Monday, September 28, 2009
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 : http://www.chineseadoptee.com/
Sunday, September 20, 2009
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!
Sunday, September 13, 2009
It went like this:
Begin with 3 Names
3 Countries Travelled
1.Korea ( left 1979 & returned 2004)
1. Korean ...once fluent now struggling
2. English...you would think I should know this language better.
3. Spanish...if only Koreans spoke Spanish
3. My Husband:)
3 Movies that make me smile!
1. My Fair Lady
3. Being There
3 More Painful Memories
1. Being Adopted (departing my family & beginning a new one..the early years)
2. Finding my Korean Siblings & having to depart from them once again with uncertain future for us.
3. Losing my Father & Sister ( my family here) within months after our Return from my Korean Family Reunion.
3 Wishes that came true.
1,2,&3 ;) My husband & my two children.
3 Things I really enjoy...& wish I could do more often.
1. Paint...always wanted to learn to paint.
2. Love Photography.
3. Love to Dance even if I look crazy out there on the Floor! Love how music and dance can truly touch you in so many ways.
3 Books that provoked & enlighten me in my mid-teens.
1. Maxim Gorky..."My Childhood'
2.Fitzgerald ... "Cities on a Hill'
3.Steinbeck ...'Of Mice and Men' - wasn't a book of my own choosing but had to read this one in school. It had a Dramatic affect on me while reading it one late night. Cried on my Mother's lap for hours...she thought I had lost it ..lol...over a book!
3 Things I think is very cool.
1. The ability to 'control' my dreams whether it is to change scenery, mood or outcome. Especially, when I have reoccurring dreams.
2. The ability to sense 'others' 'spirits' or call it what you will...I have to say I had a couple experiences that were very real.
3. Meditation...I have meditated different times in my life...mainly recreational ( in a gym). The one time I can say that I have felt a sense of separation from my body and yet felt so in tune to my body and my surroundings was when a friend was teaching me how to meditate and understand different levels to meditation.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
1. Buying candy/taffy pieces from food carts that came through town. Taking the taffies and placing them into ladles to heat them over coal, and twirling the taffy until hardened enough to eat. There were so many kinds of taffies. Some taffies you could press a design out prior to eating when it was in the cooling process.
2. There is Pong Tweegi, the large round popped rice cakes. They spoon a little into a machine that when heated, it expands and releases making a loud popping sound. End product, you have a large round flat popped rice cake with a slight sweet flavor. It is every child's favorite. The Pong Tweegi, we still find in the Korean Supermarkets here.
3. Sweet steamed bean buns. In Korea, I remember carts that came around selling these buns and now, we can go to the Korean markets and buy them frozen or sometimes you can buy them fresh right out of a steamer.
4. Steamed snails. Vendors would come around selling steamed snails in a cone. I remember my father buying them for me on our little walks.
5. Playing marbles the way it should be done. With little dug out holes in dirt and flicking the marble with your thumb watching the marble roll across the dirt to hit another into the holes.
6. Playing with Korean paper dolls. I used to pass these paper dolls every time we were in the market. I remember, one day while shopping with my sister, I slipped a paper doll booklet into another book that my sister had purchased. I remember feeling I deserved the extra booklet since I could not have it any other way.
7. Paper Squares. I cannot remember the name of this game but know that traditionally boys played it. Like origami, you fold the piece of paper until you have a square. Flat on one surface and the other would be the folded side. You are suppose to throw it down trying to flip the opponents piece that is already lying down on the ground. If the other piece flips than you win their piece. I remember running through the narrow streets, climbing up on the walls and flipping them down to win the other players pieces. It was a boys game but being a tomboy I was accepted into their games. We would run through the streets with our bags full of game pieces, showing them off to others, especially, if we collected some interesting ones or big ones.
8. Counting game among girls to see how many babies you will have. To play this game, you must be a girl. What you want to do is take your hand and make a fist. Have your palm side facing up. Then, you want to press down the exposed part of your palm above your wrist until little bumps appear up on top of your wrist. Now count. However many bumps you count is the amount of babies you will have.
9. Collecting shiny buttons. I believe it was when I lived with my foster mother. There were trails that led to some garbage/dirt piles that had many different shapes and sizes of shiny plastic buttons and shiny plastic round discs (Chiclets).
10. Sitting around blowing bubblegum with girls. Listening to my eldest sister crack her gum very loud in her mouth and thinking she was amazing.
11. Sneaking into movie theaters with my girl friend or perhaps, sisters.
12. Braiding leaf stems into each others hair. A memory of my girlfriend and I that I will call Muri.
13. Going to Korean Bath houses with my eldest sister and I believe my nephew when he was only a baby. Remembering how it was an awesome and yet awkward experience. I remember, when you first walked in, you could either go right or left depending on your sex. There was a little square window that sat too high for me to see into. When you walk in, you can see wall to wall tiles with fountains that squirted water out all around the floors and walls of the room. It was steamy and very hot in the room. And yes, everyone was naked.
14. Lining up in front of our houses to wait for the medical van to come and give us our Small Pox shots. Makes it into my favorite memories since it is one that has been discussed a lot in my childhood and had made a scar on my shoulder that appears like a a little heart.
15. I remember walking down a little dirt road that led me down to a small building with a long pole that sat in front of the building. Up on the top of this pole was a Korean Flag. I would sit down under this flag and try to draw the most beautiful Korean Flag. I loved drawing the Korean Flag as a child.
16. Seeing my eldest sister dance to Barbara Streisand outside of her friends house on a clear sunny day. If you stood outside of this house, you could see down the road to where a small overpass met the street.
17. Two American things I knew of and loved prior to coming to the States. They were Wonder Woman and Barbara Streisand.
18. Korean puppet shows, The traditional Fan Dance, and Korean Masks. I can still remember how to hum to the music of the Fan Dance.
19. Dancing in a circle in traditional clothing under the moon (Moon Dance) during Korean Harvest season in the Fall.
20. The Korean New Year (I believe it was the New Year celebration). We dressed up in Korean Traditional outfits and went around knocking on neighbors doors. When they answered, we bowed or curtsied to receive coins.
21. The many ways to properly sit, bow, and speak to show different levels of respect. I revisited this memory many times because of how others here has always found this aspect of my past very interesting. Therefore, it kept this memory very intact. Some interesting differences to point out that was misunderstood when young. First, I used to point with my middle finger out. My mother always became embarassed and would scold me. She did not realize that this was customary in Korea. I did not know I was doing anything wrong back in those days..funny now I think about it. How I used to sit with my legs tucked under me in a very upright position. I sat in this manner to watch TV or talk, etc. People and my family thought I was very strange little girl to sit so different and funny. My sister used to make fun and try to get me to sit like her but I believe I sat in this manner for a few months until I relaxed and began to 'fit' into my families routines. Finally, at night, my mother would tuck me in and she would tell me that when she checked on me at night, that she couldn't tell if I was in the bed . I would stay in one position very still all night long. Plus the fact that I was so little, I did not make any wrinkles in the sheets while I slept. I told her when I was older that perhaps it was because in Korea, we ALL slept together in one sleeping comfortor on the Floor Bed.
22. Traditional way to prepare Kimchee and to cook your food on coal pits.
23. Always tried not to forget the big rectangular fridge size rice containers. We would have one in our home to store rice. At the bottom of this rice storage container was a sifter and a lever to pour out rice. We would go into the market and buy huge burlap sized bags of rice and empty it into this container.
24. I always remembered the Korean Subways. I would tell people here in the States that the subways were very different from the ones here in the States. I could not exactly explain how they were different until we had gone there in 2004.
26. Eating Dukbokki as a child and still loving it!
27. Korean Playing cards. I had forgotten the name for the cards when I was young but learned the name over the years. It is called Hwa-Tu. Below is a letter I wrote in 2004 to my brother in Korea but it had returned as undeliverable. I never got to send it again but on it you can see my drawings of the playing cards.
When we talked the other day, I showed you the painting I had done of 'starry night' by Van Gogh. I had painted that piece around 2001. I don't know why I suddenly wanted to show you my artwork and thought afterwards that it was a bit much for our initial conversations. Today, after I had posted a poem that I had wrote in 1991, I saw a box of postcards that my husband had pulled out from the garage the other night. I sat on my couch and began to rummage through to revisit the old postcards.
You see, they never belonged to me, they were from the mother of a past relationship back in 1991. Prior to passing away from cancer, she asked me to have these cards. Some of these postcards are vintage postcards that she had collected while others were of her own past. I felt at the time very strange to accept them considering that they were of her own memories. Her son could not look at them and I felt I should accept this offer. I had gone through them over the years, randomly selecting some of the cards to read and then would place them back into the box and store them away.
Tonight, I sat down to do the same. My mind today has been racing and out of sort. I am filled with all emotions and feeling somewhat disconnected. So, I opened the box and read a few postcards. I grabbed another handful and flipped through feeling a little removed. That is when I came across Van Gogh. I love his his work and of course stared at the card for a moment before flipping it over to read the back. This is what I read: Vincent Van Gogh 1853-1890. de oogst. the harvest. la moisson. Van Gogh Museum 1973. Printed in the Netherlands.
I don't know what this signifies but my feelings of insecurities disappeared and I found myself feeling that we are about to open a new chapter in our life. I see before me, a painting of a field rich and plentiful, ready for the harvest. Perhaps, our journey has come to the same conclusion. And from this point on, we will move forth together to build new memories.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
My mind is timeless and the memories that it holds have no boundaries or limitations. I learned from a young age that I was able to dive into my dreams and explore the endless possibilities and depths of my fears and of life. I wonder sometimes if my experiences had led me to this space or if it was always within me.
My mind searches to match my emotions; flipping, twisting, bending the colors that fill my senses and my restless being. I feel love, pain, insecurity, blindness, hope, and the reassurance that I seek. Then it appears before me. It is an old poem that I had wrote back in 1991.
Triumphant cries of naked tongues
Whispers lured where silence lies
Walk through amber fields
Carry riches for brilliant feathered minds
Gather knowledge through their roots
They lived in hunger and breathed the air
Wind had taken the seeds out of their palms
Tangled in disguise rooted grass forms the nest
Mouth feeds the vulnerability
Security out of reach
Rapture of faith
A web of a thousand souls
Voices never heard the cries they ignored
Questions never answered
Portraits of misleading guides
To the Highest they ascribed
Mention not the truth
False alliances of their common faces
Lips closing in rage
From 2004 to just last week, I had come to accept this news and tried to place this child into some image in my thoughts hoping that I would encounter another time and place for him. Like going back into time, I was again listening to my sister talk in Hangeul while my translator tried to keep up with all the messages that were being said to her.
I am told that our nephew will be our point of contact in Korea. Upon hearing this, I asked when my sister had her son, our nephew. My translator explained to me that he was born while I was under my sister’s care back in the late ‘70s. She tells me that I cared for him every day while my sister worked. She explains that I had carried him around on a sling that held him close to my body.
I could not believe what I was hearing. No, I could believe what I was hearing! Why not! Since 2004, I had heard a couple versions of what might have happened during my last year in Korea and thereafter, but no one could really tell me for sure what had really occurred, or perhaps it was lost in translation. And now, I hear from my sister, from my translator, that my memories of my little nephew were TRUE. I wondered if my memories of the little baby I had told to remember me during our farewells was my nephew or perhaps my little baby brother. My memories do not allow time to be accountable; it only allows images to overlap and bring forth visions that remain intact and vivid within my mind. For me, this memory was always very special because of how I remember leaving there; Leaving my family, my sister, and my nephew behind.