This afternoon I met my campus "niece" DJ. We went to one of our favourite places, an Irish style pub by the sea. We started with mimosas, followed by soup and salad appetizers, then mulled wine and British dishes, fish and chips and shepherd's pie. DJ paid for the drinks and I the food. It was a time to celebrate the end of the semester and Christmas.
Not only that, but DJ needed cheering up because of her break-up. She appears to have suffered a defeat because the break-up was triggered by her discovering that he had had sex with a prostitute. Why would he need to do that since they were meeting frequently and spending a lot of time in bed? She thinks it's because she refused him one particular kind of sex act. Anyway, I tried to get her to see the break-up as a step forward for her and a sign of achievement because she knew she did not feel strongly enough about him to keep the relationship going. I told her that he probably realized that she was not as passionate about him as he about her, and that he was a bit immature if he wants to experiment and have adventures sexually. I think she understands my point intellectually and she agrees that it was time for a change, but she feels pessimistic and her self-confidence is bruised. Well, that is to be expected given her personality and state of mind.
We talked about mothers. Hers is passive, leaving all the parenting to her dad, which is inappropriate and irresponsible. She is cold with her. I figure that she probably learned this behaviour as a child. We also talked about the status of women, and I pointed out that her mother's life may be hard considering the kinds of and extent of problems that women have in this ultra-patriarchal country. I told DJ that that was the attitude I used to take with my own mother; as a teen, I tried to think of her as a woman which I knew to be greatly unfair to women, and I knew my mother had had her own problems with inadequate parenting.
I think DJ has learned passivity but is quite intelligent and a rebel to boot. She likes hard core rock. Her favorite musicians are the lead guitarist of Rush and Neil Young, as well as David Bowie. Today she showed me one of her drawings via the iphone. I did not know that she drew in addition to playing the guitar and developing computer games.
She has a lot of choices. She is introverted, probably like her folks. (Her father is an engineer who works in the bleak factory-scape in the Ulsan heavy industry district.) I think part of her trouble is her artistic nature, which is always difficult in any culture. Like many families, her parents probably disapprove of her pursuing music and visual arts.
She wasn't dressed warmly enough so we sent shopping for a scarf after the meal. We will meet for hot cocoa or something in a few days.
I talked to one of my brothers today, the disabled one I call most weeks. He and his wife had an altercation with a security guard and a supermarket last week. Because of their disabilities, the store management allows them to borrow a shopping cart to transport their groceries two blocks to get home. A new guard did not know about them and he confronted them. When the feisty sister-in-law angrily objected, the guard got physical, shoving her and the cart aside. She got scraped and bruised. My God! Even if they had been using the cart illegitimately, there would be no justification for pushing around disabled seniors! The store manager fired the guard and compensated them with a turkey and other goods.
Generally, they're doing well seeing family members and going to Christmas and birthday gatherings. I'm not worried about them these days. Another great-niece or nephew is on the way to them.