Life in the End Times

Shin's gift to Annie on their One Year Anniversary

At the Restaurant

Filed under: In-Laws & Outlaws — Annie at 10:54 am on Tuesday, April 6, 2010

We hadn’t seen our inlaws for a while due to Easter, although I tried really hard to arrange a meeting (called and invited them over to our home, or to stop by theirs- about 3 attempts). So anyway we finally met them on a Sunday with plans to eat out.

We arrived at their home and she gave our son an ice cream bar and a whole banana. She enjoys feeding him so okay.. although I’m not completely at ease about him eating that much sugar to begin with. We headed out to the restaurant and Elijah wouldn’t eat because of course he was full from ice cream and banana. He started getting antsy and cranky.

So my Mother In Law took him to the empty table next to us to play with him. She started standing him on the restaurant table with his shoes on and encouraging him to walk or crawl over the table to the seats. I asked her very politely not to teach him to stand on tables but she said very authoritatively, “Let him come to me.” So I went and sat back down next to my husband TICKED. I told my husband he was responsible for our son’s behavior b/c I was not going to confront his mother. My husband wasn’t really aware of what was going on. But finally my father in law scolded his wife saying you have to teach babies the right things from early on or they’ll grow up learning the wrong thing.

I couldn’t agree more.

where home is

Filed under: In-Laws & Outlaws — Annie at 11:46 am on Friday, May 8, 2009

In need of the Bible today. I’ve been running on empty and just falling into depression and anger. Lately I’ve been longing for home. It’s been two years since we were in our own home. One year in Paraguay, then several months in Missouri and the past year with our in laws. Its wearing on me. These days I’ve been intensely longing to be at my mom’s home- I guess its the most home-y place in my heart. Not here. Here I’m on my toes, watching what I say, what I do, always vying for approval, with the constant reminders of how I am not really a member of this family because what I value and what they value are still at odds. Plus the memories of all the hurtful things that were said to me to put me in my place- always last. Now that my son is here even he is more a part of this family than I am. Sigh. I’m ready to move out and I won’t be fooled this time.

DTR with the MIL

Filed under: In-Laws & Outlaws — Annie at 10:59 pm on Monday, July 28, 2008

Just finished a 2 hour conversation with Shin and the in-laws.

Here’s a tip for the American daughters-in-law about relating to your Korean mother-in-law. They told me not to try to develop relationship by bringing up topics of conversation for the purpose of sharing thoughts and plans. It will cause conflict because she will most certainly try to fix your problem while at the same time being unable to relate. Instead, just bring up questions that you don’t have answers to.

Relationship with your in-laws is built by their correcting you, by discomforts that you both feel while bumping into each other, by eating and sleeping in the same house day after day, and by fulfilling your role as the helper in the house. But she made an amendment to that. She decided that she’s not going to treat me with politeness as normally occurs towards a daughter-in-law. Instead she plans to correct me if I don’t do things to her standards of taking care of her son, and soon, her grandchild as well.

She thinks that over the years we will become closer because of this hazing. I think it’s just the opposite. I will increasingly resent her. You can’t apply Korean paradigm to an American and think that it will work. Nor can I ever expect her to understand American paradigms.


Filed under: In-Laws & Outlaws — Annie at 12:02 pm on Saturday, July 26, 2008

Today is my FIL’s “real” birthday. The birthday on his drivers license is around Father’s day because I don’t know why. A lot of Koreans have two birthdays because of immigration or leap year or I don’t know. So my MIL told Shin and I to pick up a cake to show him we remembered this birthday, although we celebrated by giving him a gift in June. So I was asking Shin, “So should we celebrate his birthday twice a year?” And Shin was like, “Just ask when it comes up” And I was like, “That’s why I’m asking because it came up” And he’s like, “They just want you to watch and learn.” What? I’m asking for the purpose of storing the information and the customs in my head and I was getting some vague answer that discouraged me from getting involved. That just makes me think I should shut up and just do as I’m told. That’s what I’ve watched and learned.

The Chocolate Bed

Filed under: In-Laws & Outlaws — Annie at 6:05 pm on Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Well, I’m happy to say I’m doing much better concerning my living situation. Tuesdays are cleaning days at the Kim’s (seniors). I usually sleep anxiously Monday night dreading cleaning day because it’s strenuous and unpleasant packed into one day. So this morning I drank some Paraguayan cocido, which I confess is caffeinated, and went at it full strength with my ipod on.

To my surprise I actually found myself ironing my freshly washed sheets and feeling strange. This is the first time in my entire life I have ever ironed my sheets. It was because last Tuesday my mother in law gaped and gawed at my wrinkled, “But they’re washed!” sheets. I was offended by her standards but she did succeed at making me take notice for the very first time. Maybe had she said it nicely and treated me with courtesy I would have listened without defense.

Now I don’t know how to iron a fitted sheet yet. And don’t know that it’s worth ironing flat and fitted sheets because they won’t stay that way after one night. But I can see that visually it’s nice to have at least the shams or pillow covers looking hotel worthy.

I also moved the mattress by myself and put the duvet bed ensemble together. I found a $20 chocolate duvet cover that was such a fabulous steal. So overall, as I appreciate the finished feel of dust free furniture, vacuumed carpet, fresh sheets and matching duvet, I must honestly confess I do like the final picture a lot. (What I actually enjoy most is spraying air freshener into every clean room at the very end because there’s this integrity where the room fragrance reflects its cleanliness.)

Thank you MiL for introducing me to this new and enjoyable standard of ironed sheets. It also led me, consequently, to research how to take care of my Rowenta iron (how to self-clean and keep the iron plate clean, how to avoid calcium) But I admit, I put up a pretty good fight and you resorted to a Mrs. Jekyl and Hyde strategy too but I guess it was one of those profound impacting things.

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