last night (0r was it this afternoon), my girlfriend and i were telling each other that we deserve better. exact words were, we deserve to be adored! the context of the conversation is me waiting for my bf to call me after blowing off our plans last night to be with family. things are actually more complicated than that, but that’s how i felt at the moment. i wrote him an e-mail after he left to say how sad i was we didn’t get to hang out. he wrote back saying he was sorry. i liked how the e-mail started. then he went on for two three paragraphs explaining how he was doing the right thing by changing his mind and choosing not to spend time with me. he was going home to break fast with his family. he was fasting for good reasons. can you blame him? well, i can blame him. sure i can. he didn’t explain why he wanted to spend the evening with his family instead of spending the evening with me as we had planned. and when he did, it was in defense of his action without acknowledging how his actions made me feel so sad.
i am starting to wonder two things: why do i love this person so much when he upsets me so much and why don’t i just date my girlfriends instead when my girlfriends understand me so much better and actually call to check up on me while my boyfriend is MIA?
is love overrated? i don’t always get treated the way i would like to by my boyfriend. but all in all, i love this person who changes his mind and doesn’t think of me first. i have a “girl-crush” (to borrow my friend’s words) on my girl friend with whom i was commiserating with last night and this afternoon while my boyfriend wouldn’t return my phone calls. but against my better judgment, perhaps, i miss my boyfriend and want to spend time with him when we can, i.e. when he doesn’t change his mind about our plans.
he did call later in the afternoon today, about 24 hrs after he left me to go home to his parents leaving me stranded on 3rd avenue on upper east side. i told him i wanted to talk to him when i was upset, even when he’s the person who upset me, and that it upsets me that he didn’t call to see how i was doing. he didn’t call, he said because one of my e-mails really hurt his feelings and he felt i said things that were not warranted. it seems it’s too much to ask for you to consider my feelings, i wrote. i was expressing how hurt i felt that he didn’t seem to consider my feelings. he heard me accuse him of not caring for my feelings at all.
do i deserve better? if so, i deserve better from the person i love and want to be with. who cares if a person would treat me with utmost respect if i don’t want to be with that person? but why do i want to be with this person who doesn’t always treat me the way i know i deserve to be treated? is it lack of self-respect? do i not believe that anyone else would treat me better? in the end, i love my boyfriend and want to be there for him and want him to be there for me. love makes you do pretty crazy things, even stay with someone when they hurt you and make you cry in front of your girlfriends. and yes, i do deserve better. we all do.
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.
i’m not sure that all good things MUST come to an end. it’s just that all good things seems to come to an end. if the honeymoon period of the romantic relationship had lasted a long time, would that have been better? i think not. my most recent significant other and i don’t see eye to eye on just what kind of a break we are on. i don’t think it’s a Ross and Rachel kind of a break from the sitcom Friends. for Rachel, while Ross and she were on a break, they were still a couple, but a couple who was taking a breather. and for Ross, well, he thought a break meant a break in being a couple. was he to be blamed for going on dates, etc. etc. etc.? i guess Ross and Rachel had major communication issues! turns out my significant other and i have major communication issues too. even our goals for the relationship are different. it’s kind of difficult for me to see what we actually do have in common at this point. yes, i have “strong” feelings for him. but i will never utter the L word again. it’s clearly not requited to the same extent, i am led to believe. and anyway, you can’t live on love. you can’t make a relationship work on love. it’s just not enough. you need mutual respect, compassion for each other, and willingness to at least try to understand one another. whatever love is in a romantic relationship, it doesn’t necessarily come with mutual respect, compassion for the other person as a human being and willingness to try to be there for one another and support one another through thick and thin.