Actually this really just hit me yesterday. I took the girls to COEX Mall (mainly to walk around and I promised Maya McDonald’s for lunch) and we were in a store when the shopkeeper asked me if we are just visiting or live here. I said we are moving here. And she asked me for how long. I said, “two years probably”. Then it hit me. Will we really just move again in two years? When Maya is in elementary school and I, hopefully, have some friends again? Will I want to?
Yes, we’re moving to Seoul and it likely will be permanent.
I hate it. I really do. It isn’t Seoul or Korea or Koreans. It’s that it ISN’T North Hollywood or even the United States. It’s that people expect me to just follow my husband wherever the job takes him. It’s that my sacrifices are taken for granted. And to be fair, not by Chris. At least I hope not. But anyway, I shouldn’t care about what others think, right? And usually I don’t. But this isn’t a cakewalk by any means.
Part of the problem is that I had no time to get used to the idea. Although there is something to be said about doing it “cold turkey”. Like quitting smoking or getting off drugs or something like that – there’s no easy way to do, just have to do it. But this is a move to a foreign country, one where the spoken and written language is vastly different from English. Where certain values are different. Where women are not treated as equals – that is a big one for me, I suppose. Where women, until just recently, were expected to just have kids and serve their husband. Well, not this woman. And yet, here I am because my husband decided that this job was too good to pass up and gave me all of 4 days to think about it back in January. At the time, he was here on a business trip and was offered the position of Vice President of Operations. For him: nice title, nice salary, nice benefits (here in Korea, foreigners are exempt from taxes for a few years up to a certain salary), fulfilling job and a built in set of friends and acquaintances. For me: a new country, no friends, no support structure, no language skills, two young kids 24x7 (back home I got a break at least once a week), no set schedule, and dependence on others for simple things like grocery shopping.
I know it must sound like I’m not grateful for anything. Lots of people, when I told them that we were moving to Seoul, said, “Oh wow, what an adventure!” Well, you can have it. I would have loved this when we were younger, without children. I would have just ridden the subway and no bothered if I got lost. In the 7 weeks I’ve been here already, I would have seen tons of things, experienced lots of things and thoroughly enjoyed the travel opportunity. Yes, this is a great opportunity for the kids, especially Maya, to open her eyes to the world, learn another language and culture. And I am thankful that she will have that chance, she and Nadia. I have always wanted them to be open-minded and culturally aware, especially in today’s world. I never wanted them to go to a school where everyone looked like them or were all one race. This is a great opportunity for them. And me too. But…there is always a but, isn’t there?
I’m tired. I’m tired of feeling lost and alone. I’m tired of crying. I’m tired. Just tired…