Sunday, June 7, 2009

South Korea 11

(still June 6)

With my overnight things in hand I headed to the lobby. There i met my host, Cho Ok-Jin. She was shy about using her English but told me that her brother would join us. We headed out with some of my classmates and their hosts to explore the Bupyeong area of Incheon. We had fun having coffee, eating dinner, making fans, taking pictures, and chatting. Talking with Ok-Jin and her brother, was intersting. Ok-Jin is 27 years old (Korean age), and her brother is five years older. They were suprised to hear that I was married at 23. I was even more suprised to hear that they live with their parents. in my experience, young people who live in cities live with roommates or by themselves. We all enjoyed comparing our cultures and experiencing theirs. One of my classmates and his host seem to be hitting it off and Ok-Jin and I joke that they would make a cute couple. This sparked discussion (again) of relationships and culture. Both Ok-Jin and her brother want to marry Koreans and he explained to me that it is not because of family pressure but because, though he speaks English well, he expresses himself best in Korean. He told me that he did not want to marry someone who would not experience the fullness of his love because of his limited language. Here I had thought (after meeting a Korean girl who is dating an African-American guy and worries about what her family will say when she tells them that they want to get married) that secretly all Koreans want to marry someone who is not Korean but choose not to because of the old people. What a poor assumption on my part. Americans don't know what having a national identity is all about. Our country is so young and we are currently such a mixture of people that we have very little history in common with our fellow American in comparison to the rest of the world, especially the Korean people. Why do some South Koreans want to be reunited with North Koreans, no matter how hard or far-fetched the idea may seem? Because to be divided means a severed sense of identity. To not share all of their hostory with the North Koreans is breaking the hearts of many South Korean people. I wish I could experience such strong roots.

moving on...

The young adult service in the evening was better attended than I ever imagined. They had over 250 people at their Saturday service! This group showered us with gifts, love, prayers, and acceptance. more Korean hospitality! It never ends...

After a very long (but fulfilling day) Ok-Jin and I reached her house. All the way there she kept telling her brother to take my bag for me. I wouldn't let him, but the effort was kind and a bit humorous. When we arrived, her father was still at work and her mother was out with an old friend, and so she and I shared pictures. I showed her a picture of Garrett, my dad, my brother, and I at my wedding. She then showed me a picture of her parents at their wedding 34 years ago. This picture is gorgeous with the newly married couple dressed in traditional Korean attire. I asked if they (Ok-Jin and her brother) if they wanted to wear traditional Korean attire at their weddings, and they both answered yes. They told me that the younger generation will have the wedding wearing traditional attire and then go to the reception wearing Western wedding attire, or vice versa. It is just another example of how the traditional Korean culture can be maintained while still moving forward. It is a balance that amazes me.

After a glass of corn silk tea, I hit the sack. I was wiped!! As a special treat, Ok-Jin treated me to a serenade. She sang and strummed her guitar while sitting cross-legged on her blankets while I sat in her bed. She would not let me sleep on the floor, no matter how hard I fought. I really think that if you look up hospitality in the dictionary you will find a picture of a kind Korean face in the margin.

1 comment:

Learning as I go said...

These posts are great! I can't wait to read more!Enjoy your time!