What Does It Mean to Look Korean?

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Compared to the United States, for example, Korea is definitely a homogenous society. The Korean people share a common language, ethnicity and culture. They also share many physical attributes, especially when you notice the physical diversity of other countries in comparison. This does not mean, however, there is no diversity in the Korean population. Continue reading “What Does It Mean to Look Korean?”

Asian Americana: James Taylor Live

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Very rarely am I conscious of the fact that I’m Asian living in a non-Asian country. Yes, there are times when I am reminded of this reality, such as when I go shopping for clothes (I get it, I’m short!), or when I’m getting my nails done and my Vietnamese technician asks me questions I don’t know the answers to about Korea. Or when I buy make-up (I think I’ve finally figured out how to blend the perfect liquid foundation shade but God did it take a lot of trial and error), but other than that, I’ve been very fortunate to feel no different from those around me most of my days. (I very much credit this to living in Washington, DC which truly is an international city.)

But last week, for the first time in a long time, I suddenly felt like a stranger in a strange land. Continue reading “Asian Americana: James Taylor Live”

Things No One Ever Told Me About Growing Up Korean and Adopted in America

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My parents likely didn’t know what they were doing, raising me as an adopted Korean kid in the 1980s-90s. There were no internet groups for adoptive parents, few written books or resources on the topic and limited access to social workers specializing in this area. In many ways, this was uncharted territory for them. But one thing I can say is that they did try their best. They tried to socialize me with other adopted kids from Korea (although at the end of the day, we kind of forgot that that was the one big thing we had in common), presented me with the option to attend Korean culture camps (I ended up volunteering as a counselor at one of them, and that’s as far as I was comfortable going), letting me take tae kwan do one summer, cooking white sticky rice for dinner from time-to-time and buying me a subscription to A. Magazine as a teenager (which I think now goes by the name of Hyphen Magazine). Looking back on it all, one can’t help but admire them for trying (and sometimes succeeding) in raising me to have an appreciation for my identity as an adopted Korean American.

But there were of course some things they would never have been able to predict or talk about, and without consistent role models for me to interact with, I had to figure some things out on my own. Here are a few things no one ever told me about growing up Korean and adopted in America: Continue reading “Things No One Ever Told Me About Growing Up Korean and Adopted in America”