unfair advantage?

all my life, i have never met so many first generation immigrants from korea as i have in the past few months of living in nyc. of course when i lived in korea, i spoke plenty of korean to just about everybody. but they weren’t immigrants. they weren’t speaking in korean with me instead of speaking in english which might be a more difficult language for them. and when i moved to u.s. i have mostly lived in college towns, where immigrants were harder to find unless you were talking about grand parents or great great parents, etc. so imagine my surprise with different treatment, better treatment when i speak korean in dry cleaners (just this morning got 5 dollars off 15 dollar asking price for fixing my pants), hair salon, deli, some of the restaurants (not all because ones in korea town or some parts of flushing, practically expect you to speak in korean it feels like), and lastly, i just got a job offer partly due to the fact that i’m bilingual.

why are people, immigrants, nicer to you when you speak their native tongue? are they nostalgic for their own country back home? probably not. are they grateful for not having to speak in english? maybe, but most of the people who can speak conversational english do it all day long so what’s the difference of not speaking in english for a minute or two? only thing i can think of is that when someone, even someone who looks like korean anyway, speaks in korean, seemingly choosing to instead of speaking in english with them, i think first generation immigrants just like it. they like knowing 1.5, 2nd generation or people whose english has no accent can still speak korean. and boy when they hear practically no accent korean from people who they might not have expected, i think they just appreciate the respect for choosing to speak in their native tongue and the fluency just makes them happy.

and then there are cultural factors. in english, you don’t have much way of showing deference to elders. you show more formal respect to strangers perhaps, but never out of respect for elders in ways that koreans are used to. so then when you speak in korean to people who works in stores or elsewhere, you can show repsect in ways that english limits you from expressing. and saying familiar or idiomatic phrases gets a chuckle out of people and a smile. i find that i speak way more korean now with strangers in nyc than i ever have. when i lived in boston i only spoke korean with my parents once a week or so on the phone. but boy oh boy in nyc, it’s every other store you walk in to where i get an opportunity to put a smile on someone by speaking in korean. it’s nice. it’s weird that it works even though i was made in korea and raised in korea. people might expect me to be fluent in korean by the way i look pretty much unmistakably a korean. but no. my experience has been that people are gracious and happy when i choose to speak in korean to them even though they know i can speak english and i know they can too.

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complexity

i forgot that relationships are complicated! of course in the beginning it’s just about do i like him or do i not like him? does he like me does he not like me? but then later the question becomes, move to the next level or not move to the next level? and tons of other questions! why can’t relationships provide answers instead of posing questions! i guess sometimes you just know in your heart what the answer is. but even then, it’s not like you can just make reality match what is in your heart. all if not most of decisions are made by two people and take in to account two people’s hearts instead of one heart. and man, oh man, when you start caring about someone, really caring about someone, things get complex! anyone out there know how to simplify relationships? other than keeping one’s heart safely locked up in a safe to avoid getting hurt then becoming more alienated than one would ever want to! (C. S. Lewis said something to that effect – the only way to ensure absolute prevention of the heart being broken is to lock it up and not take any chances of getting one’s heart broken; but then the result isn’t any better. the heart is alone in isolation and the heart grows harder and colder.)

on a “happier” note, back in boston today and really enjoying my time here. i did miss boston! love this town!!!

ACELA – money money money

i rode not regional north west train from nyc to boston this morning, but ACELA the more expensive all business or first class express train from ny penn station to boston south station. boy, talk about money money money. what about money? well, for paying double the price of what you might pay for regular speed ticket two weeks in advance, you get much cleaner, even seems brighter, and nicer environment. each seat reclines further back, seemed like more leg room, and faster, smoother train ride. if i didn’t have other places to spend money, i’d rather ride ACELA on any given day, than the normal north east regional train.

i have to ride the “regular” train back. while i’m saving about 45 dollars in about 4-5 hours, well, that’s just it, isn’t it? in the past month and a half, north east regional has come in late to penn station. instead of its usual arrival time, i mean, come on, no rush hour traffic jam on the train tracks, right? so for reasons i can’t figure out, north east regional trains have run late of about an hour or so. this means instead of getting back to my home in time to watch the clock pass midnight, after i have taken a shower, rested, and whatever else, i am just getting off train from penn station to home around mid night.

you know, there is a song called around midnight. i never really listened to the lyrics. but if the song writer were to write about my around midnight experience coming home from train station about an hour after i was supposed to arrive home because the train i was on ate up an hour of my time for no good reason, the song would not be a happy one i tell you! around midnight can be a happy song if you are enjoying your time off, if you own the time you have.

if you are rushing home to try to make it back home by midnight so you can try to get enough sleep for the next morning train back to the city (yes i have thought about just camping out in penn station on nights i end up returning to the same station in less than 8 or 9 hours!) showering becomes a great sacrifice to make – i mean if you take a shower it’s at the cost of less sleep, and if you don’t take a shower after such a long day of traveling, then it’s at the cost of feeling yucky. so anyway, yes! travel ACELA if your wallet allows you to. because ACELA makes your commute from nyc to boston so much more pleasant, bearable, and something one might even look forward to. well, one might look forward to it, except on the night world series starts for baseball. 😦

getting less for more money

i’ve been doing amtrak from penn station ny to south station boston once a week for the past 3 weeks. i do love the fact that there is one power outlet per seat. but at least in coach class, no free wifi. so i tether with my iphone and the connection goes in and out. try listening or watching a baseball game on 3G as it goes in and out of range. not fun.

commuter rail in boston gets wifi. amtrak train rides costs a lot more than commuter rail trains rides. getting less for paying more money, nice way to keep customers satisfied, right???

looking for DBT in nyc

i started searching for a new DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) groups in the area. queens/long island groups were not working out, either full or don’t take insurance. so i started looking up groups in the city. it’s great that columbia and cornell have their medical schools here.

it’s strange. i would think there would be more availability of groups and therapists and all in the ny area than in boston area. after all, isn’t this woody allen’s city of many clients who want therapy and too few therapists?

surprisingly harvard has more affiliation with schools all around boston area more than columbia and cornell have in ny area it seems like. i didn’t know how good i had it when i was in the boston area. still, i am glad there’s at least columbia and cornell affliated hospitals and programs in reasonable closeness to where i live.

finally finally – some big questions

sometime in august my sister and i are relocating to ny. it’s happening so fast neither of us are able to catch up with all the changes. yesterday, my therapist asked me how i feel about the move and i started crying. i had kept myself busy with trying to figure out the move and logistics of it all. i wasn’t really paying attention to how i felt about leaving a place i feel at home. i have lived in boston for the past ten years, in the same apartment no less. i have never lived in one town for that long. i lived in seoul for the first 13 years of my life. but we moved around practically every year until i was about 10 yrs old?

so the big question of course is why are we moving? my sister hates boston. she’s been having a difficult time finding a job. as for myself, i don’t want to and am not capable at this point of living by myself. and my bf of about 6 months (give or take a few weeks) is also in ny. it makes it easier to leave boston at this point in my life because i just finished a degree program. and just in the past year my close friends have moved away from boston or gotten married and seem like they moved away. so as for leaving friends in boston, i don’t feel desperate separation anxiety or anything.

most people when they move to new york do so for a personal reason, like for a job, for a significant other, school, etc. most of the time, people want to live in ny. i used to want to live in manhattan. but now, i think manhattan is way to crowded and way too busy. we’ll be living in one of the boroughs and i may not even go into the city thqt often. i don’t think i would have a reason to go into the city unless i went to a church in the city or started taking classes at one of the schools or something.

i started saying that i’m practically 40 years old. and with that awareness, that in a few years that i really will turn forty, i wonder about where i’ve been, where i’m going and where i’ll be. i know i like my life now. i am happy with what i am doing or will be doing. as for what i will be in the next couple years, i have no clue.

moving after ten years?

my sister, my bf and i have been organizing our current apartment. the goal is to get ready for packing. it happened so fast it seems unreal. my sister and i might move down to nyc area! is that so crazy or what? i mean, i have been in the boston area for past decade, in the same apartment. the transition is going to be unreal. but i think at the moment, moving might be in the best interest for everyone, including me, especially for recovering from depression i would say.

i ran into the store manager who interviewed me for apple retail store in boston area. she remembered my name! good sign i thought. so i might apply for jobs in the nyc area too. so maybe i’ll get to spend all my money that i earn at the store i earned it at after all!!!

oh of course, my therapist says the move is going to be very stressful and not recommended for my recovery from depression. 😛