Sunday, December 13, 2009

making dinner with my brother in the netherlands

One night, during my visit in The Netherlands with my brother Kyung Il, he told me that I would be visiting his friends to make dinner. I was surprised and excited about this adventure of ours. My brother meets with a group of people every week and prepares a dish together. They meet and shop for their ingredients and later cook their meals...a very cool idea! Every week they take turns on deciding what they will eat. 

Since I was visiting and a guess to their group, I was honored with a tradional Dutch meal. Served with this wonderful entree was one of my favorites..brussel sprouts!  It was a pleasure to meet his friends and to cook with my brother. An opportunity that I will look forward to again.

These sweet new memories we made during my visit will be close to my heart...always. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Right at your finger tips

I am always uneasy about writing on this space of my current affairs since it is hard to separate your emotions from what may be playing out in the moment. No time passed to reflect or to digest and understand total dynamics of the situation.
I have been thinking about translators and translation lately. I recently wrote a few letters to my siblings in Korea letting them know of my visit to The Netherlands and sent some photos of the trip and of our Brother, KyungIl and his family. I have not heard of any responses yet and don't expect one any time soon. That is how our relationship has been moving since we reunited back in 2004. I realize many factors play into this and some of them I may never know. What I do know and feel is that disappointment that I tell myself I would avoid since I decided to search for them. I could be happy to have just known them and have found them and in a way, I am pleased with just this. But inside always aches for more.

My friends tell me that if there are Translators that has offered to help me to use them. I wonder at what cost? Aside from our initial Translator that we found when we first came home from Korea, I have used many through listings and through chance meetings. But with each of them, it is awkward since I do not know them well and feel I am intruding or simply too many favors. Sometimes it is not that I can simply do a 3way conversation on my home phone but that if I would use their services, I would have to visit them in their home or work place at certain times and then make calls...and always not easy to do this.

And after I have made all the arrangements to call, they are not there or we speak for a few minutes and later try again and speak a little to find out that my family in Korea do not remember our last conversation and state that is not what was said. Translation lost? I don't image this is what all adoptees go through but perhaps some understand what I am speaking of?

I am still dreaming of one day going back to Korea to visit them. I fear that I will lose total contact once again or become so distant that it would be awkward to go there. I will keep sending them my letters and photos from here. I hope that I will one day receive one back and hear from them of how they are doing in their homes.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

In Search for a Korean Restaurant in Amsterdam - Visual Memory

In search for a Korean Restaurant in Amsterdam

Our Quest
Prior to my visit to The Netherlands, I told me brother, KyungIl, that he must try korean food while I am visiting him in Holland. He explained that he would love this very much but would need to research where we may find them, perhaps, in Amsterdam.  We must have googled Korean restaurants several times in search for Korean food but found that there were maybe only 8 or 9 listings and at least half of them were shut down or too far away for us  to travel. I was amazed and could not believe how difficult it was to find them even for a major city. We did come across one that was not a very long distance away to adventure out and for my brother to try! So, my brother KyungIl, his oldest brother, and I set out on our quest. It was very exciting and I felt the pressure to know my Korean and Korean selections if you readers understand what I mean. Especially other adoptees out there. But knowing the fact I enjoy and eat in Korean Restaurants often I knew what comes with dining in one too. I was ready and hoped they would very much enjoy their first experience. 

The Restaurant.
While we were there, we discovered that most of the people working and dining at the restaurant were not Korean, perhaps, one? I do not think anyone spoke Korean and if they did they did not respond back to me as Koreans usually do when I spoke to them with my " broken Korean Tongue". This often stirred up conversation in "most" restaurants or any Korean stores. I found it very interesting and was curious about the food. To my surprise most everything they brought out was very good..a little different but good! I was very happy that they both really enjoyed it and would try Korean food again. It was nice to know that maybe there were other Korean stores and markets nearby that my brother could shop at and try some other Korean foods. It was a very special evening to sit and eat with them at their very first Korean Experience.  We ate, laughed, and carried the evening away with good conversations that a good meal brings to the table. A special night for I hope not only me but all of us!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Yoo Kyung Il - My Brother's Blog

A short time prior to my visit to The Netherlands, my brother created a weblog. I was thrilled that he wanted to create and share his experiences on his very own blog. Once it was set, it sat and waited for our meeting. He wanted to begin his adventure from our initial beginnings-my arrival in Amsterdam. How special this made me feel. Now he can share with his family, friends, and everyone his story and of our two weeks together.  I am excited to see where this will take him. Only a couple months ago, I started a blog in hope to connect with other adoptees as well as my birth family and now I am introducing the blog of my brother from The Netherlands. I hope you can give his site a visit! His blog is called, yookyungil.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Visit to The Netherlands - Visual memory to our future

Upon arriving at the airport in Amsterdam about 6 AM on Saturday the 16th of October, KyungIl, his parents, and his sister and her family came out to greet me at my arrival. How emotional and wonderful it was that morning.

Here, KyungIl and his Sister and family pose for a picture.

The two photos above were taken during our visit to Heusden. A very old town that once was used as a military fort. *I have to admit we visited many places and I hope that I am remembering everything correctly.

The photo above is of KyungIl and his oldest brother in front his Teak Furniture Store.

Me & KyungIl. Taken by his brother on our train ride home after a day in Amsterdam together.

Jelle - (parents of KyungIl) family dog.

 KyungIl's brother-in-law and his son.

KyungIl's middle brother and his daughter

KyungIl and his sister- in-law
Photos taken during his Mother's Birthday Party which we celebrated together during my visit there.

The nieces working on a project during the Birthday party.

His Sister. Photo taken in his Mother's house during her Birthday celebration.

KyungIl and his very good friend. One evening, we went to visit his friend in the town where he resides. It was very nice to meet her and her family. It was so great to be able to see a little bit of his world and the friendships he cherishes.

To all the places of my Heart

How suiting that I should look out my window to see the rain fall, drenching all that surrounds this house with its cool dampness and heavy thoughts that will continue to coat this house until I am to feel the weight of what has passed. There is no escaping it for it rains all around me. I wish not to run for cover for I shall welcome the rain and all new life that shall grow from it.

Home.  It has been a couple days now since I have landed and had time to settle into my routine and bond with my family. And although I am so very happy to have returned I am missing very much my new family in The Netherlands. I had a great opportunity to meet and to get to know them in these last two weeks. They welcomed me into their homes and into their hearts. I am overjoyed by their kindness and especially happy that they are now part of my life as I hope I am to theirs.

My trip to The Netherlands opened the doors to our past and to our new future. I have not come back as the person I had left only a few days ago but changed with new memories and new hopes for our future. I welcome this new me with all that comes with change. I will not fight it or wish to for I know that I no longer can be the person I was only two weeks ago. Like every phase in this life, I do not know what it holds but I do welcome it as they have welcomed me into their life and into their hearts.

Friday, October 16, 2009

temple photos from korea

I am about to go but thought I would leave these photos here as well as on my other blog, sheltersky! I hope you like them:) Hope to post photos from The Netherlands when I return! Take care!!

gyeobghoeru pavilion -seoul korea

temple located in mt. sorak - korea

changdeokgung palace-seoul korea

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Leaving for The Netherlands tomorrow..

Hello everyone! I feel this is kind of random writing to you today and I apologize. In some way, I feel writing about my current affairs is not easy. Perhaps, because I am living out what I am writing and therefore feel that I am too emotionally involved to sort out what all the values are and where all the perspectives are coming from. I hope you understand this rambling.

For the most part of this journey of 'blogging' I have mainly concentrated on my memoirs of my pre-adoption and post- adoption (the early years). Then it happened, in the midst of writing, my past once again came forth into my present. It happened the first time in 2004, when we found my siblings from childhood in Korea and this time, it was my younger brother who was adopted to The Netherlands as an infant.

In some respect, with the past and present meeting each other again, I felt stuck. Upon our meeting, I wanted to share everything here but knew that I was full of new emotions and old that would effect my understanding of what was happening not only to me but to all those involved. With this thought in mind, I introduced our encounter and then quietly left it. To write about the events of your life and of those who share it with you is something you cannot do so freely. It comes with great responsibility and for me, I respect this very much. The way your present life plays out and how it is perceived and later is reflected changes greatly not only once but perhaps again and again. I believe this is very true for many adoptees including my own life. I see this as I have learned of my past and relearned it again as new people and of those from my past come with their memories of a past that we had shared. I am not excluded from this for each stage of my life, I have gone through various understanding and emotions that attached it to the memories of what were once a present thought. In this way, I am right back where I started with this blog. I am writing and letting it take me as I follow. For my reunions and new unions with the people that have come into my life is just that.

Tomorrow, I will be leaving to go to meet my younger brother, Kyung Il, who resides in The Netherlands with his adopted family. In these short weeks, I have gotten to know them a little and am very happy they have welcomed me not only into their lives but to have me at their home! I will be staying with them for the next two weeks. I am very happy and thrilled to have this opportunity to spend time with my new extended family and my dear brother that I have learned of only a few years ago and have found just a couple months ago. I have to say that we have been speaking to one another on a daily basis and it is so nice because he understands and speaks English. I am always saddened that the relationships that I have with my siblings in Korea is limited due to the lack of communication and translation.

I think of fate and how life works out at times. I have longed so long for to reunite with my family that I lost as a child to now have found a new member of the family that speaks my adopted language. In this short time, I feel we understand each other more than my siblings in Korea will ever understand or know. I feel the only way this could change is if one of us learns the others’ tongue. I have felt that it was the distance between us not just the language that separated us since we found we each other in 2004 but now understand more that the language barrier is much stronger and divides us farther.

I wish I could express to my family in Korea how I feel and that I will be meeting my brother but perhaps that will come in time like all things. I will send my eldest sister a note about my visit and hope she will let the others know of this. I also hope that she will try to reconnect with my sister, Kyung Ok. I had lost contact with her about two years ago and am afraid my siblings in Korea had lost contact as well. From what I know, no one really knows why this happened which only leaves me to guess all the possibilities that come with reunions.

So, I will be leaving tomorrow and will check on my blogs while I am gone but will not be writing again for awhile. You can bet I will take lots of pictures and will post when I return! Take care everyone

Thursday, October 8, 2009

ROEB's Photoblog and my visit to The Netherlands

I thought I would post this message here as well. I had just posted this on my photoblog, Sheltersky. Hope everyone can visit ROEB's photoblog.  He has a lot on there and going through his archives, found many beautiful poems there as well.

Here it is:
A couple days ago, I had come across an interesting blog called, ROEB. This blog is out of The Netherlands which now holds much interest to me since I had recently connected with my younger brother who resides in The Netherlands. An agency out of Korea helped us to connect about a couple months ago. You see, I was adopted to the States when I was 7 years old and my brother to The Netherlands when he was an infant. Although, I had grown up thinking I was the youngest of five, I have come to learn we are 6 siblings in total. I had found out about my younger brother when my husband and I were visiting Korea on our honeymoon in 2004. We left Korea, not only having found my surviving siblings who continue to reside there but that I had a younger brother living in The Netherlands. If you are interested in reading more about my childhood memoirs and of our meeting, you can go to, Korean American Adoptee Home is Within.

Going through ROEB's blog gives me an interesting perspective of a place that my brother lives and that I will be able to visit next week. To me, it is interesting further because it depicts and gives us a glimps of the mix in cultures that co-exist within Holland. It is a thoughtful site and one that leaves  me feeling more inquisitve and feeling more responsible for how I view the world around me. I wish ROEB much luck with his photoblog and am very happy to have met him here in cyberworld!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Subject: October 3rd: Choosuk Festival and Parade

Hello everyone!

I just recieved this message through Facebook / yKAN October Social Event! It will be held in Manhattan, New York . I don't think you have to belong to the group to go to the Parade but may have to contact the group for their special night event. The contact email is at the bottom of the message I pasted here from yKAN. I will be unfortunately away this weekend but hope some of you can go out and show your support and have fun!

Subject: October 3rd: Choosuk Festival and Parade & yKAN October Social Event

October 3rd is a busy day for yKAN, as we will be celebrating Lunar Autumn Festival (Choosuk) AND Oktoberfest, all in one day!!

Some of us from yKAN will be going to the Choosuk Festival and Parade in Manhattan before we head out to yKAN's October Social Event at a beer garden in Long Island City. If you care to join us for the Choosuk celebration, meet us at the RESIDENCE INN on 39th Street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan at 12:30 PM. Afterwards, we can head out to Beer Garden at around 3 PM.


Meeting time: 12:30 PM

Korean Festival Venue: 32nd Street between 5th Avenue and Broadway.

Korean Parade will be from noon to 2:00 PM on 6th Avenue from 41st Street to 24th Street.

yKAN October Social Event
In the spirit of Oktoberfest, come join us on Saturday, October 3rd, for a night of food and drinks in an open-air German-style beer garden at Studio Square!

Studio Square, located in Long Island City, Queens, NY is home to one of NYC’s largest and newest beer gardens, having an open-air eating and drinking area with park benches, as well as large indoor areas. Studio Square’s self serve, cash only menu features German and American grill favorites and there are 19 imported, domestic, and craft beers on draft.

Look for our outdoor table at Studio Square starting at 4:00 PM. Eboard members will bring balloons and will be wearing yKAN t-shirts. The venue is accessible by subway by the R, V, G lines as well as the N, W lines.
See Studio Squares’ website (; for more information regarding directions and venue info.

What: yKAN October Social Event

When: Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

4:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Where: Studio Square (S²)

35-33 36th Street, Astoria, NY 11103

Who: yKANers and friends

Contact: or;

Monday, September 28, 2009

chinese adoptee weblog by erin

Through this course of writing and meeting other adoptees, I have met a very special, talented, and interesting individual, her name is Erin. After we had a few conversations with each other I have learned that she like so many of us out here have much to say about adoption and of different aspects of her life. She had expressed to me how she wanted to create a space where other adoptees like herself can go and express what it means to be a Chinese Adoptee. A place for all their voices to come together and unite in one place to share their experiences and resources. It is a place where she hopes the forgotten voices of so many other Chinese Adoptees can be heard and understood. In developing her weblog, she has had conversations with an organization called, CAL (Chinese Adoptee Links). CAL is also trying to unite Chinese Adoptees Worldwide together in one place. It is a work in progress.

What a great idea! I am so happy for my new friend and wish her the best. I know that there are many APs that come visit my site who have adopted children from China, please go check out these sites and let's support them so they can grow and florish. Let's get the word out! I have done my homework as well and she was right. There are not many blogs written from Chinese Adoptees. I see these adoptees coming over and following  Korean Adoptee Blogs so they can come to a place to share and connect. If anyone knows of other Chinese Adoptee blogs, please go to her site and submit the information and please leave it here as well.

We are all adoptees who should be heard and given a chance to connect. It is what we can all learn from each other that will help us to grow and learn more of ourselves.

I have linked the title of this post to her site. The address to her blog is :

okay..technical dificulties!

I just wanted to drop a message here and tell everyone that I have now completely lost the message column on the side bar. I am sorry and fustrated that I no longer have your comments there. I tried to find it under gadgets to update it back on there but cannot even find it. If you like to leave a comment, please leave it under individual posts. Maybe I will be able to find it again...Thanks!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Korean Town

Shopping at H-Mart
Today, we made our run to Korean Town to stock up on our Korean food and to escape into Korean land for a few hours. If I think back, I have always tried to shop at an H-Mart at least once a month no matter where I lived. There were times, when younger, my roommate (who was also first generation Korean) and I would drive to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania down South Street to an H-Mart. Considering that this was over two hours drive for us, it would always turn into a day trip. This was perfectly okay with us since we were able to capture a little sense of our childhood every time we went back.

This monthly ritual never left me. Relationships came and went but I made sure that my little trips into Korean land would continue to be a big part of my daily routines. I always figured that whomever I would meet or settled down with would have to learn to eat Korean food and hoped they would like it as much as I loved and appreciated it. I was very lucky! When I met my husband, he could not eat any spicy food nor had ever tried anything outside of basic American classics and fast food. After getting to know me and my love to explore new palates, he quickly came around and now loves Korean food almost as much as I do. As for our children, we never really discussed it but knew that if we continued with our traditions and continue to eat Korean food as part of our daily diet, they would just follow. And sure enough, they have never questioned it. This is not to say that they are not picky about what they liked or disliked but it is not foreign to them. And from introducing the food to them, it led to questions and answers towards who was Korean and who wasn't. And even to this day, my little ones see others that look like me and would say how they all look like another mommy.

These days, our children look forward to shopping in Korean Town and sitting down at our Traditional Korean table to cook Bulgogi or to make Kimbab. When friends come by, they are always amazed how our kids eat this strange food right up. I tell them that for them it is nothing out of the ordinary. For them, they have grown up with this food and know that they are Korean too.

*** This is for my brother in The Netherlands: I have a series of photos I took from our shopping trip today for everyone to get a glimpse of the food they sell. More like the junk food we like to buy and consume. Enjoy the photos!

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