Old Men and the place I belong

Somedays it really is so hard living here. Somedays I really regret living here and wish I could just go back to America and start over. But I can’t at this point.

I feel so split in half and it drives me crazy. I feel like I have an identity crisis.
So, I live here in Korea and I know a decent amount of Korean. I’ve learned about Korean history and learned pop culture to try and fit in. I know about the latest programs on TV, some of the newest groups and songs out, I probably know more than most Koreans here. But I constantly get badgered by random Koreans about “cultural performances” and things they think I don’t know about. I feel like I am having Korean culture shoved down my throat all the time. So I work hard to fit in but no matter what, I never will. I’m still a foreigner to these people.

But when I go to America, I’m considered the Asian White friend. I don’t quite fit in with the most popular trends and I tend to even just dress different from them. I don’t know about the latest TV shows going on or the latest news updates and so when people talk, I get left out sometimes. I am a bit odd in conversations because I don’t know how to fit into that conversation. People have changed so much in the 3 years I’ve been gone that I don’t know how to fit back in sometimes. My family feels like strangers sometimes because we barely talk and we all lead such different lives that I don’t know what to do. So I just do my own thing. But everyone is doing their own things that it’s hard to get my foot in. Luckily I have a few people who try to keep me in their lives and I’m ever so grateful for that but still, it’s only during certain hours.

So sometimes, with all this, I really don’t know where I belong. I try to fit in in Korea, but I get forced out. I try to fit in at home but it’s just hard to keep up since I’m not there. I try to make a life for myself here but no matter what I do, I will never be someone’s best friend here. Their go-to for their problems. I just tend to have sunny-day friends. Whenever it’s convenient for them, they’re willing to hang out. I think this is why I want a boyfriend so bad. I want someone who I can pick up the phone and text throughout the day to bitch about coworkers and the little things that have happened throughout the day. Someone who I can act like me. Not the cute Korean me. But the strange American me. I miss that.

And with all the creepy people in this place, it drives me crazy. All these old men keep trying shit with me and I can’t stand it. Last Christmas Eve, I was picking up a package and the building manager tried to ask me out to a movie and a night on the town with him (mind you, he’s as old or older than my father, who is in his mid 50s). Then, last Thursday, I was throwing out trash and met some random guy in our building in the elevator (also about 50s-60s). He tried to start some small talk but the elevator ended so I tried to leave but he goes the same way as me and ends up walking through the subway station with me, asking things like “Do I have a boyfriend?” “How old is he?” “How old are you?” “What do you do?” and I have to lie about a bunch of stuff or he will get the wrong idea. So, I get on the escalator and he stands next to me and then grabs my hand, trying to hold it. I was so annoyed. He finally let it go but everyone was staring at me and I felt so uncomfortable. He gave me his business card and I find out he is a dentist/minister. Yeah, in Korea, you can have your own church and business at the same time. And he kept inviting me to his house for tea but it was so strange.
And then, last night I got another package so I went to go get it, and it’s the building manager again so I go get my package and he’s like “Please shake my hand.” I tried to tell him that I have a cold and I don’t want to get him sick. (I really am sick and I sound like it too) But he still grabs my hand for a shake with that odd smile and then lets me leave. I quickly run away.

I feel so uncomfortable anymore. It’s not that I feel unsafe, just uncomfortable. It’s becoming so frequent that it’s not even funny. I wish there was a comfortable balance in my life.

Categories: Uncategorized | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Old Men and the place I belong

  1. Kelly

    Hey MK! You can’t say anything to them in a stern voice? That is unbelievable! Or get all ghetto at them?

    • Haha hey Kelly. No I can’t get ghetto on them. Some I probably could but some no. I hear it’s because I’m a foreigner and they see it as a good will gesture. I asked my boss about it and he tried to say it wasn’t sexual harassment, that it was because I was pretty. But pretty can have a slight different meaning. Kinda like pleasing? But I got him to realize that it was harassment one way or another.

      • Kelly

        That is so bizarre! Now I can’t see old Korean men the same way…hopefully they will ignore me when Lilly and I visit you!

      • They will stare but that’s about it. We will be fine

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