when cultures collide

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hanboks 1, originally uploaded by poohba02.

Indulge me while I delve a little into my personal life….no crafting to report yet, although I did get a shipment in today of the majority of my crafting supplies via Amtrak Express.

In general, I’m really psyched about being back in Seattle/Tacoma. I love my baby sister and it’s been hard not spending much time with her for the past 10 years. After the soul crushing drain of law school, I also needed to be somewhere a little more laid-back than DC. I was NOT ready to brave another MN winter so a move back to the West Coast was a bit inevitable. Now I can actually appreciate the area for its natural beauty and its more tolerant and laid back atmosphere.

There’s one thing that I absolutely dreaded about this move (besides the actual move itself)–moving back in with my folks. Mind you, when I left home as an angsty 18 year old, hell bent on conquering the world, I would’ve absolutely blanched at the idea of moving back home ten years later. But life throws you some curve balls and so here I am almost 28, jobless, up to my eyeballs in student loans, and duking it out with the parents.

That itself was daunting enough but the added wrinkle this time is introducing the family to Jeff…something a long time coming considering I’ve met Jeff’s entire family. Without going into all the ugly details, suffice to say that my parents are anything but thrilled. (Not that my parents have ever been thrilled about any of my life decisions/ accomplishments…but that would be like fodder for another 20 blog entries. The basic summary is that I’ve been raised under a lot of academic/professional/familial pressure and my response (at best) has been somewhat mixed.)

The truth is that I feel far more “American” than Korean although honestly, most days I just feel like “Sara.” Even when I was quite young I never envisioned myself marrying or dating other Koreans. It’s not like a self-hate thing. It’s just that I’ve spent a quarter of my life in Europe and all but one year of the remainder here in the States and my parents weren’t exactly pro-active about raising me “Korean.” They were too busy eeking out a living to bother.

And now I’ve been put into the awkward position of having to choose sides. Figuring out if I want to put my feelings above that of my family. It sure isn’t easy…I just wish my family actually cared about my happiness, rather than what they think is best….


7 responses to “when cultures collide

  1. Oh Sara, I’m so sorry that you are in such a difficult position. If you feel like chatting, you have my email. I am sort of in the same position you are… Chinese family… living at home… Except that I think my older sister paved the way so it is much easier… But anyway, I’m willing to lend an ear if you need one!

  2. Same here. My family is Japanese and my boyfriend is Caucasian and whenever I bring him up (and I only started doing that recently) I am always met with silence just long enough to be uncomfortable. I would be willing to lend an ear or join a conversation as well.

  3. I totally know what you are going through. I am Chinese and any of my Caucasian bf’s were considered “just friends”. Being born and raised here, I have always felt more American than Chinese. My relatives in Hong Kong have always thought of my sister and I as a different breed (ABC’s). The funny thing is, I ended up marrying a Chinese guy (he came to the US from Hong Kong when he was 11yrs old) who is very Americanized. His family is very traditional Chinese and don’t speak English.

    My parents have totally mellowed out though. My little sister has only dated Caucasians and I think that they finally have accepted the fact that she will probably marry her current bf. She and I always talk about the inner struggle of the culture clash.

    You have my email, so feel free to email me if you want to vent.

  4. i have no clue what that’s like, but always happy to lend an ear. 🙂

    and to say having the inlaws hate the spouse = isn’t that the way it’s SUPPOSED to be???? 🙂 ha ha ha.

    i mean i know very few cases where the relationships are harmonius, regardless of race, religion, etc.

    hang in there. i think knowing that you love him is more important than how your parents feel about it.

  5. i 2nd what carolyn says…you look so happy in all your pics w/ him. hell, i haven’t even met him, and i think he’s great for you just from what you say about him…*hugs* babe…i know it sucks, but this, too shall pass…

  6. This is my first time leaving a comment on your blog, which I discovered about a month ago. I am impressed by the brave way you are dealing with these enormous changes in your life. You should be proud of yourself. As for the parents / boyfriend ‘clash’, I think you could give it some time and let things unfold. Your parents are also going through changes with you, so give them some time to accept and deal with them. Hopefully their love for you will prevail over social norms, when they see how good you are for each other. Best wishes!

  7. 😦 I knew you were not looking foward to this. I’ve been very lucky that for the most part my parents have always accepted my boyfriends (and the ones they didn’t usually turned out to be losers anyway LOL) As you know I’m white and my husband is Latin. No issues on my end or from his family but the Colombian girls he knows were furious that he didn’t marry another Colombian or at least a Hispanic. I think they were jealous. 😉

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