Korean? American? Korean-American?

July 26, 2008 at 7:11 pm (Uncategorized)

  I was born in California and lived there for 8 years.  The year my family permanently moved to Korea was one of the hardest of my life; I had trouble adjusting to Korea and was terribly homesick.  As I drowned in sweat in the summer and shivered in my bulging parka in the winter, I mournfully yearned for California’s outdoor-friendly weather and consistent climate.  I tried to pretend I fully understood the phonics that rapidly entered my ear and flew out the other, but I could only stutter when I realized that I was supposed to reply.  The neighborhood kids wrinkled their noses at my thick accent and I found myself stashing myself into my room more often, ashamed and embarrassed.  I sadly recalled pool parties, lu aus, and barbeque get-togethers that Korea’s culture did not provide. 
  For the next 4 years when someone asked me, “jenny-ya, do you like America better or Korea better?” I immediately answered, “AMERICA! I WANT TO GO BACK!”  The reasons I listed in my head were simple:
1) The amount of time I spent in America was greater
2) My English is infinitely better than my Korean
3) I enjoy the American lifestyle
  These reasons were more than enough for me to decide that I loved America, and that I belonged there.  But in  my 5th year away from the states, I found myself hesitating whenever someone asked me which country I would choose.  Doubts filled my head.  The 8 years I spent in California seemed light-years away, and my childhood experiences lost their significance because they were just that: childhood experiences.  More and more memories I stored in my head that took place in Korea, and I fully warmed up to Korea’s unique culture and language.  It was finally impossible to choose.  Am I American or Korean?
  Currently there is no answer.  Though I’m not even sure I want to have an answer anymore.  The years I spent in Korea now equals the years spent in the states, and my everyday Korean rivals my everyday English.  I love California’s laid-backness as much as I am fond of Korea’s hagwon tradition; I love American etiquette and Korea’s pushy ajumas.  Korea and America are both deeply embedded in me, and that will never change.  I settle with Korean-American.

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College

July 24, 2008 at 3:19 am (Uncategorized)

  Probably the single biggest thing in every senior’s minds right now is college.  The attention was heightened especially with the Common Application being released over summer, and quite a few seem to have already started or finished application essays for different schools.  What really makes me nervous is the fact that some kids already have decided on the specific schools they are going to apply to, which essays they are going to write in what fashion, and their choice of early decision/ early action, when I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do.

There is really so much information to process for this topic. It is amazing how people pull different information about different schools and their administration process; I usually silently nod my head as they ramble on about one college or another.  Many of my friends have a ready answer as to which college they want to go to for which major, but when I am asked the question, I cannot give a solid answer. People think it is modesty that makes me shy of revealing my plans, or maybe some strategic ploy to increase my possibility of getting accepted into whatever college.  However a closer look in my head would easily prove that I am not lying when I said “I don’t know.”

I suppose there are many great schools out there for me, but at the moment I feel to lost to discover the perfect match.  College is a completely new environment, and the obstacles and the situations that I am going to face will be unexpected and startling.  How can I be sure a certain college is better than another when I have no idea what “college” is all about in the first place?  Time ticks away, and I fear that my decisions may be rushed.

Although I do not feel completely ready, and the pressure is on, this provides a drive and incentive to work harder.  Amidst my worrying I always conclude with a comforting note: There was never SIS senior that did not have a place to go after graduation.

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