I find myself in a game of chicken with my mom. A very twisted one. It's a strange situation so I thought maybe doing a Kimchi mamas post about it would clear some things up.
After living with me for about a year and a half and taking care of my first son for us, my mom moved to Boston to live with my sister. Why you ask? We fought. A LOT. And she's a little bit crazy. =) Just kidding. She's a LOT bit crazy.
As many regular readers know by now, I am still a Korean citizen. By nationality. By passport. By "hell no, you can't vote in this country because your country and this country do not have a dual-citizenship pact".
I am a permanent resident, tax paying legal alien. Those of you who were ready to dial Homeland Security, you may step away from the phone now. And no, you can't get me deported just because you find my posts annoying or because I rub you the wrong way. My ex wanted to get me deported because I wanted to divorce him.
Speaking of... I usually save rantings about my ex for my own blog but I thought I'd share this on Kimchi Mamas since it's kimchi-related.
As a public health student, I learned that Korean American families had one of the highest domestic violence (DV) rates among all ethnic groups in America. Makes sense. Historic male chauvinism combined with rampant alcoholism among a generation who grew up during a war (or the aftermaths) seems to be a healthy recipe for DV to thrive. Sprinkle it with a fiery temper and the passion (oh the passion!) that seems to be a part of Korean culture. It may be a recipe for disaster.
Recently I read some stories here. They are heart wrenching.
A former co-worker of mine is a Korean Catholic nun. A sister.
I am not religious. I may be faithful but I am not religious. However, I do have fondness for tradition, rites, rituals, and healthy sense of pride, fall, sins, and punishment. And I had hoped to some day become a nun, not as a religious vocation but more as a social and spiritual one, when I grow up. Of course, my mother being a Korean protestant would never allow me to step inside a catholic church.
Sister S stopped by last week to see if I would be interested in joining a support group run by her church. Apparently the women in the group are like me: first generation Korean immigrants who were married to white men and are now divorced.
Her church also provides a Korean language school for little ones like my Little Nabi.
As the divorced (and practically single) mother to two Asia American/Caucasian children, I struggle. Specifically as the mother of an Asian American/Caucasian boy, I struggle with the idea of masculinity.
My father is a traditional man’s man. As a small child he (and a few of his friends) built an addition to our family’s home. He did almost, if not all, of the minor repairs to our home, cars and appliances. He drinks, he smokes and like many men of his generation, he waxes nostalgic by singing old folk songs while he smokes and drinks.
According to my divorce attorney, I am her record for fastest divorce. We originally filed 3 months ago, Little Nabi and I were forced to relocate so filed again 2 months ago, and I should be officially divorced in 12 days. Considering the contention and custody issues, this is quite a feat.
Not that divorce is something to be proud of - ask my mother, she sure ain't proud of her divorce-happy daughters - but I couldn't help doing a mental shrug and think, "Hey, what do you expect? I'm Korean; I like to rush things." You can almost hear me yelling, while hovering over my attorney as she drafted my divorce papers, "Ppali*, ppali!" Can't you?
My sister was divorced for over two years and remarried for almost 6 months when my mother finally shared the information with her immediate family. Of course, it is easier for her to keep our secrets when we live on different continents.
Although, from this 2003 NY Times article, I get the sense that divorces are not that taboo any more... yet they are. It is a uniquely cultural paradox, don't you think?
As some of you may already know from my personal blog, I am in the throes of preparing for an upcoming divorce. I have not filed yet but it's already quite ugly, given that we also have a Little Nabi to fight over consider,and I we have abandoned all hope of future relocation to Korea in order for LN to learn her mother's side of culture and language. As a matter of fact, that aspect of our future plans was the first thing PN, my soon-to-be-ex husband, brought up as something he would not allow if I were to proceed with the divorce plans.
Some of the things with which I initially wrestled included not only the demise of aforementioned plan but also racial and cultural components of our family now and in the future.