Me in Korea
Hou Jing (Chinese marriage immigrant woman)
I am from China. In China, she was just an ordinary housewife. After my divorce, I met my husband while working at a laundry. My husband, who was on business in China, was a customer at the laundry. After getting to know him, he gave me courage and hope in life. So we fell in love and got married.
On December 8, 2004, I came to Korea with my husband. I have come to a country that will change my life. When I first came to Korea, I could neither understand nor speak at all. I watched TV only as pictures and the food was too spicy, so I couldn’t eat properly. It was really frustrating. Among them, the most frustrating thing was being unable to speak. I wanted to live well in Korea, so I thought, ‘I will learn Korean unconditionally’.
So, one day, my husband and I went everywhere looking for a place to teach Korean for foreigners. I couldn’t find it in the end, and after dinner, I was taking a walk with my husband, and I met a Pakistani. I said to my husband, ‘If you ask him, he’ll find out.’ And when I said hello to a Pakistani, that person was from our neighbourhood. I got to know the ‘Migrant Workers Human Rights Center’ through that person.
At the center, there was a Korean language class for foreigners. After that, I never missed out and studied Korean hard. The teacher also taught hard. After a while, when I was able to converse a little in Korean, I found a job. But there was only one foreigner in that company. I can speak a little Korean, so I couldn’t hear it when explaining the work order. I couldn’t figure out how to do it. A Korean aunt explained it to me again and again, I couldn’t understand it. The old woman was angry. I didn’t feel well either. I couldn’t even apologize because I couldn’t speak Korean. After that, the class manager came and explained it slowly and tried it out for himself. That’s how I knew how to work. But when I came home, I cried a lot.
After that, I take notes of what I want to say and the words I don’t know. When I got home, I looked up the word in the dictionary or asked my husband. And gradually, I learned a lot of Korean while working with Koreans. It’s been three years like that. I can now converse in Korean and ride the bus and subway. I was able to live comfortably in Korea.
When life was getting better, my husband got lung cancer test results. I followed my husband to the hospital, but I had no idea what the doctor was saying. I cried because my heart ached because I didn’t know how my husband was sick. My husband said, ‘It’s okay, don’t worry’. I couldn’t do anything. I didn’t even know how. As I worked, there was nothing I could do but take care of my husband.
My husband passed away on June 27, 2009. I was left alone. Before my husband passed away, he worried a lot about ‘how can you live without me’.
After my husband passed away, I thought. ‘That’s right, how should I live in Korea alone?’
My brother-in-law helped me with my husband’s funeral. I felt so sad. I don’t have a family in Korea and I’m not good at Korean. At that time, I had my alien registration card. I’m not Korean, I was lonely, so I had a drink to meet. When I’m drunk, I don’t think about anything. But when I woke up, I thought that I couldn’t live like this.
At that time, the ‘Migrant Workers Human Rights Center’ suddenly came to my mind. I knew it when I was learning Korean. There, I found out that I could provide counseling for the rights of immigrant women through international marriage and the difficulties they face in Korea. I went to that center and received a friendly reception and consultation. And I solved all those difficulties one by one. I also got a Korean resident registration card. The teachers at the center treat me like family, so I feel close when I go to the center. I didn’t feel lonely.
In March 2010, I received an instructor training for migrants at the Multicultural Education Center attached to the center. Multicultural human rights education is to help students experience discrimination, human rights, and understanding of other things. I am currently learning Korean while working as a multicultural education instructor. Now I am not lonely and I am confident. I am living well in Korea because the teachers and friends at the center care and give me attention. Thank you very much, teachers and friends.