Love and marriage... love and marriage... *cue theme song from the Bundy Show*
I'm noticing how my relationship with my extended Korean family has changed since my marriage. I moved out and away for college so I don't see them all that often but I feel like there are these "unspoken" rules that now apply to me, since I am married and have kids.
1. I should give a cash gift, preferably a large cash gift, at family weddings. Some of my non-married cousins didn't give me a wedding gift. Their parent(s), however, did. This leads me to believe that until you are married, the nuclear family is considered as one unit for gift-giving purposes. I don't think I gave presents at my cousin's weddings either before I got married... granted I was rather young, not even working but still... I thought it was a little bit strange when most of my grown Korean cousins did not give me a wedding gift... but maybe that is the Korean way?
I can't help but notice just the sheer number of words in Korean that have to do with your relationship to others... compared to the lack of the equivalent word in English.
Older brother can be oppa or hyung depending on if you are a girl or a boy. Older sister can be unni or noona depending on the same. An aunt can be emo, or gomo, or kun umma (big mom) or jack eun umma (little mom) depending on if the aunt is from your dad's side of the family or your mom's side of the family and if she is biologically related to you or if she married into the family. And this is barely barely scratching the surface of all these words! Words that implicit in their being also have the capacity to tell you the gender of the person using the word, the gender of the person that is being referred to, the age (respective to the user) of the person that is being referred to, and also convey the amount of respect that one should have for this person.
I am the product of an interracial marriage; my dad is white and my mom is Korean. And because of my experience as the biracial child of an interracial couple, I have always felt like race should have no place when it comes to love. Call me naive, but it confuses and offends me to to hear people talk about how they wouldn't date or marry a person of such-and-such race. Of course, attraction and love are tricky, complicated subjects when it comes to race (i.e. when does attraction cross over into fetishism?). But, ultimately, it makes my head explode to consider the idea that I would refuse to fall in love - or refuse to marry somebody I loved - if that person were of a different race than me. The idea is to me - a biracial person - personally hurtful.
Ultimately, however, I married a Korean American man. Being Korean was not on my Future Husband Checklist, but marrying my husband and starting a family with him has connected me more deeply to my Korean American identity. I am both proud and grateful for that. I like that my husband and I share a culture, identity and experience as second generation Korean Americans and I love being able to share that with our kids, but I know also that neither or marital bliss nor our familial strength are based predominately on those commonalities.
Communication is one of the things, if not THE ONE thing, that make a marriage work. I’d like to think I’ve learned from my first marriage – and preparing for the second one has made me more aware of the critical role communication plays in a successful marriage.
Though the engagement wasn’t a total surprise, the proposal was . . . and really it was THE perfect proposal for us. (A motorcycle ride – two bikes: his and mine, a Texas Hill Country river, grand cypress trees, the most beautiful engagement ring and the most loving, patient, caring, handsome man I know on one knee.) * Swoon *
Hello, my name is Angie in Texas and I date online.
The experience overall has been really positive. I've met a few men who are interesting, smart, funny, good-looking, etc. I have even gone on a few dates with these men. And how do I know they're good-looking? Because many of these sites (I use only one in particular) allow you to post photos of yourself and actually encourage you to do so - you generate more interest with photos . . .
The problem is that the photos are a dead give-away that I am Asian. (There's a place to denote your ethnicity on your profile, but it's the photos that do it, I think . . .) I have no issue with the fact that I am Asian. I know it. My family knows it. Even my friends know it.
The problem lies in the responding interested parties.
Like: Asian Fetish Man.
Asian Fetish Man is the man who says "ni how" or "an yeoung" at the bookstore. Asian Fetish Man is the guy you dated who on your first date wanted to know ALL about your "Asian-ess" or worse, kept talking about his experience with Asia, the people and the culture . . . Asian Fetish Man is also the creppy guy who you *just KNOW* has that demoralizing fantasy of "oh me so horny" sexiness or complete submission.
Have you run into Asian Fetish Man? And now that you're a MILF, do you still?
Everything you may have heard about these Korean parents wanting a Korean partner for their children? Erase them from your mind. Not true. In fact, far from truth, judging from some of the past comments I have seen here on Kimchi Mamas.
Because I am divorced with a biracial child, my mother is concerned that I am now dating a Korean man. Actually, a man who has very similar ethnic make-up as I: 1/4 Japanese and 3/4 Korean. He even comes with a biracial daughter. How perfect, one would think...
Why is she concerned? She is concerned that a man who doesn't look like her own father will enter my Little Nabi's life. She couldn't insist on her original protest, when I had once mentioned wanting to marry a Korean man some day, that I would be a huge disappointment to a Korean mother-in-law; my man is adopted so I was able to curtail any Korean mother-in-law discussions.