Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years

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

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Last night when I got home June and I talked about her father. He had left just before we got in.  My Mother-in-Law apparently had to leave with him so he'd go.

He pissed me off when they had a spat the day before. I usually stay out of all that shit, but I saw red when June told him it was time for him to go: he laughed and said he could stay as long as he wanted.

I ended up sleeping on the couch. The girls slept in our room. I was unimpressed.

I've harbored a great deal of disdain towards him for some time.  I used to like the guy. He can be quite funny, is kind to my kids; he used to be a teacher, was thrown in jail during the Park Chung Hee presidency for making off color jokes about el presidente one night while drunk in a bar.  He lost his business a few years back when his partner embezzled all the cash.

I've tried to help out as much as I can, do that 'good' son-in-law thing; always been nice to the guy, looked the other way when he'd steal a bottle of whiskey from my liquor cabinet or some little gadget I'd bought for camping. I'd even slip him an envelope during the holidays.

He's a wiry old bastard who still collects his own water from the mountain and has a pronounced green thumb.

But he also likes to beat his wife. And his kids hate him, but let him be since 'he is my father'.

Despite being in their 60s, the crazy fucker is convinced that his wife is cheating on him. For the longest while he was convinced that it was with the security guard at his apartment; it got so ugly that the guy sued the father-in-law, which the family including yours truly had to pay. He beat the Mother-in-law so badly at the time she required several stitches on her arm and face as well as a brief stay in hospital.

This is why she usually stays with us. He knows he isn't supposed to come to our house, but lately he's been showing up with more frequency. He has also been increasingly hostile towards me.

So I have to deal with this shit. I've been instructed to not get involved, to not say anything, and to not use force to remove him from the premises. Fine. But I will not allow my kids to be exposed to his madness, so he best keep it together.

It doesn't help that June hates my parents and refuses to be reconciled. She stayed with them last year while the girls went to school. June was mad that my mom wouldn't drop everything and drive her into town or the city, an hour or two and a half hours respectfully, when she felt the whim. June claims they were mean to her and didn't do what her parents would, which is sacrifice everything for the comfort of their children.

I'm waiting for the conversation to happen where we talk about how her father steals my shit and just why everyone hates his guts.


Seoulistice said...

I married a Korean gal a few years ago, but can still remember a drunken night in Itaewon with a bunch of older guys who'd been married for a while, and the complaints they listed as reasons why I should REALLY consider what I was getting into. I still got into it, and I have few regrets. But there have been times I've really questioned the situation I've ended up in. The cultural norms of Korea just don't sit right with me. And you can use the excuse "things are different" etc., but let's face it. The majority of the civilized world thinks Korea is kind of fucked, and it is indeed quite fucked. The sooner the youung generation realizes that (and they seem to), the sooner they can change it (which they don't, because of the idiotic "I do what older people tell me to do and smile while doing it because this is Korea"). So having kids with a Korean woman and inheriting a tribe of inlaws can definitely be an uphill battle up the Mountain of Illogic. But we do it anyway. Why? Because we want skinny wives.

Anonymous said...

Lock the liquor cabinet for a start.

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