UPDATE: Well, if it looks like I haven't been posting lately, I have posted. I just keep erasing my posts or removing them a few minutes after I publish them. Ahem. Everything I write sounds so negative. And whining. And ungrateful. But I do need to write about this so here goes. . .
During my entire time in Pusan, I kept blogging in my head. Does anyone else blog compulsively in their thoughts? If I just had a way to translate my thoughts from my brain straight to the blog. . .
I also was constanting fighting against frustration. Certain sins are no longer a problem for me the way that they used to be. My spiritual life has improved in those areas. In other areas, I am struggling much more than I used to. I suppose this is part of the refining process of life
The culture stress from living in Korea is wearing away at me. The main problem is that I have found no entry way into the culture. I am here, but I am not integrated into anything here. I have only one friend so far, and she is South African not Korean. I do try so hard to meet people. I go out everyday and walk with Buggy Boy. I try to talk to people along the way. I have lots of short conversations here and there, but no lasting relationships, no depth at all. My husband and I are probably in the upper middle class here in terms of status (not necessarily money). It sounds crass to write that, but status is huge, huge, huge here. It really is very obvious and very important where a person "ranks." Anyway, people in the upper middle class that I meet are all very busy people. Even the clerks I talk to daily in the stores are all busy. There is no slow time, really. Maybe life is slower in the Korean villages. But where I am, materialism and business reign supreme.
So, if I try to stay at home, I get frustrated. We just have a small one room apartment. Buggy Boy gets bored inside and whines to go out. I can't do anything while he is awake and he doesn't sleep as much as some babies. I try to go out, but recently it has either been pouring rain or searingly hot. Without a car, I have to walk to wherever I want to go. Fortunately, there is a small indoor playground nearby but it only keeps him busy for so long.
So the result? Instead of rely on God, my temper is getting hotter and shorter. I have no family (not even in-laws) near by, only one friend, and no church. My husband is gone often 12+ hours per day and when he is home, he is tired. I never thought I would be a screaming person, but I am yelling at Buggy Boy more than I would like to admit.
I was hearted to hear my missions professor confess that during his first years of missionary service in Eastern Europe, he struggled with anger for the first time in his life. He confessed that he even flipped people off once--in public! I'm not quite at that point but I'm afraid I will be.
This weekend with my in-laws was good, on the surface. Yet underneath, I was simmering with frustration with everything. I mean everything. I need to chill out.
My mother in law is an ESFJ and has an inordinate urge to take over every single thing that I might even consider doing. If you are an ESFJ, I'm sorry to insult you. She has a heart of gold, and is much more liberal and open minded than other women her age. She just has a personality that fits very poorly with my own. I know that I can not expect her to adjust to me. I must adjust to her. But I can hardly do it.
She is like an advice giving machine. My personality absolutely despises superfluous instructions. I hate boing told to do something which is obvious. Okay, I hate being told to do anything in general. Even for an American, I am extremely independent.
My mother-in-law keeps telling me to use soap when I wash the dishes. I DO USE SOAP. She even advised me to use soap in the shower. I DO USE SOAP. It sounds hilarious when I write about it, but it is nothing but enraging in person when I am constantly interrupted with trivial and idiotic questions and commands. I go into our room to escape for a while and shut the door. My mother-in-law immediately comes in and opens the door saying, "I'm worried that you'll be too hot so I'll open the door for you." Then if I try to close the door again, I have to answer a barrage of questions about why. My Korean skill is not good enough to defend myself.
My mother-in-law has a very loud and deep booming voice and probably outweighes me by 30 pounds. She is not a tiny, meek elderly Korean woman. She is more like a bulldozer. A kind and loving bulldozer but still a bulldozer. Since she is a F (more feeling than thinking) her feelings can be hurt easily and she shows it clearly. Fortunately, we haven't had conflict since last Christmas time.
I try not to complain about her to my husband because it makes him feel bad. I feel bad myself. She is constantly trying to do something to "help" us. The problem is, I would far rather be left alone than be helped.
While we were visiting, my husband and I left Buggy Boy with her to watch and we went out for a small walk with our umbrellas in case it rained. It did rain. No big deal. The weather is at least 75 F. But my mother-in-law (even knowing that we have umbrellas) is worried about us being in the rain so she takes Buggy Boy and gets in their car to try to chase us down. My mother-in-law is the worst driver I have ever seen. And their car has NO child carseat and NO seatbelt. So one year old Buggy Boy is just flopping around in there with an terrible driver at the wheel. And it is a super small, Geo Metro type car. It is night time. It is raining. And they live on a very steep hill. Hello!! My husband says, "Can't you see she is just trying to help us?"
Another way she helps us is by getting up early to make large breakfasts and then being angry when I do not help her or when I do not want to eat. I am not used to being faced with plates of old tasting anchovies or octopus legs when I first open my bleary eyes. My mother-in-law cooks without precision. In fact, her cooking is so bad that I often cannot eat it. Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I have an extreme tolerance for different foods. But my mother-in-law's food is beyond my tolerance.
My mother-in-law also helps me by buying piles of hideous clothes and giving them to me every time I see her. I am not a fashionable person, but I do have to draw the line somewhere. I gulp and try to wear a few of them for her sake, but certain items are just too much. An electric pink polyester shirt with 8 inch fringe strings hanging off the shoulders? A tight t-shirt with a large picture of Britney Spears? Exceedingly baggy bright turquoise pants with embroidered pink flowers? Um, thanks.
Okay, enough ranting. I have hesitated to publish this kind of stuff, since it sounds so pathetic. Sorry to be so pathetic today!