It's a complicated situation, Mama.

My parents' class is one of my favorite times every week. It reminds me a lot of working back in New York. "Parents" is a misleading term, however. Of course, it's a mothers' class. I like sitting and talking with the women, getting their perspective on all things Korean and how my life and background is different from theirs. Today they found out they are my mother's age, as we were doing the unit on talking about families. They were shocked to hear how young my parents got married, and asked if it was common where I was from. I answered that it was.

Last week I found out that they all had arranged marriages, of a sort -- met their husbands and a few weeks later, were married to them. They described it as a kind of adventure and pointed out how sometimes our families may be able to make better decisions for us than we can make for ourselves. Some are very happy to be where they are (Incheon) and some are fairly disgruntled that they had to move here from Seoul or from the country just because this is where their husbands are from.

I look forward to getting to know them better so I feel more comfortable asking more questions. That's one thing I'm still adjusting to. Koreans, on the whole, ask a ton of personal questions almost as soon as they meet you. It doesn't make me uncomfortable at all, as some have apparently heard it does Americans, but I am still uncomfortable asking loads of questions in return. One of the many little miscommunications. Here, asking personal questions is a way of showing interest and building a connection with someone, whereas at home it's labeled "nosy". Here, if you don't ask personal questions it can be misinterpreted as being disinterested, but I still feel rude and forward if I do.

I love the idea of being able to ask anyone anything as soon as I meet them. Just like I love the idea of not wearing shoes at work. With the shoes, it took me two weeks to not feel disrespectful for taking my shoes off at work. It will also take me a while to adjust to not feeling rude when I ask personal questions.

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