Ruby Ramblings

May 9, 2009, 2:06 am
Filed under: Travel | Tags: ,


For reasons that aren’t worth going into, Jim and I had to drive 5 1/2 hours from Columbus to Chicago and will have to do it again on Tuesday. Let’s just say it has to do with Korean work-visas and a plethora of not quite accurate information.

I had to do a short interview presumably to prove I’m not insane, a pedophile, or harboring any visible communicable diseases. I was easily pushing ten years older than the other potential English teachers in the room, and capable of forming a complete answer for my goals and reasons for wanting to live in Korea. We interviewed in sets of two and the poor young man I interviewed with was really nervous. His parents are Christian missionaries who have gone to Korea several times, and as he put it “they rescue Korean orphans and bring them back to America.” If I weren’t so tired I could go on for quite a while about the politics and ethics regarding the word “rescue” here. I really couldn’t have been more the opposite of my interviewing counterpart. My interest in Buddhism, anthropology, and teaching, and his history of coming from a family of baby-abducting Jesus fanatics.

The interviewer was a very sweet Korean man who didn’t appear to have much of a sense of humor. Strangely, but not surprisingly, he shook the hand of the young man, but wouldn’t shake my hand at the end of the interview. He thanked me, and made it clear I passed, but I think shaking a woman’s hand was outside of his comfort zone.

It was an entertaining day even if it did involve 11 hours of driving for a half hour worth of interviewing.


The classic midwestern couple travel the world.


4 Comments so far
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Koreans aren’t really big on adopting kids, but “rescue” is a bit strong, a lot obnoxious.

Comment by bybee

“they rescue Korean orphans and bring them back to America.”
OMG, he really believe in what he’s saying, doesn’t he? And he must be very proud on his parents!
Oh gosh, that’s horrible!!!
Good thing is that America will have some different different face to show when you arrive there.

Oh and you reminded me on my Korean friend Choi who was on Spanish course in Spain when I was there. Not only they don’t have physical contact with women but they feel quite uncomfortable to stand “too close” to one. My US friend once approached me and tell me “Watch this” and then suddenly she gave a strong hug to Choi. He reacted as if the lightening stricken him. He was completely lost and it was horrible to watch. It wasn’t funny for sure (although many laughed) I guess I have strange sense for humour *shrug*

Great photos by the way!

Comment by Milan

Rescue is a bit of a strong word… but as I volunteer at a Korean orphanage, I sympathize with his parents. Now, let is be stated, I am not a Jesus freak, or even very religious, and most of the orphanages here are actually through Christian or Catholic Churches, and the Moajority of Korea is now actually Catholic or Christian, although there are a large population of Buddhists and Taoists and such still( so it’s not like they’re “rescuing” them from what they would call heathens).

Mostly, what they would be rescuing these children from is the emotional turmoil they have gone through. Many of the children I work with are emotionally disturbed or damaged from their ordeals. Many of the Korean orphans are not actually orphans. The ones that are often do have families, but Koreans don’t really believe in taking care of children that are not there, which leads me to the more sad ones.

Many of the children I work with have been left by their families. When a couple gets a divorce, the mother almost always end up with the children. If that mother wants to get re-married, often the new fiance will not marry her while she cares for another man’s child. And so, these children are often dumped in an orphanage, maybe to see their families at major holidays.

I had one girl in my class who had been left with her older brother at the orphanage three years ago, a year later, the mother had remarried and decided to come back, but only for the brother, leaving the then-four year old with no one at all, and only seeing her brother at Christmas. Two years later, I meet her and she was a sweet little girl, but a bit emotionally scarred. Suddenly, out of the blue her mother decides to come get her again. You might think this would be a good thing…and it could be, but the little girl could also be beyond helping emotionally at this point.

Another reason I sympathize is because, to be an orphan in this country is to be lesser, to be dirty. They have less chances, often cannot go to University because they have no money and won’t be accepted if it is known they are orphans, and have a harder time getting jobs. You have no parents, so you must have no honor, or so they think. It is a very carefully guarded secret while they are in school that they are orphans, because otherwise they would have no friends and teachers wouldn’t even try to teach them, they would be treated as stupid and disabled. Unfortunately, sometimes the secret gets leaked out, or often has to be revealed. This kids are treated like next to nothing outside of the orphanage, and without the fund raising efforts of missionaries and local foreigners they wouldn’t get really any Christmas presents, or new supplies, or new clothes to speak of, outside donations from the church.

My point is, don’t necessarily assume that that guy’s parents just steal those kids out of the orphanage, the sweet nuns at mine are always trying hard to find permanent homes for their kids, and most often look outside of Korea for those homes.

Comment by Desiree

Desiree, thanks so much for sharing these stories and information. My first impression reading this is what a tragedy it is in such a well developed country. I’ve worked at orphanages in Nepal and on the boarder with Burma where the problem was much more monetary than social. That is so tragic. Keep in touch!

Comment by therubycanary

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