Tuesday, September 7, 2010

american mom in korea.

i know i owe you all (whoever still reads this poor excuse for a blog) some korea posts. what our apartment is like, what we've been doing, sites we've seen, food we've eaten, etc. let me know if there is something specific you're interested in.

for now, i'm going to write about what is on my mind most of the time. motherhood.

back in the states i got a few stranger encounters, random pieces of advice and criticism while pregnant and also as a new parent.

nothing compares to here.

i was told that in the korean culture babies are held high. they let children do what they want, and also everyone feels they can take responsibility for them, and take care of them.

we see this a lot! people aren't afraid to take eliza from me. we've joked a couple times about them stealing her. they'll just grab her and walk over to their friends and act like it's no big deal!

there have also been times where people want to feed her. a lady on the train gave her part of her nectarine. this was before she was eating "big people" food. from then on it was like "well, she ate that fine, i suppose she can stop eating baby food!" it was also weird that we didn't really second guess taking food from a stranger.

you can also tell when they don't agree with your parenting. even though there is a language barrier we know they are ridiculing us for...

  • having her out in the rain without an umbrella. (she won't melt)
  • not keeping her shaded from the sun. (she has sunscreen on)
  • keeping her out too late. (she's usually in bed by 7, but some weekends it's later)
  • tickling her. (she was laughing!)
we have had encounters with all of these situations. my friend mallory was being lectured on the street for not having the shade over her son logan's stroller. the ladies stood there with their umbrella covering him while she pulled the diaper bag off and put the shade up.

i once had a group of pre-teen girls pull eliza out of her stroller to wrap her towel around her better. we had just come from the fountain, and i just tossed her hooded towel on her. they had to make sure she was all bundled up!

protecting her head. very important!

just this past weekend while riding the train i was tickling eliza. she was laughing like crazy! the lady next to me started waving her hand. then she grabbed my side, kind of tickled me, then started waving her finger like "no. don't do that!" later i reached over and was rubbing eliza's foot and the lady straightened up and peered over to see what i was doing!

they sure do love kids here. anytime we go out the kids draw so many people in. i know it's partly because we're american and a walking freak show, but also because they are babies.

new exhibit at the zoo. american babies!
it is fun to see the interaction. i know i can't understand them, but i'm guessing eventually eliza will start to. they just talk to her like korean is her language. she'll pick up!

i'm so thankful for these experiences...even if they have caused some awkward moments!


Ali said...

this is not a poor excuse for a blog - you just havent been writing much. I love you blog & your pictures! I would love a weekly update.

momv said...

tell me about the food, and which food we should try at a korean place near the university here??? mom <>< +

Mallory Sessions said...

For some reason Korea just feels safe to me. Coming from someone who has had a pretty traumatic experience happen to me here... I can still say I feel safer here then in the US. The people geniunely care about our kiddos. Drives me crazy sometimes, but I can't wait to tell Logan the stories of HIS adventure here! Him and Eliza are pretty much celebs here :)

Erin said...

This is probably one of the neatest things I've read in awhile! It must be so hard to get used to and I can totally see how it'd be awkward, but how neat that people care so much. It's really neat to me, too, because when we flew out east this summer, a Korean woman and her niece were on the plane. The aunt didn't speak any English at all and the niece very broken. Shane was walking Tommy down the aisle of the plane when the older woman reached out her arms for Tommy. He happily handed her over and she spent the next 30 minutes holding him, not even caring that he was sticking his hands in her mouth, pulling on her hair. I just thought she liked babies, but now it makes sense!

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