There are a million things that I love about Koreans and Korea. The men, the passion, the food, the konglish, the simplicity of the language, the hanbok, the family, the traditions...to name a few. But there are some parts of the culture that I cannot navigate and a few things that I downright hate (besides the leggy shrimp): The vagueness, the indirectness, the saving face. These things are nearly impossible for a cornfed westerner such as myself to grasp and though I understand them to be inextricably connected to the things I love, I find myself at a bit of a cultural crossroad.
I'm staying for another year and a career opportunity has presented itself in the form of a promotion. But the promotion means that I would have to somehow learn how to tread emotionally lightly in true korean fashion...never really saying what I think, bowing down to superiors even when I think they are wrong, saying yes when I really mean no and then just NOT doing the thing I said yes too in order to "save face". It's better to say yes and not do it or make an excuse than to say, "I am unable to accomplish the task you have requested of me." This is NOT true to my character. The reason they want me for the position is because I am a communicator. But I contend that my communication skills are only as effective as the system in which they are permitted to function. I'm interested in challenges but not if it means losing a valuable part of my integrity or what I perceive as my integrity. Any thoughts?
In other news, I've found a new coping mechanism now that my guitar is a bit on the fritz. It's call TreeTop Trouble and just TRY to tell me this isn't addictive... I can't get to level 4 and my students are buzzing up to 20. This is unacceptable. I will simply need to devote more time to competitive chihuahua jumping. If indeed that little animal is a chihuahua.
Zipper's Treetop Trouble