im a good truth teller. most of the time. i value honesty, upfrontness, laying it all there so to speak...unless of course it puts me in the position of hurting someones feelings with said honesty. im terrible at that. really really terrible. another exception to my truth saying is when a stranger is involved and my life would be much easier/better/less difficult if i was able to have it my way. i have two examples recently of why the rules of 'always tell the truth' or 'never tell a lie' are generally speaking good rules to live by and more importantly why i need to work these lessons out...
many of you know of my sweet housekeeper, ms. hong. such a great woman with mad laundry skillz (only rivaled by her ability to make one plastic bag wake an entire home of sleeping individuals just by handling it oh so gently). however, before the gloriously clean days of ms. hong, there was a woman named maria. maria was kind, cooked and loved caring for georgia. it was a fabulous arrangement except she continually dried my jeans on high heat (does she have a death wish?? this has been a cardinal sin for the past several years as my denim has been stretched to the max and most jeans are only truly comfortable after air drying and wearing for a day) and the bigger issue would be that my generally happy and social peach cried every time she arrived. as in screamed and begged through tears to not be left with maria. this would be a red flag to anyone with a pulse and i, not being a total moron made the decision to find a replacement for maria. i know she never hurt georgia, trust me, this child would have told me, shown me and reminded me of it for weeks, but it only took her a couple of weeks to associate marias arrival with a day away from me. i also noticed that maria tended to scurry like a mouse from room to room and while i found it strange, gk found it scary, constantly asking 'what she doin?' while climbing up to the safety of my lap. so there was an obvious personality conflict between my nanny and my child...clearly a good enough reason for her dismissal. but how do you tell a woman who only speaks moderately good english and happens to love your child (or at least pretends really well) that your kid hates her?? i opted for the 'you dont' option. rather, i explained to her that i would be leaving the country in a few weeks and that my mother would be flying over to help me in the meantime as i prepared for my move.
i rarely gave maria another thought. she understood completely and a couple of weeks later when i ran into her on the elevator caring for someone elses child, i happen to be with a friend who looks much older than i....so, i introduced maria to my mother. i know. shady. shameful and gutless. but, nobodys feelings were hurt right? except maybe the friend that i just passed off as my mother.
fast forward eight months to last saturday. that would be the day i was waiting in seoul to begin my 30 hour voyage back to the mother ship. the airport is a solid two hours from the base and is a huge place, constantly busy. after checking in we found the closest row of seats to hang out as a family before saying our good byes. no sooner had i sat down than i noticed the woman sitting right next to me. let me just say there are no more than 5 koreans i would recognize in a crowd of thousands...but in an instant i knew i was sitting next to maria. the kind woman who had to be fired because i was leaving the country...eight months ago. this is karma. this is God using the universe to teach me a lesson about truth. she was so happy and surprised (understandably so) to see all of us that amid hugs, questions and well wishes she never bothered to ask the most obvious and uncomfortable question. and i, valuing upfrontness, never bothered to volunteer the answer.
the other moment in recent weeks occurred while i attempted to de-register the car in korea. it is a process requiring 12 different documents, a navigation system to find it (its in the basement of a stadium...unmarked) and apparently a bucket of patience that i sometimes forget to take with me. i decided i would handle this part of the move so that busy pat would not have to and since he happens to be handling the movers, i felt like this was more than fair.
i set out with my directions and documents in hand to find this elusive place i had been told about. what should be a 30 minute drive was over an hour as i tested out several roads trying to run into the stadium. when i did find it, i was reminded that in honor of sweet buddhas special birthday, the office was closed. fabulous.
the next day my trip was only 40 minutes thanks to the practice run the day before. i placed gk on the couch with a snack and managed to wait in line with a smile until i was called. i happily found my way to the counter, produced all 12 documents and waited for the 'okay'. she asked if i had pats power of attorney since the car was registered in his name. um no. i showed her where my name appeared on the title, on the insurance, on the stateside registration, on my military id...pretty much everywhere but the korean registration. frustrated, desperate and trying to figure out how and when georgia got black mystery dirt on her face while eating snacks on the couch i began to plead with her that she allow me, the wife to handle this matter. she wasnt budging. now we are 3 days from leaving the pen and im remembering the mountain of work that i still need to get done and realizing that a third trip to this place just isnt in the cards. desperate, i blurt out that my husband, the one who registered the car, has already left the country, is stateside and all of our goods are packed, to include the power of attorney. i know. im going to hell or at the minimum truth purgatory. she looked at me, looked at my dirty child and said 'have him unpack it and fax it here'. that was it.
defeated, i left. pat decided to take care of it the next day and only asked that i accompany him so he wouldnt get lost. fine. we arrived, miraculously with husband who had already left the country and took care of it amid deserved looks of judgment at my dishonest ways by the lady who had stood her ground and told me no...in spite of my imagined desperate circumstances.
in a book i read a few months ago, eat, pray, love, the author writes simply what she has learned...always tell the truth. i think she may be onto something. so watch out...a new leaf is being turned over within me with just a little help from the universe.