Korean by the Bay (Part 1)
by Young N.
“How was your vacation with your parents?”
“Did you have a good time with them? I am sure you did.”
After my vacation, I answered the same questions over and over because my friends knew my parents had visited me for the first time from South Korea. Sure, I was very excited to see them in the U.S.A .where I moved alone and settled down more than 15 years ago. I’ve been praying for this special trip for many years and now here it was. They planned to stay for 3 weeks, so I made a schedule in order not to miss all the places they should see.
First week: I introduced them to the beautiful places around the Bay Area. Strangely, they kept comparing them to back home. “It is not better than what we have back home”, or “we have similar things back home.” Nothing impressed them. We could not spend enough time to really enjoy any one place because they wanted leave right away. Also, they complained about all the food! “It is not delicious. It is too salty, too sweet and too greasy.”
Biggest problem was that they MUST eat 3 meals a day. Breakfast ready by 8AM every morning and only authentic Korean food was big challenge for me. I never cook that early in the morning and never just Korean food. They did not expect perfectly traditional Korean food but I MUST cook rice and soup every morning. Moreover, my father MUST watch Korean news every morning, and my mother had to watch Korean drama every night. It was hard to watch the TV with them since I am not a TV person. I had to deal with all their negativity, and had to change my daily life style to cook and watch Korean TV all the time. I became grumpy and whiny during this week. Many times, I wanted to yell: “You better go back home right now.”
Korean by the Bay (Part 2)
by Young N.
Second week: my baby sister arrived from Michigan and my husband took a bigger role. Once my sister joined the group, my father’s attitude changed. He never refused or complained about anything. He became a “sweet father” to her. Because of this change, everything worked better. We were able to visit and spend time at famous places and able to enjoy nice restaurants with fewer problems. My husband and I were very surprised how my father changed. Specifically, after visiting Muir Woods and Lake Tahoe, my father did not compare things back home, “The trees are so big and the scenery is the most beautiful ever I’ve seen.” (WOW!!)
Third week: my baby sister returned to Michigan and my husband went back to work. My parents preferred to stay home and watch Korean TV every day, all day, rather than traveling around. That meant, I had to cook three Korean food meals, and watch Korean TV all day. It was very difficult, but I was happy to see them enjoy their time. After 3 weeks, it was bitter sweet that they had to go back to home.
So, how was my vacation? Well, week one, I wanted to send them back home so bad. Week two, my sister rescued me (and my parents). Week three, I came to an acceptance that this was my parent’s vacation, not mine.