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My youngest son teaches English in Korea. He has recently resigned a contract for yet another year, this will be his 5th year working in Korea. He enjoys teaching and enjoys the travel opportunities living abroad affords him. He loves the young woman he met in Korea and that is the reason he has chosen to stay. She is absolutely lovely, she loves my son and my son loves her.

My son, and his girlfriend arrived a week ago for a 10 day visit. I have met his girlfriend twice before, the first time when the ex and I visited our son in Seoul and the second time when our son brought her to Canada. When I visited Korea I left my dog guide with another son and used my cane. The flight was 14 hours, there was a 14 hour time difference, some restaurants have dog on the menu and I knew I could not be guaranteed access with a working dog. Two weeks in Korea, and I did not see another white cane. I did not see wheelchairs, I did not see braille signage, and I did not see any working dogs. I did see surprise and confusion at the white cane, surprise at a blind woman using the subway, walking the streets and entering restaurants.

Until recently, blind Koreans were believed to hold a unique privilege. They were told they held the constitutional right as the only people allowed to work as masseurs. Sighted masseurs protested. Hmmmmm....... Very interesting paradox.

This visit, my son’s girlfriend told me before she met me, she didn't know blind people could do things like live alone, cook, shop, entertain, keep a house, babysit grandchildren, read, watch television, look after finances ...... Now she knows.

People who are visually impaired or blind can do all of those things, and more. I am grateful for the opportunity to change one person’s mind. Perhaps she will change another’s and so on and so on. Perhaps next time I visit my son in Korea I will not be viewed as the blind masseuse who has lost her way returning home from the spa.


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