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TEFLing while parents ageing?

 
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demitri



Joined: 06 May 2008

PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:23 am    Post subject: TEFLing while parents ageing? Reply with quote

Anyone experience difficulties with coping being far from ageing parents?
Have you been away while an ageing parent has fallen ill or worse?
Did it make you return home permanently?
Anyone leave the TEFL world to go back home primarily to help take care of or just be with ageing parents?

Just like to hear from people with experience of such situations. Thought it deserved its own thread.
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denverdeath



Joined: 21 May 2005
Location: Boo-sahn

PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:43 am    Post subject: Re: TEFLing while parents ageing? Reply with quote

demitri wrote:
Anyone experience difficulties with coping being far from ageing parents?
Have you been away while an ageing parent has fallen ill or worse?
Did it make you return home permanently?
Anyone leave the TEFL world to go back home primarily to help take care of or just be with ageing parents?

Just like to hear from people with experience of such situations. Thought it deserved its own thread.


not particularly. i came in 1997. my dad died that yr, probably because he missed me SO much Wink. went back home for a 1-day stay near christmas for the funeral, allowed by my hakwon. my mom's 78 and still going strong, but she does have my siblings nearby.
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PatrickGHBusan



Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Location: Busan (1997-2008) Canada 2008 -

PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:37 am    Post subject: Re: TEFLing while parents ageing? Reply with quote

demitri wrote:
Anyone experience difficulties with coping being far from ageing parents?
Have you been away while an ageing parent has fallen ill or worse?
Did it make you return home permanently?
Anyone leave the TEFL world to go back home primarily to help take care of or just be with ageing parents?

Just like to hear from people with experience of such situations. Thought it deserved its own thread.


I lived in Busan for 11 years and visited home when I could. My mother was and is healthy so I had no worries there. My Korean wife and I have been living in Canada since 2008 and she often feels the strain of being far from her parents and missing certain events (lunar new year and chuseok for example) when family is celebrated and honored. She discusses this sometimes and we may move back and forth between Korea and Canada, a few years at a time, so she can be close to her family. Her father had health problems last year and she went back for a few months. Had she been unable to do so due to work or lack of funds it would have devastated her. Thankfully that was not the case.

In fact, we decided early on (still in Korea) to keep a travel fund at hand in case of a family emergency back home (that was Canada when we were in Korea and now its Korea since we live in Canada). That fund consists of enough cash for a couple of plane tickets, some money to help her family out and so on.
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busanSK2012



Joined: 20 Feb 2013

PostPosted: Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Honestly, this has been a problem for me the last eight months or so. There have been quite a few big storms, downed trees, heavy snowfall, and lengthy power outages. I feel really bad that I have been so far away to help. My folks are in their early 70's and are in good health, but they could have used the help with clean-up. Luckily the neighbors have been chipping in, but I still feel quite guilty about not being there.

The truth is, I think I will have to go back soon. I think about how much help my parents did for their folks and I feel like a jerk for not doing my part.

I don't believe this thread will get much traction here though because most of the NET's I meet are rather young and I am assuming their folks are as well, but I think this is a worthy discussion.
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drkalbi



Joined: 06 Aug 2006

PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Happened to me with both of my parents. In 1999 during the end of my first year here my father had a heart attack and died soon after. I was able to go home for the funeral and stayed for a few weeks to make sure my mom was ok. As well, last year my mom passed away after a short battle with cancer. She was not diagnosed until it was already in stage 4. I went back to spend time with her for a few weeks in the hospice. Unfortunately, I had to come back to Korea before she passed. I was not able to go back to her funeral.
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schwa



Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Location: sokcho

PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My dad died a few years before I came here but I'm sure he would have been proud of what I've done with my life since.

I had established a nice situation here when my mom started slowly deteriorating in her 80s. She understood my commitment & happiness here. When she had to move into a nursing home, I phoned her ritually every sunday morning. I would fly home twice a year & visit her daily while I was there. I subsidized a nicer semi-private room for her (but she never knew that). Towards the end when she was just a shadow of her former self, a nurse or relative had to hold the phone to her ear, but we connected. Only thing missing was a hug.

I'm not an only child but she & I always had a special bond. She never once bemoaned my geographical distance. Nor would I my own kids'.

I saw her a couple months before she died. We both knew it was coming & shared an implicit final goodbye.

The saturday morning I got word, I went to my local hotspring & bathed & then sat outside in a field next to a peacock enclosure, of all things, & remembered all the times. I could have taken time off work but didnt. My family doesnt put much weight on funerals (in fact I've never been to one).

No advice. Interesting topic.
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Squire



Joined: 26 Sep 2010
Location: Jeollanam-do

PostPosted: Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm considering making a career of TESOL but that's obviously one of the big issues. I don't have much to add but I'd be keen to hear more experiences, and whether anybody has had regrets about being away at a bad time

schwa wrote:
My dad died a few years before I came here but I'm sure he would have been proud of what I've done with my life since.

I had established a nice situation here when my mom started slowly deteriorating in her 80s. She understood my commitment & happiness here. When she had to move into a nursing home, I phoned her ritually every sunday morning. I would fly home twice a year & visit her daily while I was there. I subsidized a nicer semi-private room for her (but she never knew that). Towards the end when she was just a shadow of her former self, a nurse or relative had to hold the phone to her ear, but we connected. Only thing missing was a hug.

I'm not an only child but she & I always had a special bond. She never once bemoaned my geographical distance. Nor would I my own kids'.

I saw her a couple months before she died. We both knew it was coming & shared an implicit final goodbye.

The saturday morning I got word, I went to my local hotspring & bathed & then sat outside in a field next to a peacock enclosure, of all things, & remembered all the times. I could have taken time off work but didnt. My family doesnt put much weight on funerals (in fact I've never been to one).


No advice. Interesting topic.


That's sad. It must have been extremely tough to leave.

I suppose if you're ever going to receive news like that then Saturday morning is about as good a time as it gets. I imagine you were somewhat prepared for it, but I can't imagine the feeling
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michi gnome



Joined: 15 Feb 2006
Location: Dokdo

PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two months into my second contract, my Dad's health (in his late 70's at the time) took a turn for the worse. If I wanted to see him one final time, it was urgent I return asap. It was a few days until pay day, and the day after I ended up doing a runner. I was able to spend about a week with him at the hospital, and have always been glad for that time. In retrospect, I wish I would've spoke with the hagwon director, and negotiated for a few weeks off. I wasn't completely sure if he'd be a jerk about the situation. Part of the problem at the time, the memory of how my first contract ended. Basically I was screwed in an 11th month firing, no bonus, etc. That experience made me feel I couldn't trust my current director, and I wanted to make sure I would get my entire salary before leaving. We later exchanged a few emails, and he was more understanding than I originally gave him credit for. So things ended badly at the job, and I didn't return to Korea for a few years. Still though, I don't regret having the final few days with my dad, though he was in and out of a coherent state for much of the time. After I got the news that he was nearing the end, it was a chaotic few days of working, keeping it mostly to myself. Crazy situation and state of mind/soul to go through. I remember how difficult it was getting to be working overseas while he was aging, his health in a gradual state of decline, regretting I wasn't there to visit him regularly over those final months...

It's been a few years since both my parents have passed now, and I will likely continue teaching overseas. I used to have a recurring science-fiction-like nightmare. Hard to describe, but the cut-off/disconnectedness of living overseas sometimes gave me a feeling almost of living on another planet. In the dream I'd been away for a few years in some far-flung country, and when I was finally able to return, a sort of time warp had occurred. Everyone I grew up with, friends and family, had lived out their lives, died, and were replaced by new generations. Everything I was once familiar with was gone and I knew no one.
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Brooks



Joined: 08 Apr 2003

PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A couple of times my mother had a pancreatic infection. The first time it was scary since I didn`t know why she was in the hospital.
My aunt in Boston told me.

My mother is divorced and retired. She is only 65. She is obese and did not take care of herself. So she has to have someone come once a week to do simple chores and buy stuff at a local supermarket.
She lives in upstate New York and those winters are terrible. The ice in the driveway can be dangerous.

My brother tried to get her to move down to Delaware to be closer to him but of course she refused. She is so stubborn.

Two years ago I visited with my brother. The place was a toltal mess. My brother had to clean it up with me. I don`t know if she was depressed.
Since she stopped working things are better.

So, at some point she will have to move out to someplace where she has an apartment and could live with other people. Living alone isn`t good.
Places like that aren`t easy to get. It is public housing and the waiting list is long. It can take a couple years sometimes.

In the past my brother would do stuff for her but he is tired of doing it.
I am thinking of moving back to the US. Maybe in the next couple of years. I just want to save up more money.

My uncle had a heart attack a week ago in Colorado. He will be ok, but it is just a reminder that the health of some relatives is fragile since they have poor diets.

I have missed a couple funerals. My grandmother`s and an aunts.
Being abroad can make one feel guilty of missing out on family events.

I do remember a teacher who went back to Rhode Island to be with her sick mother, and another from Oregon who just quit his job during his contract after his father suddenly died.
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