My mother’s first words when looking at those two photos (above) of herself were,
“Nobody can tell I’m oriental in those.”
-©My Korean Mother
The dilemma? She kind of understands the Internet, does NOT find it safe, BUT wants to contribute; so she can inspire, motivate, educate and encourage women around the world. (No gender or age really because she’s very loving. She REALLY loves babies!)
This is the “gap” I live to fill very gently, safely, and creatively. Not only for my Korean mother though. My hope is globally.
Inspired by my Korean mother. Make sense?
I hope you understand I love her dearly, and live to encourage her – to live a long, long time. I am NOT here to exploit my mother, and AM extremely protective of her, my family and dearest friends.
No good segue here.
I live bridging gaps, or building burned downed bridges – in relationships – cultivate, motivate and have built careers for others, but am done with that on a personal level!
I don’t put much stock in testing or degrees, OK?
Honestly, I still have nightmares about finishing university to get my first degree, and technically I have three.
Maybe because I did not attend one single graduation of my own. My guess is I didn’t get a sense of closure with a lousy piece of paper. I got out early, kept on moving, graduation time rolled around, and I was already gone. The last one? I refused to be told how to dress. It bumped out my planned motorcycle ride, to there and back – so I said,
My mother is Korean, right? Go ahead, and roll your eyes. (My humor! We’re obviously like that.) Finished?
Think about it. Third World countries don’t have ceremonies when the roads are dirt. She slept on floors heated by coal, no running water, no indoor plumbing, and it gets – down right cold!
Little sweaters are tattered in the rare traditional photographs. It has no place when rationing a bowl of rice each day.
I thought about that the other day. Starch or carbohydrates leaves YOU hungry after YOU eat it because it turns to sugar. Many Americans complain after eating Chinese food about being hungry after they eat. It’s all that RICE!
I realized after she ate her rice, she got hungry for more food, and didn’t know why. Delayed gratification in my mother’s life would make your head spin.
One day, I had to break some really tough news that made her beautiful head spin, THEN I helped make sense of it all – and as soon as she understood – it STOPPED! That’s what I do best – the HARD stuff.
Anyway, that delayed gratification appears to be the cultivation of such traits as tenacity, self-discipline, persistence, efficiency, and diligence.
Somehow I got all those traits and more from my father, but had the opportunity to use them all differently. Like her, none of it was easy, but that makes everything GOOD.
WAIT! Let me correct that… it makes what I learned and know – BETTER!
My awareness globally and socially began memorably when I was three years old.
I understood “poor” at age five! Another successful woman with a terrific life story, didn’t understand “poor” until she was in her teens. HUGE difference in our lives with a similar thread.
Traditions felt unnatural to me, because I remember seeing my Korean mother being naturalized on TV, at age three. I remember distinctly what she was wearing, and knew that she had taken sewing lessons, to make her beautifully tailored suit. It was fully lined too, perfectly pressed and matching, in a satin grapefruit shade of pink.
She looked very classy too. The fabric was textured, colorful, yet very subtle, and covered with her favorite food – fruit. I didn’t know that fact until much, much later in life.
So my memory is sharp, extreme attention to detail, (except writing like this) creativity, fashion, poverty, global, social and self-awareness, and so much more – all beginning extremely early in life. Yes, I do have that Korean vanity streak too, yet it’s become less important to me – along with materialism.
You become more creative when you don’t have any money, and you learn how to be more frugal when you do. Sometimes you have to take risks, that’s how you learn the most in life, and make another new opportunity for yourself.
“NO SELF-PITY! You do it yourself.”
-©My Korean Mother Says
Until she realized it was all by the Grace of God, of course.
I didn’t intend to write ANY of this! That’s what I love about writing alone – on WordPress.
I told her to write it down. She balked. I encouraged her to encourage other women around this beautiful world. After all, she lived through two wars, knows poverty like so few these days, and I cannot express it like her!
She did what everyone tries do. She tried to bargain with me,
“You write down as I tell it to you. You can type it faster than I can write. I need to use dictionary to find words. It takes me too long.”
-©My Korean Mother
“You write fine. I can read over any misspelled word. If you don’t know a word, just call me. I’ll give you a brand new pad of paper and pen that won’t hurt your hand… Give me two sentences each day. Something simple and inspirational. That’s all.”
It’s been a few days, but she got right on it. I’m not going to push her into anything. It’s more for her wellbeing, yet let it be an inspiration to you.
You do realize my Korean mother is NOT exactly young. Right? NOBODY can tell by looking at her! Her posture is perfect, and her memory is sharp.
What is written above was NOT easy for her – for MANY reasons. She taught herself to speak English when she was in her near mid-twenties. She taught herself to read and write later. She has three dictionaries sitting out. She was NOT fully educated in Korea, due to extreme poverty of living in a Third World country.
Due to WWII, my mother was forced to learn to speak Chinese and Japanese, on top of her native Korean. She calculates math faster in three or four languages in her head than I can get my phone out to find the calculator app. It’s more fascinating to watch and listen to her anyway. If I told you the entire story – you’d be impressed.
She is VERY amazing! I’ve been extremely blessed. She’s not exactly the sweetest to me. If you are of the Korean, Chinese, Japanese culture – they tend to be the most similar in the “oriental” cultures. They push, demand, and are very strict.
What she’s written is very touching. Heartbreaking actually, because she didn’t see any Americans until she was older than what you might imagine.
My Korean mother still vividly remembers her first taste of chocolate, and describes her first piece of spearmint chewing gum. She did not have ANY money to buy anymore and describes how she preserved that one piece. She was an older child.
She thanks God for the “US of America” for the fortune of “freeing South Korea” and still feels badly for North Korea, because she was born in Korea – when it was ONE – not divided.
When older she worked for an American Air Force base as telephone operator, and in the Officer’s Mess Hall as a waitress. Where a Colonel fell in love with her and found her years later in America.
His name was Charlie, and he called her for 20 years constantly, sending her beautiful red roses (her favorite flower), begging her to leave with her children for him, calling us his own, but she would not budge.
Regardless of the fact, that she was shunned by EVERYONE except my dad when she landed in America, and did not marry a wealthy or prestigious man. (There was an angel of a woman at the airport who graciously helped her – that story is also beautiful.)
Talk about faith and stamina.
One day, she told Charlie to go marry, stop calling her, changed our phone number and unlisted it permanently. (We do believe he has since died.)
She has NEVER taken the easy way out.
My Korean mother ultimately taught me:
- Do NOT EVER second guess yourself!
- Do NOT stop!
- Blaze your OWN trail!
- Rear your children in a Bible believing church, and let them go.
- Work HARD, be DEDICATED, LOYAL, disciplined, tenacious, persistent, ALWAYS pursuing MORE, and DOING.
- Most importantly – women – WHEN you SENSE a man is using, misleading, harming you, holding you back, or bringing you down – and YES… it includes family – WHEN whomever WILL NOT LISTEN after all YOUR PATIENT PERSISTENCE – TURN YOUR BACK and WALK!
- Pursue YOUR DREAMS as hard as it seems. There is NOTHING stopping you!
- ALWAYS hold your head HIGH.
Together, we’ve concluded my birth was to make sense of my life, our lives, our family, and gradually she’s come to know and tell ME,
“You’re really strong.”
-©My Korean Mother
“Only by the Grace of God.”
-©IM Infusion Musings
I’ve tried to tell her I’m the spitting image of her. I’d give anything if ONLY she could SEE it!
Only I know what can make her proud of me. God knows it’s so simple too!
This was totally spontaneous.
If you’d like to know more, please let me know. I’ll share your curiosity with her, get her permission, and we can carry on from there.
Sound like a plan?
Show your appreciation for her by making a donation in her honor, please? This isn’t about me – I’m complimenting her highly.
©IM Infusion Musings a casual peer level life coach. My style is to guide and write to you impromptu, personally, and help you smile. I’ve been known for years to make the tough stuff in life really clear, lift burdens, and help make life appear more simple – or less complex – to understand.
I grew up living my life – focused on listening intently to (communicating with) my Korean mother – translating and explaining the minutia of seemingly everything. Sometimes her words were the wrong ones – totally, and I knew what she meant – exactly. I was the only one in the family who knew what she meant with precision.
Writing like this is more homey or cozy to me. It sets me apart in this world, and I like it. Errors and all.
She and my Creator, using nature vs nurture formed my unique mind too. Being born in petri dish of incredible, unimaginable diversity helps tremendously with innately understanding the interwoven intricacies in communications, and the most difficult relationships… including the one with your “self”.
My Korean mother reared me as child to think globally and about others first, founded upon a culture of respect. It is definitely flawed for women around the world. It’s also a common theme that’s out of balance.