Really? After a year, I still don't get it. - A Movement In Time And Space
Moving through time and space in our own way
Really? After a year, I still don't get it.
So, yesterday passed without much incident. Not that I thought that the world would stop because a year has passed since living in Korea became a distinct possibility. But still, it surprised me just a tiny bit that I did not have a good cry over it. Does that mean I'm become more of a stable person? Pah! Perish the thought!

I did remember reactions of some people after I told them that we might be moving to Korea. Went something like this:

Me: "So, you know how Chris is in Korea right now on business? Well, the company he's working with offered him a fulltime job - he's actually thinking of taking it too. So, we might be moving to Korea."
Friend: "Korea?"
Me: "Yeah, Korea."
Friend: *hesitates a moment* "KOREA?!?!"
Me: *sigh* "Yes, KOREA."
Friend: "Are you serious? Korea? That's far away! Wait, KOREA?!"
Me: "Yes, I'm serious and yes, it is far away! I don't know what to think about this."
Friend: "But, aren't you afraid of being close to, you know, NORTH KOREA?"

That's when I'd just say that this is a possibility and that we're not sure yet what's going to happen. I didn't want to go into a long explaination why I'd probably be safer in South Korea than I was in Los Angeles from an attack from the North Koreans. *eyeroll* And I didn't know that 3 days later Chris would have to make a decision and take the job without actually having a chance to talk to me about it in person.

No, I'm not completely done with being bitter about that.

This was the first time in our marriage that a major decision was not made jointly. And it was the crux of my rage and unhappiness for a long time. I think Chris got that (didn't you?).

To be fair to my amazing husband (yes, he still is amazing), he made a tough decision when he had to. He made what he thought was the right decision for the family. He said in an email to me from back then, "I want to provide for you, and this job is a big opportunity to *really* do that..."

Before our move, he was working as an independent consultant. Translation: work really hard one month only to hope that the clients keep you on for the next. Things like budget cuts, reorganizations, buy-outs...those were his enemies and he couldn't do anything to fight them. And we were struggling with no insurance and a less-than-steady paycheck. And I could tell that he wasn't thrilled with the work. Help desk stuff. Nothing that challenged him, made use of his enormous skills. The guy is talented, but the work wasn't fulfilling him.

Then this job offer came. Helping to build a company from the ground up. Working in an exciting field. Doing things that would challenge him, fulfill him, that would take advantage of his skills, his talent, his mind. And it had the potential to pay, really pay. BIG.

But...freaking KOREA?!?! (That's sort of become a catch phrase for me.)

The other thing that people would say when I told them that we were possibly moving to Korea was how they wish they could move too.

My first thought was, "Really? I don't get it." Then I thought, "Ok, take my place!" Honestly, I didn't get why people would want to move. What about your life, your friends, family? What about feeling secure and in familiar surroundings? I just didn't get how anyone could envy the position I was in. What about all my friends and support system and volunteer work and scrapping buddies and my house and my things? My day-to-day life was actually quite fulfilling for me. I never really realized that until now. I liked the fact that if Chris wasn't not around, I wasn't helpless and just stuck at home with the kids. I had friends I could call on and go out with and chat with and vent to and who they have kids who Maya and Nadia could play with too.

I still miss all that. A year later, I still don't get why anyone would want to leave a life they are happy in for what I have (to travel, sure, but not to move). But, I'm surviving and am doing much better than I thought I would be. I don't have the full support system down yet, but my children are happy, Chris seems to enjoy his work, I've seen some places that I probably wouldn't have otherwise, there are really good chances for more travel and more cool experiences (like experiencing the Lunar New Year celebrations here!), we are settled and comfotable. And my attitude is getting better and I'm actually looking forward to the future. I don't know, maybe Chris is right.

Maybe I am lot stronger than I give myself credit for.

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What I'm feeling: content content

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co_techie From: co_techie Date: January 12th, 2006 06:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Having family around definitely makes the pill easier to swallow, but I can't talk much until I've actually been where you are. My picking up and moving from India to the US was quite a task without the added language barrier, so you're WAY ahead of me in the game already! :)

That said, I can't express how glad I am for you that you have Chris and the kids to make you happier still - it feels good to periodically look at them and smile at why you're still there, nay? :)
priyabradfield From: priyabradfield Date: January 12th, 2006 06:45 am (UTC) (Link)
All this definitely made me even more sympathetic to immigrants than I was before. Most of the time, the reason for the move is to further your life and/or to help the family. I also get how my mom felt when they moved - she was also newly married, which probably made it even scarier.

Thank you - if it weren't for Chris and the girls, I probably wouldn't be here making the effort. :-)
gnotobiotically From: gnotobiotically Date: January 12th, 2006 06:52 am (UTC) (Link)
That would be an enormous change to go through. And considering all that you left behind, I can't even imagine the suffering you went through.

Whenever I moved, I didn't have any ties to the place I'd been living, so it was just another change. I'd go to *yet another* school, keep to myself in a *different* home, it was basically routine.
And I guess I blame that for my inability to be social today.
My brothers have friends, they go places, do things. They can call their friends up and just go out and play together. Something I never got to do. Luckily I had my sister to play with.

The only part about moving that I hated was the packing, shipping, and unpacking.
Other than that, I could care less.

I do envy you for getting the chance to immerse yourself and your daughters in a completely different culture, that is something I could only dream of.

My mother used to try and get my father to accept relocations outside the US, but I guess he was afraid of the unknown. So we ended up migrating all over the US.

I admire your strength for coping so well through your struggles.
Change is good, but change is hard too.
shortindiangirl From: shortindiangirl Date: January 12th, 2006 08:15 am (UTC) (Link)
> And it was the crux of my rage and unhappiness for a long time.

I hear you sister. I haven't gotten over the fact that the loving husband never proposed to me. There's a few other things too, but it's with the mil.

Anyway, I think I'd have envied you a year ago. In 2005, three times I considered moving. Yes, to Iraq. For a new life experience. To leave my loving husband and a happy home life, indeed a "just married" life and searching for our first house together. Because I'm an experience-whore. And Iraq sounded just professionally intense and emotionally significant. So who doesn't want to tell their grandkids "you know, I've lived all over the world".... or at least, "a lot of places in the world".

After having lived in Denmark and in Spain, and travelling in Europe, I know that travelling somewhere is so different from living there. The latter makes for an authentic experience, the former makes for only an authentic travel experience. To make a life someplace challenging, to challenge oneself daily through the most mundane things, and to truly experience Korean grocery stores and entertainment - not just the centuries old stuff the tourism industry displays. That is what elevates the true understanding of the world around us methinks.

Another thought that comes to mind is the similarity between your thoughts on moving to relationships. People choose their partners in 2 different ways. They either choose their spouses based on how they confirm each other, or for the way they challenge each other (let's just ignore that boring combination concept here). You can confirm yourself endlessly and enjoy the peace, security and stability that brings. Or you can challenge yourself endlessly and enjoy the learning, uncertainty and growth that brings. Moving and living to an unfamiliar place is the latter.

And to be contentious about it - believing in the Bible LITERALLY - is the former.

Your children are growing and learning. Why not you too ? Learn with your children in this new multi-racial life in a foreign land alien to you all. See your days as exciting opportunity to conquer the alien life. How much of your soul will return to the U.S. as Korean ? How much of your home can become East-Asian ? (not South East Asian).

Moving to the U.S. was an eye opener for me. I could indeed survive without the friends, the support system, the volunteer work, the scrapping buddies and the day to day life. Life was intense. Sometimes intensely lonely, but once you look that lonliness in the eye, it isn't quite that bad. It's liberatiing really, and there's a gift of time that goes with it. Indeed that is part of what built my perspectives of friends in general, which we've already conversed about over Skype.

Still, being a mother to young uns, I may feel a greater and more insatiable need for intelligent adult company... and being in Korea would make that require a lot more effort and patience.

Bottom line, I'd trade places with you in a heartbeat. (After some packing and planning of course).
xpapergirl From: xpapergirl Date: January 12th, 2006 04:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
My goodness...I know how you are feeling. Since Ive been with the Mr we have moved 4 times, and soon to be 5. But each time has been with the promise of better *insert perk here* and each time it stars out great, only to end up going down the toilet to Hades. This last time...we have had numerous, hours long discussions, areguments, rages, and talks about moving...and I tink we've both finally come to grips with the fact that if he doesnt take it, he will never be back to that happy, fun guy that I met in 1997. And I think he's realizing once again..and I swear, I hope and I pray, that its the last time...we pack up and move again.

But this time, we have people to pack us, and move us!

Funny...everywhere Ive moved is just in Texas...never gone out of state to love..but sure does feel like it sometimes.
sammykate From: sammykate Date: January 12th, 2006 07:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Priya, you're a Goddess. I am so impressed with the strides you have made in accepting your situation in JUST ONE YEAR! You know how it's been for me (and, sheesh! what a whiner I am - I never even had to leave my own country!) You should give yourself more credit than you do. You're amazing.
From: gabbytheguy Date: January 13th, 2006 07:39 am (UTC) (Link)
I meant to comment on this yesterday! Sorry its taken so bloody long!

It's been interesting reading your blog over the time I've known you and seeing how you are taking steps to immerse yourself in the Korean way of life. It must be a daunting task and I don't envy you that. The only thing I can liken it to is when I went on a German school exchange and my German was virtually non-existent. But everyone spoke English so it wasn't a huge not really a good example! :-P

It sounds like you had a pretty nice life back in the USA, but I also get the impression everyone over there is still supporting you even if it is from afar, which is really wonderful.

I have to admit a slight pang of jealousy for you with moving to a new and exciting country too although I think I would think twice about actually moving my entire family. It was obviously a VERY big opportunity for Chris, and I am sure he didn't make the decision lightly even if he didn't consult you first! Slap on wrist for that one Chris! ;-D

Even so, you're gradually finding your feet, the kids seem happy and hopefully thats going to be rubbing off on you too. It's a marvellous opportunity for them and they are going to need you for support if and when they need it. It's important I think that you therefore make the best effort you can to continue soaking up the Korean way of life for their benefit.

You are strong I'm sure!
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