply when I talk nicely was “shut up,” “you don’t know better,” “you’re crazy.” (which, by the way, would worked better if I were 5.  But I am well over the legal age!) If you want someone to change something about them, you need to ask nicely.

For instance, you think your friend is wearing a bra that’s not for her, and you want her to change.  There are two ways you can say.

“You need to get a new bra, because-“
1. you look like an old crackwhore in it.
2. your bra will affect your blood circulation negatively.

It’s pretty obvious which would work better.  However, for some reason, my parents always go for #1.  And they think while they can’t do #1 to others, to me it’s okay, because they are parents and I’m their daughter.  For the same reason, I can’t do #1. I really don’t know why.

Since they never ever give any credit to what I say, maybe I should blame everything on how I forgot to have my magnesium drink.  That’s right, I’ve been so stressed out, so I started to drink the magnesium supplement powder called the Natural Calm, which seems to work.  And I forgot to drink it today. All my fault.

Conversation, really? (CCK from Mono-dad 2)

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I can’t bear having a “conversation” with my father.   I know this might sound like a teenager’s rant against their parents for grounding him over weekend.

So here it goes again.  He asked about something to me.  I started to give him an explanation.  He tried to cut off.  I didn’t stop but continued my explanation with slightly raised voice.  Then he got upset because I didn’t let him cut off me.

To my knowledge, you do not cut off someone in the middle of speaking, unless it is fun, fast chatting with good friends in a pub with some drinks.  If you really have to cut off, usually you give him/her signal – at least saying “wait, wait.”  Well, not this case.

Few minutes later, he started lecturing again.  That how I should just let others cut off, because keep saying what I want to say will lose friends.  That how all “popular” people just let others cut off and be a good listener.  It drives me crazy when he starts to get it involved with my attitude at workplace (which he have not witnessed, and that is why it makes me so annoyed).  I don’t do that.  People at business normally would not do that.  There are bosses who are doing it (and in this case, of course I would have to just smile and nod), but father is not a synonym of workplace boss.

Really?

In where I grew up, doing so will make you an idiot who has no opinion on whatsoever. You speak up and that will bring friends (just don’t be a dick). And here is someone who cut off after asking a question, saying how to be a good listener. By the way, wasn’t it him who asked the question and asked me for an answer?

But of course, learned from past experience, I did not say any of this.  I just shut myself and said “yes, yes.”  I did not look at him – who knows he will get pissed because I looked at him “straight in the eyes?”

Then he asked some other questions, so again I tried to give him answer.  He cut off again anyway.  Automatic eye roll awaits.  If you are going to not listen, then why ask to begin with?

I am just so tired and annoyed of this whole thing.  It’s like a bad cycle.  Whenever I try to speak up or state my opinion clearly, he gets unhappy because I did so.  Then there’s a long lecture (if not complaining or scolding) on how I am being impolite and that “attitude” will get me to nowhere.  In the middle of “lecture,” I try to speak for myself, and then usually the answer is “when your dad speaks, just be quiet and say yes, even if you don’t think so.”  So I do.  Of course I start to share less and less with him (would you?).  Then he start complaining how I don’t keep him updated (er, sorry but how many times did you actually call me and asked about my life in that 9 years?).  Later on, he says how we don’t have enough conversation, need to have a conversation, etc.  Or, as I am just sitting quietly, he would randomly throw topics so we can have a “conversation.”  Then it repeats again.  Except that I’m allowed to speak for myself only when he actually tells me to do it.

Before having a "conversation," give me your definition of "conversation" first so I can think about it...

Basically, he wants me to

–       Pretty much be a “Yes-man.”

–       He gets to speak whatever he wants; I don’t.

–       It is okay for him to cut off and not really listen to me, but I have to be a good listener.

So he can keep his Korean breadwinner face up.

I really do not want to have a so-called conversation with him unless he is ready to listen and respect my voice. It won’t work.  What’s the definition of conversation, after all? An informal talk involving a small group of people or only two.  Two, I say. What he is doing as a “conversation” is more of interrogation or one-way speech, if not Q&A session.  Unless he is ready to try, I don’t want him to try to be all lovely and cool daughter-dad.  For now, to me, he is just a big paradox came into life.  Or to my eyes, “middle-aged Korean man, after all.”  Thanks for all that he is doing for the family, I know you are good father, but seriously, he does not have to try to be better.  This is just fine, will ask if I need something, and I have things under control (not perfect, but not that bad).  Even if I don’t keep you updated, no worries – I don’t go to clubs, I don’t smoke, I don’t do drug.

I’d rather have him not asking the questions so we can have a “conversation.”  Rather, I hope he’d just google the things before coming to me, and ask for my help on googling when he gets stuck.  I’d gladly help and speak with him in that way. And maybe it will be more helpful for conversation.

Maybe it’s just time to leave.

CCK from Mono-Dad

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My dad is a good man.  He is very responsible, good at his job, and hard-working.  While he is not exactly the romantic family man type of father, he is dedicated for family.  Compared to millions of other typical Korean dads, who still believes they are the king of the jungle hence get to be the “bum” back in home after work and command other family members, he is far better.  Most of all, I would not be able to enjoy what I have now without his dedication and hard work.

But he is still Korean dad.

Ever since I came back, there were moments of conflict.  I, who grew up in States, was accustomed to state my position clearly in words and direct communication.  My dad did not.  My dad took this as me just throwing excuses and not respecting him, unlike his colleagues’ kids.  Now we somewhat got over with it.  I do not meddle in his land and he does not meddle in my land.  Still, there are moments when I get pretty irritated, such as him NEVER EVER answering the phone in home (instead he tells my mom or I to do it) or asking about my future plans and “advises” on it out of blue.  It is better than being ignorant, but I cannot help thinking, ‘since when were you that interested in my future plan, when you barely sent me an e-mail or regularly asked about me to my mom?’  (due to the working hours and time difference, my mom got the most updates on me real-time) While I value his advice on some topics, like interpersonal stuff, it is a bit baffling when he started to say I should do this and that on field that is not his expertise.  Lastly, when he suggests that we should have a conversation, that conversation usually ends with him saying whatever he wants to and me only allowed to say “yes, yes, gotcha.”

I am aware of the fact that my parents are not CCK like myself.  I am also aware that my dad is not a big travel bug like my mom, visited USA less frequently, and does not speak fluent foreign language.  I do understand why some people of homogenous country treat light-skinned foreigners and dark-skinned foreigners differently, rather than calling them “racists!” instantaneously (I knew an American girl from Ohio working in Korea – I was pretty baffled when she says Korea is such a racist country and she is so thankful that she is American.  Not entirely false, but she failed to understand that Korea is historically homogenous country just started to take baby-step for diversity and forgot US had a long history of obvious racism too!).  I know non-CCKs’ definition of foreigner is different from that of CCK’s.  I also understand while homosexuality in some countries is socially accepted, in some other countries it is seen as perversion, mental illness and/or sin.  It is not because these people are just ignorant scumbag; they grew up in a different society with different values and thinking process.

But I really do not know what to do, or how to react when my non-CCK, Korean dad calls homosexuals as “homo saekki (Korean, literally brute, figuratively and realistically “fag” or “bastard”).”  If these are the words from some person of my age’s mouth,  I could have just yelled that you are such a narrow-minded impolite douche.  Obviously, I can’t really do that to my own father.  Especially when I am perfectly aware of him being middle-aged Korean man, and how Korean society views homosexual individuals.  On the other hand, it is hard for me to stay quiet since some of my dear friends are homosexual.  Things would have been so much easier if I were just any non-CCK Korean who has no homosexual friend and have Korean understanding of homosexuals, or an American with very little understanding of Korean society.  Well, I’m neither.  All I could say was “Dad, please.  Some of my good friends are homosexual.”

As we eat our meal at the  Moroccan restaurant, the chef’s family and employees – all Moroccan – were enjoying lazy and relaxing Sunday brunch, and family time in the same space.  There was a very cute, lovely, cheerful 8-years-old girl.  After watching some Korean pop program on TV, she got bored and started to play doctor with her cousin in perfect Korean.  I thought it is great she is fluent in Korean, but I was not that surprised.  Nor did I thought her as a foreigner – the ultimate CCK question, what is the definition of foreigner and who can define it? Though she might be Moroccan physically, is she really a Moroccan when she is living in Korea with Moroccan family, interacting with Koreans on daily basis and attending Korean public school?  In the middle of friendly conversation, I heard my dad: “so how many foreign students are there in your school?”  I froze for a few seconds.   I was just begging secretly for either the girl or others in the presence not to take offense of my dad’s question.  No one took offense.  To my dad, of course she and her family are foreigners.  To me, that’ is hard to tell.

He is my father.  Without him, I would not be here, writing this.  Without him, I would not be enjoying many comforts in my life that I have now.  We chit-chat and joke around.  Yet he does not feel like a close family member to me.  Being a CCK (or just “someone who is literally all over!”) I really do know that blood tie is not the only thing about family.  He is my dad and always will be, but is he a family to me?

I don’t know why CCK/TCKs have all this questions coming up in life in addition to all the other common questions……