Monthly Archives: June 2005

Return tickets–purchased!

So, my date for returning to the States is set! I took the plunge and bought a Singapore Airlines ticket for Wednesday, September 7th. So after transferring to Frontier Airlines in San Francisco, I should arrive in Kansas City on the 7th around 9:30 p.m. It’s funny, because I leave Seoul at 5:50 p.m. on Wednesday, and I get to KC on the same day a few hours later. It’s like I’m suspended in time over the Pacific. Wish I had ruby slippers and could tell the jet lag to f*ck off.

Speaking of Kansas . . . as Thomas Frank writes, “[Kansas] is the home of the bright boy in the mailroom who wants to be a player on Wall street. It’s where Dorothy wants to return. It’s where Superman grows up. It’s where Bonnie and Clyde steal a car and Elmer Gantry studies the Bible . . . . The state has an undeniable instinct for the average in real life, too. It is anti-exotic, familiar even if you’ve never been there. As a tourist destination, Kansas ranks dead last among the states . . . but it has been a prolific birthplace of chain restaurants . . . and it supplies the nation with anchormen, comedians, and actors of wholesome visage and accent inoffensive.”

Frank–a Johnson County native like myself–also relates the strangeness of leaving urban Chicago to visit JoCo: “Every time I returned, the developers had leapfrogged farther into the countryside, clicking off the once-unimaginable distances (119th Street! 143rd Street!) the way the Dow ascends past this or that landmark valuation. There was always some new suburban oddity to observe, some superlative to register, some combination church-mall to gawk at.”

Enjoying What’s the Matter With Kansas? immensely. In the process of writing a critical yet not bitter (hopefully) letter to Marie Myoung-Ok Lee to state my feelings about her Somebody’s Daughter that I finished last week and spent two nights fuming over.

I have this feeling that Korea will seem like Oz when I’m back in Kansas. I need to find a way to better integrate these experiences into the fabric of my life. Lately, I’ve been in a funk, because I’m so OVER my job here, and the grind of living & working in Korea has lost its luster. I’m ready to go back to the States to feed my American soul that’s withered these past few months. Yet, I feel like my heart has grown more Korean in being here–in meeting my birth family, connecting with the adoptee community here, facing my han. There doesn’t seem to be a physical location that complements this in-between-ness. Thank God for frequent flyer miles (and sending K. & S. to me in August! Asa!), almost as good as ruby slippers.

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Rejection = Money Neuroticism

I’ve been waiting on pins and needles to find out whether I got a graduate assistantship position at the UW’s Carlson Center. Well, the bad news is that I didn’t get it. This is the second assistantship that I’ve been rejected from. Statistically, it’s pretty difficult to snag these highly coveted positions, because they’re such a sweet deal: full tuition remission plus a monthly stipend of around $1,300. But what makes this all sting even more is that I would’ve gladly done both assistantship positions for free–that’s how interested I was in doing the work. The first was going to be working with the Department of American Ethnic Studies (which includes Asian/Pacific-American studies), the second was with the Carlson Center (UW’s version of CCSJ–meaning they promote service learning and connect the university with community non-profit organizations). The latter was so ideally suited for me, it seemed tailor-made.

So . . . I feel like I lost out on about $18,000 for next year. I know I could always try to get a job once I’m in Seattle, but right now I’m kind of wallowing in self-pity. On the up-side, now I have more flexibility in when I can arrive in Seattle in September, and I’m going to have a staggering amount of free time for autumn quarter.

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Everland


Everland
Originally uploaded by sarahhyunah.

My younger sister, Mi Hye, sent me a text-message last week begging me to come to Everland on Monday (Korea’s Memorial Day holiday). Everland is the Korean version of Disneyland (although it really reminded me more of Busch Gardens, but I digress), complete with generic mouse characters who eerily resemble Mickey and Minnie. I have to admit that I wasn’t jumping up & down to go, but it’s always nice to spend time with my sisters. Even though the language barrier is very frustrating, we learn more about each other each time I see them. So even amidst all the consumerism and artificiality, there was bonding! (I don’t want to sound pretentious, but I really think amusement parks–along with most science museums and zoos–are more enjoyable when you’re with kids….) Anyway, we talked about having them come visit me this winter in the States!! That would be wonderful, and I hope Mom and Dad could make the trip up to Seattle to meet them . . .

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