fixing problems isn’t the same as fixing southern biscuits – not everyone wants it.

Here in Korea, they have some very interesting television shows…one of which is a 24-hour video game station.  Literally, it just shows people playing video games.  That’s it.  And worse yet, Rob LOVES it.  It just baffles me.  I already don’t understand how video games are fun to play, much less just sitting there and watching people play them.  It seems like the epitome of laziness.  I guess there are just some things I will never understand.

Korea is starting to grow on me a little.  Probably because the sun is actually starting to shine and warm everything up.  Life is just happier when it’s warm, you can tan, and things start to smell like coconuts (mostly from tanning lotion).  I absolutely love summer.  I just wish it was summer year round.  Actually, I just think that I wish I lived in Hawaii.  I think that I might just love the Army for once if they would station us in Honolulu. 

But, Korea is good for now.  I’ve realized that I miss having a garbage disposal.  I have also realized that I cannot for the life of me make my electric can opener work when I need it to.  I don’t know what the secret is.  I puncture the top of the can, but so many times it just doesn’t want to continue opening it!  But hey, if this is the worst thing that can happen in a day, then life must be pretty good.

Yesterday, I started my first day volunteering at an orphanage.  I took a bus to get there thinking that it wouldn’t be that hard to find.  I knew which stop it was, so I would just count the number of stops and when it got to 33 I would get off! It didn’t take me long to realize that the bus only stopped at a stop if there were people there or if someone pressed the stop button wanting to get off.  This put a slight dent in my plans.  I had never been anywhere near where this orphanage was located, and I had no idea what the stop looked like to get off.  And, as always, everything was in Korean.

Thankfully, I used some observation skills and some communication skills and got off at the right stop.  I found my way to the orphanage and was warmly welcomed.  I took my shoes off at the door, and was introduced to the babies there.  I was really surprised at how many women were there volunteering with the babies! There were about 10 children and about 7 volunteers. They were all extremely accommodating, and they even gave me a sweet and some tea to have for volunteering.  Now, I gave up sweets for Lent.  But I also knew how offensive it was to not eat something if a Korean gave it to you.  So I took a couple of bites.  It was definitely not a sweet.  It may have had chocolate chips in it, but the chocolate chips were mixed with peas.  Yes, the vegetable.  I discreetly hid the rest of the “sweet” in my purse.

With the high ratio of caregivers to children, I felt slightly in the way and not needed.  About an hour passed, and I started thinking that maybe this wasn’t the best thing for me.  I didn’t want to just be in everyone’s way…but then a woman took me up to where the 4 and 5 year olds were.  She decided it would be a good idea to put me in a playroom with 10 of them by myself.  They came in running and jumping on me.  One kid would not let go of my leg.  Another kid kept pulling at my bracelet.  Two other kids kept wanting me to jump with them and play ring-around-the-rosie, while about 7 other children hid giggling in a playhouse.  They were all so cute.  All of a sudden, I felt needed.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the show Modern Family, but there is this one episode where an adopted Vietnamese toddler has a problem with biting people. As hilarious as this episode was, it was even funnier when a little Korean boy bit me at the orphanage.  I told him, “ANEYO!” (which means no). And he just laughed and went back to crawling on me along with about two other children.  They kept talking to me like I knew exactly what they were saying.  They would just chatter, chatter, chatter.  And the fact of the matter is I don’t think that they cared that I didn’t understand them.  I think what they wanted was just somebody to listen.

I think I want that too sometimes.  There’s another episode of Modern Family (if you can’t tell, I love that show) where Phil (a husband) goes to a spa for a day.  While there, he learns from some other ladies there for their routine pedicures that when women tell you a problem that they have, they don’t always want you to fix it.  Many times, they just want you to listen and support them instead of just telling them what to do.  He tries to clarify what he has learned by saying, “So, if my wife says that she hates being stuck in traffic on the interstate, I shouldn’t say ‘well maybe that wouldn’t happen if you left 20 minutes earlier,’ but instead I should say, ‘I know, honey.  That is never fun.’” To which all of the women replied, “Exactly!”

I liked this episode.  Not just men, but people in general try to fix everyone’s problems.  Sometimes, people just want someone else to listen to them and support them while they try to figure things out for themselves.  And sometimes when people ask for help, then that’s when we should try to fix problems.

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