Tag Archives: TCK

Don’t Be So Wry, Sir.

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http://samurai01.egloos.com/tb/2802138

The above link is a blog post written in Korean.  I would look at his blog from time to time, since he is studying Japanese history, which is closely related to my 2nd major (And also a topic that continuously interests me).  Usually, I don’t really comment everything on someone’s blog.  Everyone is bound to think differently.  If I don’t like it, I don’t have to pick a fight.  Just leave it and do your stuff.
But this post really bothered me.  Mainly:

– That these parents of Korean students in prestigious American university have no reason to “spend frigging +$50,000” other than placing their kids to some financial firm at Manhattan.

– That the Korean students at his prestigious American university are well-behaved and nice, more than he used to think.  Because their parents “brainwashed” them to behave so being pretty wealthy family, and some thinks it’s the way to keep their reputation as “pretty wealthy family.”

First point.

What kind of crooked view is this?

Sure, maybe some Korean parents have such strange desire to place their kinds in some well-known financial firm in Manhattan.  But why make such a big leap of generalization, based on one school in one specific region?  Same can be said for many white American parents of my high school.  I know a plenty of them said to their kids’ college advisor, “I am not going to let my kid apply non-Ivy schools.”  I also know a ROTC guy (not Korean) who was terrified when he got his camp assignment – everyone in his family went ROTC and served in a same camp, and this guy didn’t get in.

I know a lot of Korean international students’ parents who sent their kids to America for a lot of different reasons.  Some just couldn’t handle the intensity of Korean high school students (which also greatly affects parents too).  Some didn’t want their kids to be order-following test-grinding machine (my parents, I guess).  And some had family crisis, such as divorce, so they sent their kids abroad.  Some had kids that really, really wanted to go abroad and study.

So don’t you fucking make such generalization, based only on a small portion of population, limited to a certain area.
Second point:

Again, what the heck is wrong with him?  He just can’t even appreciate someone’s good behavior?  And the reason behind their good behavior is only because they are from wealthy family?

Maybe, unlike myself, he had a plenty of well-behaved people around him so started to take them for granted.  All of the well-behaved, gentle people I’ve ever met were not limited to a certain social class.  The cleaning man and guests at the local homeless center were some of the best gentlemen.  Some of the most impolite, good-for-nothing kids I’ve ever met were from everywhere, from very wealthy family to just average.

At least based on my experience, someone’s manner and behavior have nothing to do with their family’s earning and social class.  If there is one standard that can tell anything about someone’s behavior and manner, that’s their parents’ value and personality.

Honestly, if you had a chance to meet someone who is nice and well-mannered, you are lucky just fucking appreciate it.  Don’t add things in and twist your view, like “oh, of course, it’s just another dirty trick to satisfy their vanity.”

Look, blog writer.  Few years ago, you wrote, as watching 20-something lady so surprised after crashing her Nissan Infinity, you didn’t really feel any sympathy, thinking “well, she’s got rich family, I bet.” Then you found yourself getting greatly worried over your friend’s phone call, saying he was involved in a car accident.  And that you were embarrassed to hold such double standard.

How do you know that Nissan Infinity is from her parents? Maybe it was her dream car, so she worked really hard or got a loan or was on a really good deal lease.

You, apparently, finished your Ph.D in one of the most prestigious universities over 6-7 years.

Shouldn’t you know better?  Generalization is no-no in the States, for most of people.  And, when you are writing things in open blog, you really should be careful of what you are writing.

See, this is why I don’t like many Koreans in America, especially those who came over much later in their life.  They generalize everything.  Everything is either black of white.  They only see a very small part of life.  They can’t just accept things as they are.  And, it’s not uncommon for them to bash on younger people who have international experience, saying “oh, those kids must be so spoiled, rude, just lucky kids with rich parents, blah blah blah” without ever considering the fears and stress they have (and consider them “nothing” compared to their own worries.  Now who’s impolite?).

People like you make us wanting to further distance ourselves from Korea.

Few years ago, a good friend of mine, Susie, shared one of her worries.  Back then, in her early 20s, Susie was going to one of the best schools for biology, so she was working at on-campus bio lab.  Susie is pretty hard-working student, who hates getting involved in politics and arguments.  So she just do her job, say bye, go back to her place and work on her assignments.

There was one Korean MA student (mid 30) in the same lab.  He finished his BA in Korea, and never lived abroad.  For no reason, he started to spread bad gossip on Susie.  He would approach Susie’s lab mate, and say stuff like “Susie’s so rude, she doesn’t greet me properly, it’s pretty selfish to just finish her job and go, blah blah.”  Susie was so stressed out, because 1) she didn’t have nerve to spare on this, and 2) she really could not figure out what she did wrong to him.  She said greetings to him properly, and they weren’t that close.

The only answer we could think of was…that he was just jealous.   He was jealous, because, being 30 something, he was struggling to swim in this brave new world he had never been, let alone language.  Then there was Susie, who was far younger than himself, yet speaks far better language and seems to handle stuff far better than himself.

Honestly, if I were him, I would just ask for help or focus on my damn business.  I don’t really understand him.  But now reading the above linked blog post, I think I know why.  Even if they go abroad and spend long years, they are still very Korean.

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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.

Never Complete

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I’ve been very busy.  My law school prep course is tight, and the people who are taking the same course are not the most contributing kind.  I just finished submitting my 2nd paper of the course and it’s 1:43 am here.  Phew.  I feel like I am back in my college, writing papers until 3 am with app kind of books, papers, cups and clothes spreaded all over my room.

Recently I became a friend with Jay, who is in pretty much same situation with me.  Jay’s passport is South Korean, but he went over to Arkansas at age 3 and spent his entire life in South.  Then something happened and he had to come back, now serving his military duty like a good South Korean citizen.  He is going through some of the phase I went through (or currently going through) so it has been a pleasure to talk with him.  Maybe it’s because him talking about how all of his friends are in Arkansas, and how he misses the American South – good barbeques, cool beer at patio in the midst of warm, humid south air and laid-back people.  I didn’t have a chance to property visit American South (okay, I visited Florida once but that’s not really South…no offense, Floridans), but I understand him.  Likewise, I miss crazy snowstorms, how everything was either gray, black or white, the crisp cold winter air on my cheeks, reddening my skin, and kind Midwesterners, wrapped in their Gore-Tex Northface shell jackets and hats.  And we are two Koreans in Korea.

Maybe it was because of this chat, but a thought suddenly occured to me – that I probably will never feel “complete” or “at ease” wherever I go.

When in Korea, I hate the fact how the whole society is homogenous, stigmatizes different voices, treat “foreigners” differently based on their nationality/skin color, thinks it is totally okay to sacrifice individual for the sake of group, and communicating vertically only.  And how all the “foreign” foods that isn’t really expensive or that special suddenly becomes twice the original price and treated like some kind of luxury. And the total lack of middle ground market for clothing and pants: they are either all really short, really small, or really decorated over the top.  In addition, most of the pants don’t fit me well here.  I misses Japanese people’s respect of privacy and misses a lot of things about America.  Of course, friends those are not in Korea, too.

When in the United States, I hate the fact how people have allergic reaction to any kind of government regulation (Grow up, people!), shipwreck med insurance system, D- grade infrastructure, evangelist politicians and total lack of public transportation.  Then I start to miss a lot about certain things of Korea and Japan: those two countries superb public transportation and infrastructure (both countries has bullet train AND public transportation covering entire nation; US is like x10 bigger than those two.  What are they thinking?!?!), awesome public med insurance and 24-hour operating service/stores.  And free restaurant deliveries.  I again start to miss home and a small number of friends in Korea.  I’ll probably miss more once my school starts, since I managed to make a bit more friends in Seoul.  And how you can “get around” some rules by connections and negotiations in Korea.

When in Japan, I hate how people don’t ever tell anything in a straightforward manner and unwilling to take any risk or responsiblity. Usually, there are no words equivalent of “flexiblity” (not in a literal sense, though).  Bureaucracy there is so bad, and the decision making authorities are so unwilling to change, even if it is verge of survival.  Sometimes they are way too obsessed on small details.  And, kind of like Korea, it is so hard to be considered seriously if you are not one of them (fortunately, I suffered less of this because people around me were so great and I look Asian – Japanese – enough for most Japanese).  Soon I start to miss how things are so much more straighforward and flexible in America and Korea.

Sure, I appreciate my unusual international experiences.  I know that is my edge, and I know that’s what makes me as me.  But think about it – most others feel pretty settled and fine in a certain place.  Your friends are there and you lived there long enough.  All the pieces that makes you are at one place, so whenever you want to go back or get some peace of mind, you can just go to that one place.

But what about someone like me?  My entire childhood is spread around the world.  I can’t simply drive several hours or get a weekend trip to revisit my past and remiscine good ol’ times.  I don’t have my private jet.  You can’t just plan to visit America from Korea over a weekend.

Whether I end up living in America, Korea, Japan, or somewhere else, one thing is sure: I will never feel complete or settled.

People say acceptance is the key to everything.  I accept, I guess.

But it still saddens me – that I will never feel complete or settled for the rest of my life.

My Last Blind Date and Some Scary Wedding.

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Today’s posting would be something of girly and not very important personal update with Korean flavah.

Do you remember this post?  Yes, the wedding has happened and I went there with my family.  I could see they spent fortune on this wedding.  But the quality was…disappointing.  I know Korean wedding (to be more specific, Korean westernized wedding) is not the most exciting event in your life.  Invitees bring some money for gift, the couples just do ceremony in white dress and all, people clap, some boring and politically correct speech by someone with nice title and connection with family, maybe a song or two, everyone rush to the canteen/catering, eat and leave.  Sometimes the venue staffs will herd you out, so they can have multiple ceremonies per day.

Based on the venue, gossips, make-up and dress rentals, I wouldn’t be surprised if they spent one million hundred KRW (about 87,000 USD) in total.  I don’t want to comment on the amount of money – I didn’t pay it, they never asked me to chip in so I don’t get a say.  But if you spent that much money, you either expect a breathtakingly beautiful decorations, or 5-star rating food or…I don’t know, Adele singing live?  None of that happened. In sum, it was expensive yet totally tasteless wedding.  Expensive yet out-of-place Emanuel Ungaro dress, not-so-great food, whole bunch of mismatching flowers…My family all thought, “it’s just waste of money, I feel really bad for them…but they didn’t have any taste to begin with, no?”

Now, after the wedding, I keep hearing about the landmines that’s waiting to explode between Marza, Marza’s family and her husband’s family.  Well, well, fingers crossed (this is cynicism).

Since I am writing about wedding, I think this is a nice Segway moment to talk about adult man-woman relationship and marriage in Korea.  I know a lot of you American folks are cringing at “arranged marriage” and think it’s some barbaric custom.  But I, an Asian who grew up both in no-Asian town of America and Asia, am not too averse of it.  There are different “kinds” of arranged marriage.  Basically, the core of arranged marriage is your (or the date’s) parents get the potential date for you.  If you have laid-back parents who places priority on their kids’ emotion, then it’s not required to get the marriage date ASAP.  Now, if you have parents who are really anxious, the pressure is on, obviously.  Overall, the pressure increases as you get older – Korean people have problem accepting their children’s choice of life when it isn’t the norm, at least to them.  And there’s the notion thinking “my child doesn’t know better” – Amy Chua didn’t make up her Tiger Mom story.

Maybe it’s because there’s no such pressure on me (or any of those around me) yet, but anyway, I’m okay with it.  What’s to lose by meeting more new people? And they are recommended by people who know you very well.

So I had one of this nature last weekend (note: other than general background and contact information, our parents’ involvement was next to nothing, which was good.  Really, it was just like any other blind date).  The guy – let’s call him Peter – was recommended by my mom’s friend, who is a fine, gentle, hard-working person.  Korean Korean.  All I know is Peter’s family has been working as oriental med doctors for more than 100 years.  Though their earning is good, they still follow their ancestor’s will: that is not to move away from its original place, and keep the business at manageable size.  That deserves massive respect.

We texted to arrange a meeting place.  He just kept asking this and that in text, making me think “he can just call….” but then I thought maybe he doesn’t feel it’s appropriate.  Okay, whatever.  He suggested a Japanese dining bar.  I thought it a bit unusual – usually you are going a bit of high-end place for your first blind date, no? Ohhh, maybe he wants it to be casual.  I guess it’s not a bad idea to have first date over a cool pint of beer.

The date has come and I was there.  I was on time, but I wasn’t sure Peter – today’s “host” – is here yet. I called.

Ceberus: Hello? Hi, this is Ceberus, the person you are meeting today. 
Peter: Yeah.
Ceberus: I’m at the place, right outside. 
Peter: Yeah.
Ceberus: Are you in?
Peter: Yeah.
Ceberus: Okay I’m going in, see you in a minute.
Peter: Yeah.

Honestly, I was a bit off at this point.  This already sounds odd, no?  If a man is thirty something, I expect him to be able to respond to the “business” calls in formal manner.  How hard is it to say “Hi! Good evening! I’m in so come on in!”?

Anyway I went in, and I asked him to suggest/order for me because it’s my first time here.  He just ordered foods.  Fine – but if you are just going to order foods, what’s the point of meeting at izakaya?  We could’ve gone to the other Japanese restaurant.  Since the host isn’t ordering, I couldn’t either.

We started chatting.  I found that he served at public service unit (all Korean men has to serve in military: if your physical condition prohibits to do so, such as bad waist or terrible eyesight, you are usually placed for public service), so I brought up some of my guy friends doing the same thing.  Then for some reason, he started to talk about some fist fight initiated by Korean age hierarchy.  Which is hardly a good topic to start if you want to leave someone a good impression.

We soon started to talk about our majors.  His major was oriental medicine (in Korea, oriental medicine courses are treated similarly with western med schools and they are officially doctors, subject to medical insurance).  Surprise.  I said my major was political science.  Then Peter looked very excited, saying he wanted to study politics but couldn’t do it due to his father’s objection.

Oh, this may be a good sign.

No it wasn’t.

His question: “so which political party do you support?”

….I thought politics, religion and abortion are big no-no in any kind of first meeting, regardless of country.  What the heck is happening.

I had to find a way to answer this politely, so I just said “well…they all look same!”

Peter said he wanted to study politics because his childhood home was near to the Blue House and envied the president’s parade.

Fine, this I can take as a sweet childhood memory.

Then he said, all man should aim for being a president before dying.

Fine.  But you are thirty.  Time to wake up.

I really wanted to talk about other stuff, but he was too excited and went on. He said Korean race is the best and brightest in the world and he supports nationalism.

Oh fug.

You are talking to a TCK, people in general hating nationalism and ethnicism.  And this is 21st century, the era of globalization.  What time are you living in?

So finally I had to say: “Peter, honestly, having been grown up in one of the most diverse countries in the world, I don’t really sympathize with nationalism and ethnicism-centered education of Korean history.  In fact, I really don’t like nationalism.  IMO, it’s the seed of all wars and hatred.”

He looked startled, and said, he thought I would be interested because I’m…politics major.  Again, I had to explain: “there are two kinds of politics major students. One is those who want to change the world with their hands; another is those who likes observing the whole situation from background and analyze the data.  I’m the latter.”

I don’t think he was too happy with it.  Same here anyway.

At least he was well behaving, so we had a tea, and he drove me back to home.  In his car, he talked about his studying.  I chimed in.

Ceberus: It sounds like your dad is oriental doctor, too.
Peter: He is.
Ceberus: Oh, that’s wonderful!
Peter: No, not really.
Ceberus: Why?
Peter: Well, dang, I want to play but it’s impossible to skip my study and lie since he knows everything.

I’m speechless…

So that was the end of my blind date.

Someone said: the more blind dates you do, the list of awful man increases.

Sometimes though, I feel like Korean men, in general, are immature than American guys.  I think I know why.  In the States, kids – men included – are encouraged to live independently.  People rarely live with their parents (and there’s some stigma attached to those who do, though there is increasing number of kids who are doing it due to recession).  For most people, they live away from their family and do a lot of things on their own once they start their college education.  Meanwhile they have experience of earning money on their own.

For Korean guys, this isn’t the case.  Since their birth to college, majority of people live with their parents.  They’ve never done things by themselves – doing laundry, preparing meals, earning stipends, repairing their bike, etc.  A lot of them live off from stipend given from their parents.  It’s pretty obvious who matures first.

I understand why.  But I just can’t sympathize with them (I bet I startle them too).  Maybe it’s one of those pains of hidden immigrant.

Subjectivity

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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.

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.

Never a Typical Case

Standard

Getting so many rejection letters, I think it’s time to rant sort out my thoughts once again.  The tough thing about being a TCK is that you are never a “typical case” in almost anything.

Google up about going to American law school.  There are myriad of articles about how law schools are scamming people, how it’s waste of money, and how it’s worthless.  True.  A lot of American law school graduates are suffering from unemployment, whether they went to Harvard or some unknown, out-of-ranking school (yes, the ranking itself isn’t very trustworthy, I know).

But does that apply to me?  Am I an applicable case to this?  Not really, because I am not an American citizen, though I have American educational background.  If I were an American citizen with family and settled life in the US, I would not have considered going to law school as a good option at this point.  I would rather get a whatever job that comes first.  But I’m not an American.  But I can’t cope with Korean business culture.  I’m in-betweener.

From experience, I know the so-called “common case” never applies to me.  At the end of my college senior year, I had a job interview.  An alum – international like myself – was working there.  I did well in the interview.  I had a plenty of skills matching to their job description.  So, according to the textbook, I should have gotten a job.  That did not happen.  The key was, I am not a citizen.  I graduated from an American college with great reputation.  So even if I did not get that job, I should have received several interview offers.  That did not happen either, because of my vague status.  In States, I was still the “international” whom they had to sponsor visa, or unable to apply at all.

How about in Korea?  Koreans tend to think that if the school’s name is not familiar, it’s not a great school.  In addition, the American schools are valued a bit differently from US; a school that is not very highly regarded in the States sometimes transforms itself a very good Ivy-League-ish school, just because they have a lot of Korean alums or people are familiar with the name.  In Korea, many people haven’t even heard about my school’s name.

The different job interview styles were pretty traumatic for me.  In college, I was trained in American job interview – where you are there to chat, and all is fine as long as you don’t make them think you are a psycho.  But I had to face Korean style job interviews, where everything is very formal, interviewers are able to compare candidates in real time, and most cases where candidates are expected to get the “correct answer” to the questions.  I attended whole lot of interview prep sessions, but certainly I was not prepared to be surprised by the different styles of interview.  I didn’t even know there are different ways.  So no wonder why I ended up shocking Japanese job opening promoter by asking “so, is your job interview more of western or Asian way?”

I know job market in America is horrible now.  I totally agree when someone says “don’t bet too much on getting a job in America as a Korean international after law school,” because I was in a similar situation.  But again, my aim is slightly different.  Many law school students/candidates aim to find a job within America first, and they are citizens.  I’m not a citizen.  Getting a job in America isn’t my priority.  Actually I will be much happier if I get placed into somewhere else.  Many Korean international law students aim to come back to Korea and work.  That’s not high on my list either.  And I just can’t seem to find a solid resource on case like myself.

I have received multiple rejection letters from schools I wanted to go.  It’s irritating.  But, like I mentioned before, being atypical case, maybe not getting into a school that is considered highly in US is better for me.  Maybe I will end up going some school that is not considered very highly in US, but highly in Korea.

What’s most irritating is that there seem to be no resource for me, and I just have to keep on sailing, without knowing what’s ahead – tropical island or shortcut to hell.