Monday, December 6, 2010

Afternoon in Seoul

We went out today to meet friends for lunch in Seoul today. Actually, I had not met Violaine in person before. She was introduced to me on Facebook by another friend. She, her Korean husband, and two children (3 and 7 months) had been living in China for several years. They are stopping briefly in Korea to visit with her husband's family before moving to France, where she's from. She seemed very excited to be moving home, and it was nice to see our current situation reflected in theirs. Violaine did not like living in small town China. She said it was very difficult starting a family there. According to her, the birth options are even more bleak than in Korea, and she ended up having her second son at home, unassisted. She said the hospitals were that bad. And she's one to do her research. She visited Korea and met with Dr. Chung and liked the idea, but decided against it due to overbearing in-laws. I think she's pretty brave for staying in China to have her baby... I think I would have gone back to my home country had I been in her situation. Luckily, everything turned out for the best. Then, she had a lot of trouble with finding reliable childcare. Apparently in small towns there, authorities turn a blind eye to many things, including sexual abuse, which actually happened in her town, and at her son's school. When her husband's employer cut their family's health insurance off, they decided it was time to leave. I'm glad I have no terrible stories like that to take with me as I leave Korea. In general, I have been treated very well here and while starting a family here has been challenging, it hasn't been all that bad. There are certainly many things I will miss about living in Korea. I will share them in another post.

It will be interesting to see how Vio does as she adjusts to life in France after so long away from home. She and her husband have been submitting resumes online for some time, but zero responses. I asked her if she had considered living in Korea, but no...the over-bearing in-laws.

As for our move to Canada, it's still in the works, but I am not focusing on it at the moment. I want to complete my writing contract to the best of my ability. Applications are easy in comparison.


Becky said...

Hubby has come done with some nasty intestinal viruses while working in China. The water is horrible. The Dept. of Health here in MN has a file on him with all the nasty bugs he has come back with.

Do you know when you will be moving?

Kasia said...

Oh, Sarah! your post has brought so many thoughts to my mind! I had my baby in Italy where we moved when I was 32 weeks pregnant. It was quite a spontaneous decision: for all my pregnancy I had thought I would have had my baby in England, with birth plan already ready. But at the last moment we moved to Genoa, my partner's home town where we believed to settle down but soon enough we found out we didn't like it there. I think I had never felt so depressed and lonely in my life as I felt there. After one year we decided to move back to London. It was for many reasons but the most important was my partner's parents: so over-bearing. We hardly had time for us as a couple and they caused lots of tension between me and my partner and between us and them. Don't get me wrong: they are very good people and I love them a lot but they simply made our life impossible in Genoa. We know we want to settle down in Italy one day as we miss the country but we crossed out Genoa from the list for sure.

About starting family abroad: although I had lots of fears and worries about my labor in Italy, it was really great. I had a water labor which was a nice surprise (we didn't make any arrangements but my midwife offered while I was in the delivery room). The lights were dimmed and music was playing. It was a special moment. I can talk about it for hours (my sister, for a change, doesn't want to remember; she had her baby in my native Poland and it was horrible experience for her, with the doctor shouting at her). But having a baby in Genoa is not easy for a foreigner. There was much struggle with everything for me (traveling by bus with pram, no playdates/playgroups etc). I could write a lot on the subject but I don't want to rumble for too long...

Have a great day,

sorry if my comment is a bit messy but I'm writing with cheeky Gaia on my laps...

Sarah said...

Becky, yeah... I can't imagine. According to my friend, Korea is very clean compared to China. Although she said that living in Shanghai was much better.

Kasia, yes, it's never easy having kids far from home. I was lucky and the conditions were fairly good, and my in-laws aren't that bad. Husband does a good job of setting limits and boundaries and is understanding of my cultural needs.
It sounds like you had a lovely birth experience and you're very lucky. I too am sick of dealing with public transportation with a little one. Looking forward to a change of pace back in my home country. :)