Since my husband has been deployment, I rarely go to the commissary*. When I lived VA, I went to the commissary a couple of times a week. The prices were great, the people were nice and I could always find the items on my grocery list.
Although the closest commissary is about an hour away from the house, the distance is not the reason why I refuse to go back to the commissary. The real reason are the Korean workers. Alright, so this may sound racist to you but I assure you that this is not my intent, so please read on.
These women married soldiers during the Korean War and were rejected by their families and rejected by the American society. In all sincerity, I applaud these women; They have followed their husbands to a new country and tried to assimilate into a new world and culture. Many of them still struggle to grasp a new language and have suffered the last thirty years in silence against some husbands who have been extremely controlling and suppressive towards their wives.
Now, if you can imagine this following scene: I am a twenty five year old, Korean American army spouse. I speak Korean fluently as well as English and I am happily married to my DH, who is also Korean American. (Read: Young, Korean American, who married another Korean American and speaks fluent English). When I walk into the Commissary, many older Korean wives are startled by my presence. As I'm in the check out line, many wives as me if I'm Korean, they they ask me if I speak Korean and then they ask me if I'm from Korea. Sometimes, they greet me with happy and excited faces when I explain my situation but most of the time, I get jealous looks from these wives.
I was lucky enough to marry another Korean American man, someone who understand my cultural background. I don't have any trouble working the Army system because I am fully able to understand and comprehend English. I am lucky enough to have received my masters degree in social work and I am able to work outside of the home, in a career field that I have chosen. I am not limited to working at the Commissary because I have no other choice. I feel extremely awkward around these women because I am fully aware of how privileged I am compared to them. There seems to be some invisible hierarchy and without my knowledge I have somehow reached the top of that ladder.
So to my many Military Korean Wives sisters ... please, do not treat me differently. Please treat me as your equal; just another military spouse who struggles with the daily disappointments and happiness of this military life.
*The commissary is the military version of the grocery store.