Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years

Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years: Version 2.0!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What Goes Around

Before getting married, I had a good friend, let's call her Young Ok.

She's married to a contactor.  The three of us became pretty good friends.

She helped me sort things out when I first got here, and hooked me up with some decent folks.

She knows all the details as to my marriage.  When I first introduced my wife to her, she gave her the nth degree:

Yeah so many girls want to marry a waeg.  It's a ticket to freedom.  Usually only poor girls from low families marry waegs.  Tell me what your father does.

This caused more than a tsunami of shit between June and I.  On the one hand, Young Ok was my friend who had gone the distance, while I needed June to know that I had parted from my wayward ways and was 1000%. 

June would lose it occasionally and bring her into a spat.  It was fair ammunition.  I thought it wasn't a huge issue as we didn't meet that frequently, and when we did I tried to find ways to bring them together.  It eventually became apparent that there was no common ground to be found: Young Ok would be distant with June, and in private start with why you doing this to yourself?  You can be free, there is no reason for you to choose this life.

After near a year of getting married, I laid it out to her: you are my friend, and I respect and appreciate everything you've done, but I've made my bed.  I'm locked in.  Nothing is going to change round these parts if I just live up to what everybody thinks I am and take your advice.

Things deteriorated between us, and within a month of that we no longer met.  I'd run into her husband from time to time, but Young Ok and I just didn't.  Soon after I no longer had contact with any of the people we know in common.

Today June and I had a fight.  It was over the idiot at the kindergarten who took to insulting me in front of the eldest when we were gardening.  I've stopped hanging out as much at the kindergarten.

How come you haven't been paying the fees for the father's association?

I haven't been going as much.  They only collect when we go out and get drunk.  I'm sure they use some of that money to hit a room salon anyway.

I got a message from one of the dads.  You still have to pay even if you don't go.  You should go more.

I have no time.  Besides, you know how I feel about the asshole in charge.  And Mr. Kim acts weird sometimes, starts hanging off me and asking strange questions.  Don't even get me started on Mr. Koo.

It's not that.  It can't be like that.  He wouldn't be like that, he's just joking around.

Erm, I know joking.  This isn't it.  Besides, he went too far saying what he did in front of the eldest.  He's an asshole.  I think I can tell when someone is taking the piss and when they're being a shit.  Why you standing up for him?

We were leaving a restaurant at this point, and as is usual when this conversation comes up, it ended the same way with June shouting at me, this time in the middle of the street.

I can see her point, what with still over a year to go at the kindergarten and June making money off that guy's family.  It wouldn't do to say something in front of the kids that might get back. 

But while Young Ok was out of line, and was parroting common stereotypes about the kind of Korean girl that marries a waeg, in her mind she was looking out for a friend that was doing something stupid.

I'm pretty sure what informs that guy's perspective isn't even close to the same category.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Talk to him in the dimunitive form and let him stew.

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