I caved.

I tried so hard to resist. It seemed unnecessary. But I did it. S-y, I think it was reading your post about doing it that made me really consider it.

I joined Facebook. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

So if you’re on there and you know me, add me! I’m just experimenting for now. It’s feeding my addiction to online social networking sites as well as procrastination. Please enable me….. At the moment, however, I don’t really see the advantage of having a Facebook profile (it seems so similar to MySpace). I’d avoided it for so long because I was afraid it would make me feel old. (And it does. Seeing “Notre Dame de Sion Alum, ’97” just reminds me every day that my 10-year high school reunion is….this year.)

On a totally unrelated note, here are my answers to a movie meme that’s been circulating:

1. Name a movie that you have seen more than 10 times. โ€œThe Wizard of Oz”—hence, my Halloween costume this year (and in 2nd grade).

2. Name a movie that youโ€™ve seen multiple times in the theater. My dad took me to see Disney’s “Peter Pan” many times in the ’80s.

3. Name an actor that would make you more inclined to see a movie. ์†ก๊ฐ•ํ˜ธ (Song Kang-ho). I first saw him in “JSA” and looooved “Memories of Murder.” He rocks.

4. Name an actor that would make you less likely to see a movie. Mel Gibson–either acting or directing.

5. Name a movie that you can and do quote from. Again, “The Wizard of Oz.”

6. Name a movie musical that you know all of the lyrics to all of the songs. Argh, “The Wizard of Oz.” For variety’s sake, I’ll throw in “The Sound of Music.”

7. Name a movie that have been known to sing along with. “Beauty and the Beast.”

8. Name a movie that you would recommend everyone see. โ€œ์นœ์ ˆํ•œ ๊ธˆ์ž์”จ” a.k.a. “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance.”

9. Name a movie that you own. โ€œ๋ง์•„ํ†ค” a.k.a. “Marathon”

10. Name an actor that launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops. The Rock. Seriously.

11. Have you ever seen a movie in a drive-in? Yes–when I was very young. Can’t remember what we watched, though.

12. Ever made out in a movie? Of course. And once was while watching “The Incredibles” in Seoul.

13. Name a movie that you keep meaning to see but just havenโ€™t yet gotten around to it. Anything directed by Wong Kar Wai.

14. Ever walked out of a movie? I really wanted to walk out of “Stranger Than Fiction” but didn’t because I fell asleep.

15. Name a movie that made you cry in the theater. I went to see “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” by myself after having a traumatic romantic experience. Bad idea! (Although it was cathartic.)

16. Popcorn? I could live off the stuff.

17. How often do you go to the movies (as opposed to renting them or watching them at home)? Once or twice a month.

18. Whatโ€™s the last movie you saw in the theater? โ€œDreamgirls.”

19. Whatโ€™s your favorite/preferred genre of movie? I love dark comedies, especially anything directed by Alexander Payne.

20. Whatโ€™s the first movie you remember seeing in the theater? Again, probably “Peter Pan.”

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์ƒˆํ•ด ๋ณต ๋งŽ์ด ๋ฐ›์œผ์„ธ์š”: Happy New Year!

I thought the above was only used during ์„ค๋‚  (Sollal–Lunar New Year), but ๊น€์„ ์ƒ๋‹˜ opened up the first day of class this quarter by writing it on the board, so I guess it’s appropriate now, too. I still remember trying to memorize this greeting in the car while J.P., J.N., and I were on our way to Mui Ne in Vietnam (so that I could tell ํ• ๋จธ๋‹ˆ “Happy New Year!” in Korean once we were back in Seoul). Rolls off the tongue now . . . . er, not quite.

What happened to my blogging last fall? I could go into a laundry list of reasons and excuses, but none of them are compelling, so instead, think of this post as kind of a belated holiday card updating you on my last 1/3 of 2006. I think part of the reason I started avoiding my blog is that I started to worry about who my audience was. But now that I haven’t written a real post in, oh, three months (!), it’s probably safe to say that my readership has plummeted. Since I’m back, though, I hope the real comments start to outnumber the spam comments!

—————–

Let’s start where I left off: the conference in New York. Wow, that was in October. The conference was entitled: “Families Without Borders? Adoption Across Culture and Race.” I was probably one of five attendees who had a big blank spot on my nametag where “credentials” were supposed to go (not for long!! M.P.A. coming my way in a few months…..assuming I finish my degree project). There was a surprising number of adult adoptees there, although it felt like the audience was dominated by white social workers and Ph.D.s. Best parts of the conference: the workshop for adult adoptee researchers and professors that Harlow’s Monkey and KPN moderated; and Pauline Park’s presentation on LGBT issues in intercountry adoption. The latter was eye-opening for me since it covered a part of the adoptee community that I know little about. Plus, Ms. Park knows her shit. I hope she submitted a proposal for the Gathering (presenters for the research symposium component of the Gathering should be announced soon, I hope).

One of the other highlights of the weekend in New York was being allowed to tag along with Harlow’s Monkey when she met up with Carmen Van Kerckhove, the co-founder and president of New Demographic (she’s also responsible for the endlessly informative and entertaining Addicted to Race podcast, Racialicious blog, as well as too many things to list here). Meeting Carmen was really inspiring for me, because she’s been so entrepreneurial in her approach to tackling issues of racism, and she also seems to juggle an infinite amount of things (including regular blogging and graduate school, two things that I can’t seem to do simultaneously) with grace. Thanks for the chai lattes!

And of course, it was great spending time with HM and KPN (and J.E. who came all the way down from Boston). Nice to see A. Lee and J.N. again, too–a JEL mini-reunion of sorts. Great food during that trip–๋ถˆ๊ณ ๊ธฐ, ์†Œ์ฃผ, papaya hot dogs, NY-style pizza, real bagels & lox (I did not eat all of these at one sitting).

Hm, this is going to be a long update if I start recalling individual meals from the past three months.

——————

I had another birthday in October, too.

Guess not much has changed, eh?

 

 

———————-

Also, just to clarify–I was Dorothy (tornado), not Alice (rabbit hole), for Halloween. Look at the shoes!!

———————-

Saw a great play (in November?)–Cowboy vs. Samurai by Michael Golamco. It was hilarious, particularly because the Asian adoptee was the “militant” Asian American.

Speaking of “militant” adoptees…….

I had a Bill-Clinton-blows-up-at-Chris-Wallace moment last fall when I went out to what I thought would be a non-eventful happy hour with a white classmate from my Korean class. All these months later, I can’t remember what the trigger point was, but I do remember literally yelling and pointing in the dude’s face (yes….pointing) while other people in the bar looked on, bewildered. I think it all started when he said something to the effect of, “You seem to have thought about international adoption a lot…….but the adoptees that I know, well, they’re just content with their lives.” Something like that. My face was already red from the beer, but it got even redder, and I think I said, “So are you insinuating that I’m not happy??”

It was downhill from there. We got into an argument over whether ignorance is the same thing as happiness, and somewhere along the way, he began to claim that he was a person of color because he’s 1/8 Mexican.

I’m still trying to figure out how to calmly and intelligently present my views on international adoption in a way that people can’t dismiss as being 1) angry, 2) too “passionate” (code for “angry”), 3) bitter (also code for “angry”), 4) ungrateful, 5) immature, and/or 6) pretentious. Sometimes I think provocative language is necessary, but how does one convey a strong message to a broad audience without turning people off? I think this is one of the biggest challenges facing “political” adoptees. Too often, we’re dismissed before people have the chance to listen to us, because they lump us into a stereotype of angry, bitter adoptees who hate America (and Korea??), our adoptive parents (and birth parents?), and the world in general. How can we sweeten the message without losing the passion and without selling out?

I’m open to suggestions.

——————–

I did keep my cool, however, when a white substitute teacher in Korean class instructed one of my classmates to “FOB-it-up” when reading aloud from the text. When she said it, the class tittered nervously and then went on. After class was over, I pulled her aside and told her that although I knew she didn’t mean to be derogatory……well, she shouldn’t have said “FOB.” (DUH.) Later on, she apologized to the class, although she justified herself by saying that, gosh, her Korean friends in L.A. use “FOB” all the time, and maybe it was a regional thing, and she didn’t know it was offensive, blahblahblah. Which just showed that she still didn’t “get it.” That “FOB” is one of those words that white people can’t use. That the power differential between teacher and student especially means that she shouldn’t be using derogatory terms casually in a classroom setting. (The majority of our class is made up of students with some sort of Asian heritage.)

Gah, but don’t even get me started on Asian Americans (especially adoptees) who proudly refer to themselves as “twinkies” and “bananas.” Look at this, people:

This is “Oreo Fun Barbie” from 1997. It was pulled after strong protests from the black community. “Oreo” is not a term of endearment that the black community proudly endorses. Why do Asian Americans continually embrace degrading images and terms for ourselves?? (I realize that the title of my blog obliquely refers to a dichotomy of inside/outside…..but the “… and back again” means that this dichotomy is fluid and therefore unreal. The dichotomy is bogus–we’re not that simple!)

——————-

Ok, I promise to get off my “militant Asian American” soapbox. Back to my “holiday card” update. I went to Chicago for the Korean adoptee mini-gathering in November. Small turnout, but we had a great leadership meeting. Chicago is becoming one of those cities that I’m forgetting the number of trips I’ve made there. So much is going into planning the big Gathering this summer…..

Finished up autumn quarter at school despite massive procrastination. All-nighters were pulled, which is kind of disgraceful for a grad student, I think. Spent an uneventful but relaxing time in Kansas City for Christmas (K. and S. are about to pop out babies!! omg!). New Year’s in Seattle. (Blue Scholars show was better than last year!)

This quarter, I’m happy to report that I’m finally taking some courses on topics that are near and dear to me. However, most of them are undergraduate courses……further proving to me that the UW cannot satisfy me fully in my graduate studies. It’s frustrating, but thus far I’m enjoying classes (I’d forgotten that double-spacing is appropriate and even encouraged in undergrad!!). Here’s what I’m taking:

  • 2nd-year, non-heritage Korean (apparently we’re equivalent to level 4 at ์„œ๊ฐ•๋Œ€ํ•™๊ต)
  • Asian American Social Diasporan Interaction
  • Social Change in East Asia
  • Public Service Clinic: Community Development

Part of what was really stressing me out and causing me to go into major procrastination mode last quarter was the dilemma I faced with what to do for my program-ending degree project. The DP is sort of like a thesis, but not quite. The tagline for DPs is that they’re “applied research.” Theoretically, you can do your DP on anything you want, but the Evans School offers a unique opportunity through the Public Service Clinics in that students are matched with public or nonprofit agencies in a consultant-client relationship. Thus, you get to produce a document that the agency will actually use. It’s good, practical, professional experience, which is something I need, given that eventually I’m going to have to get a job that will actually pay me in $$ (instead of just the satisfaction of a job well done, ha~).

I will be developing indicators to measure the presence of arts and cultural vitality in the 37 suburban cities in King County. Sounds fancy, right? I like the fact that the Public Service Clinics are highly structured (which is something my procrastinating-ass needs), and I also like how our 10-person clinic functions as a seminar that offers peer support.

I still want to do a significant project on the Korean adoptee community, but I think I will try to do this through a 2nd master’s degree…… namely an MAIS (Master of Arts in International Studies) through the Jackson School at the UW. Luckily, I’m already enrolled in this program, so I don’t need to apply to anything. I’ve considered all kinds of other options (including MSW, moving to California, etc.), but right now, this seems to make the most sense. Doing the MAIS also gives me more time to fully develop a real research question related to Korean adoptees. The Jackson School requires a “thesis-ish” research seminar paper in order to graduate. If I keep going straight through, I would finally be finished with graduate school in 2009 (and I’ll be 30-yrs-old [auugggghhhh!] and just beginning my “career”). (However, I’m hoping that next year I can get a “real” job while going to school only part-time.) Of course, I might end up procrastinating on all of this, too. Notice a theme here?

——————-

I feel like I’m leaving stuff out. A-ha! Yes, I’m SO excited about my spring break plans!!!

Going to Amsterdam and Paris! (IKAA meetings in Paris, carousing and relaxing as well)

Tentative Travel Plans for 2007:

  • Europe: Amsterdam, Paris, ??? (March)
  • Las Vegas (April)
  • San Francisco (April)
  • Korea (July-August)
  • Hawaii (September)

Thank god for frequent flyer miles. And getting bumped from overbooked holiday flights (and the travel vouchers that ensue).

——————–

I’ve missed blogging. Here’s to getting back on track~

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Filed under Updates

Support Resilience

I deeply apologize for my long blog absence….. For as much of a stink as I usually make about how people should read my blog to catch up with me, feel free to kick me the next time you see me. I hope to write something this weekend….it’s been far too long.

In the meantime, take a look at the following and consider supporting this powerful film that I referred to in a previous post.

******************

Contact: Jessica Windt | 010-5833-2233 | resilience06@gmail.com | www.myspace.com/resilience_doc

Re: Spreading Awareness about Korean Birth mothers

Dear friends:

I am writing to request your support for the making of Resilience, the first-ever documentary film to tell the personal stories of Korea’s birth mothers. Please take a minute to read why this project is significant and how you can be a part of it.

In Resilience, Korean women come out of the dark and break their silence about the struggles of being single mothers in Korea and the pressures from their society to give up their children.

For the first time, adoptees and families can view adoption from a different perspective.

I am a Korean American adoptee and when I read the stories of the women in this film, it was the first time my birth parents, whom I still have never met, became real to me.

Maybe my birth mother is nothing like these women, but now I have a better understanding of the life she had, the environment I was born into and the complicated system I was adopted through. This is the kind of film I wish I had seen a long time ago, which is why I was eager to help in the making of it and I hope you are too.

We are making and funding this film independently, which can be the most difficult part in filmmaking. We ‘ve been able to complete a short version of the film , but still have a lot of work to do. W e are actively fundraising and currently requesting donations from individuals such as your self to help us finish this film by next year .

Any assistance you can give is greatly appreciated, whether it be $10, $1000 or anywhere in between and beyond. Every little bit counts. All contributors will be credited as sponsors in the film and will be the first to be notified of screenings and project updates .

By contributing to this film you are helping to bridge cultural gaps adoptees and their birth parents often struggle to get over. There are millions of adoptees and people affected by adoption worldwide that will greatly benefit from seeing this film.

If a monetary contribution cannot be made at this time, services, equipment, resources are also welcomed. If you cannot personally support this project, I urge you to spread the word to anyone you think may be interested.

Thank you so much for your time and attention. For more information, please contact me or go to: http://www.myspace.com/resilience_doc/

Sincerely,

Jessica Windt

Project Manager

resilience06@ gmail.com | 010-5833-2233

http://www.myspace.com/resilience_doc/

P.S. Contributions of any amount or type are welcomed. Please spread the word!

Donations can be made by one of the following:

1. Direct bank transfer to: Kookmin Bank, Account # 343602-040-67700

2. Online at Women Make Movies website:

http://www.wmm.com/filmmakers/sponsored_projects.shtml#R

*There is a 8% fee for credit card donations made online. Please disregard shipping information.

3. Checks can be written to “Women Make Movies, Resilience

Mail checks to:

246-9 Bogwang-dong #2F

Yongsan-gu

Seoul, 140-823 S. KOREA

All donations made in the U.S. are 100% tax-deductible. Resilience is fiscally sponsored by Women Make Movies, a non-profit, New York City-based film distribution organization for films made for and about women.

——————————————

Your generous contributions are greatly appreciated. All donations go towards the making of Resilience. Here is an idea of production expenses covered by your donations.

$ 25.00 5 Digital Video Tapes

$ 50.00 Production expenses for 1 day

$ 100.00 Light and sound equipment rental for 1 day

$ 500.00 Camera rental for 10 days

$ 1,000.00 Subtitles (English/Korean)

$ 2,000.00 Stock footage and graphics

$ 10,000.00 Post production services

Please don’t hesitate to make a donation of any amount. All contributions are greatly appreciated!

P.P.S. The objective of this film is to have these women’s stories heard in order to spread awareness and understanding about a side of adoption that is often overlooked. It has been difficult to find women and individuals willing to speak openly on film. Please help us make their stories heard.

A short version of Resilience has been previewed at both the 2006 KAAN ( http://www.kaanet.com/) and 2006 G.O.A.L. (http://goal.or.kr/) adoptee conferences.

For more information contact: Jessica | resilience06@gmail.com | (+82) 10-5833-2233

Resilience is produced by KoRoot ( http://www.koroot.org ) Rev. Do-hyun Kim | master@koroot.org

Directed & co-produced by Tammy Chu | chu.tammy@gmail.com | 019-9743-4344

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Filed under Korean Adoptees, Media/Arts/Pop Culture

Heartbreaking

1) People were buzzing about this at the conference this weekend. It’s heartbreaking to read about the boy’s father….
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/15/AR2006101500205.html

There are just so many things wrong with this scenario . . . difficult to know where to begin. This is a case study of how international adoption can be so incredibly f*cked up. The colonizers and the colonized. Now I have to add Madonna to the same list of celebrities (Angelina Jolie, Gwen Stefani, Woody Allen) whose artistic work I respect but because of their ignorance and obliviousness about their white privilege I can’t f*cking stand them. I suppose Madonna has always been a master at cultural appropriation, so this is just taking it one step further. Not sure I’ll be able to listen to The Immaculate Collection the same way again.

(Updates on the trip to NYC forthcoming. Yogurt soju, you’re a friend of mine.)

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Filed under Adoption (the industry), Ranting

Immigration Rights for Adoptees to Sponsor Birth Family Members

Given the situation with my Korean sisters, it might be the case that someday one of them might need to live with me in the States….. and also, of course, at the very least, I want them to be able to visit me….

But the Korean and U.S. governments do not recognize that we are, in fact, sisters. (And we are sisters, despite me being “deleted” from our family registry in Korea.)

Many adoptees are in situations similar to mine. If you haven’t already signed it, please take a moment to click on this link and read the following petition (created by Jane Jeong Trenka). And pass it on. (Thank you, JJT! I just bought my copy of Outsiders Within yesterday…)

http://www.petitiononline.com/kajok/petition.html

(**P.S. I will be in NYC for this conference on transracial adoption, Oct. 12-15. Exciting! I was in New York at about this time a year ago… To those of you who know what happened a year ago–this trip will be nothing like that one. Cross my heart.)

(***P.P.S. I just bought my ticket to go to Chicago for the mini-gathering next month…. Nov. 9-12. Anyone out there going??)

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Filed under Community, Conferences, Korean Adoptees, Policy, Traveling

Three posts in one: My Korean name, School, Therestofmylife

(**Fair warning: The following is a long post. Feel free to skim or come back for repeated viewings at your leisure.)

Being in Seoul often feels like being strapped to a rollercoaster . . . the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, with unexpected turns that flip you upside-down and make your stomach drop. In stark contrast, being in Seattle for me feels much more like taking a carriage ride through a park. It’s slower here, and during the ride I feel safe, calm . . . and a little bit bored. Hmmm, but the leisurely pace of this ride is picking up as classes have started, and I seem to be oblivious to the fact that I’m taking 18 credits during this 10-week quarter.

I’ve especially noticed recently how quiet it is in Seattle, so there is nothing to drown out my thoughts. Even the UW campus has a laid-back feel (I think the massive trees and brick buildings seem to absorb a lot of the buzz and sound). My roommate went to a conference in Yakima (yeah, I have no idea where that is either) this week, so it’s been very quiet in our apartment. It’s a welcome respite, although I do miss hanging out on the 2nd floor of KoRoot, lounging and chatting with people.

During one of my visits with my family this summer, my ์™ธ์ˆ™๋ชจ (uncle’s wife) suddenly turned to me while we were eating lunch and asked, “How would you like to have a new Korean name?”

She said it so nonchalantly, but I was surprised she brought the subject up, because my Korean family generally calls me “Sarah” (although they sometimes refer to me as ํ˜„์•„ [Hyun Ah], but not often). My name had recently been a topic of conversation in our family, however, since it remains a mystery as to whether my Korean mother named me before taking me to Holt. Most likely, my name is from the people at the Holt Mapo Reception Center. I’ve never been especially attached to my Korean name of ํ˜„์•„, mostly because I have difficulty pronouncing it correctly (I usually have to say my name at least twice or three times to native Korean speakers before they understand). The “ํ˜„” is very breathy (you know, like “Hyundai”). Besides, for the first 21 years of my life, my American family and I pronounced my name as “ํœธ์•„” (Hyoon Ah), until B. visited and pointed out that “Hyoon” is not a name (or even a word) in Korean.

My sisters’ names are ๋ฏธ์„  (Mi Sun) and ๋ฏธํ˜œ (Mi Hye), so ์™ธ์ˆ™๋ชจ suggested a few “๋ฏธ” names for me. The one I liked the most was ๋ฏธ๋ž€ (Mi Ran or Mee Ran). The meaning of Korean names are derived from their ํ•œ์ž (Chinese) characters. There can be several meanings, but ์™ธ์ˆ™๋ชจ said that “๋ฏธ” = beauty, while “๋ž€” = orchid. “๋ž€” can also mean “loneliness,” but I’ll stick with “orchid.” I like this name, not only because it is much easier to pronounce, but it gives me some unity with my sisters.

Last year, my Korean language instructor called me ํ˜„์•„, so some of my classmates were confused when I introduced myself on the first day of 2nd-Year/Non-Heritage Korean class as ๋ฏธ๋ž€. Our current instructor is actually the head of the Korean language department (a brilliant, very non-traditional Korean woman), and she was puzzled when I said, “์ œ ๋ฏธ๊ตญ ์ด๋ฆ„์€ Sarah์—์š”. ๊ทธ๋Ÿฌ์ง€๋งŒ ์ €๋Š” ํ•œ๊ตญ ์ด๋ฆ„์€ ๋‘ ๊ฐœ ์žˆ์–ด์š”…..” (My American name is Sarah. But I have two Korean names…..) I then explained briefly in my awkward Korean about how ํ˜„์•„ is the name my adoption agency gave me, but ๋ฏธ๋ž€ is my Korean family name.

It’s been interesting having ๊น€์„ ์ƒ๋‹˜ call me ๋ฏธ๋ž€ the past two weeks. The process of adjusting to this name was similar to when my instructor began calling me ํ˜„์•„ regularly last year. At first, I have a delayed reaction, but gradually I’m beginning to feel a sense of ownership and recognition with my name.

I know many of you out there can relate to this. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve met many adoptees who have let go of their American names in order to reclaim Korean names, and I’ve also met adoptees who go by their Western name in their adoptive country but prefer to be called their Korean name while in Seoul. In my own case, I’ve always strongly identified with “Sarah,” and I still have a hard time imagining myself as anything but.

Although lately …….

I don’t know…..lately when I’ve been seeing my full name written out, even with the “Kim” squeezed in the middle, something seems missing. I’m not sure when I would go about trying to legally change everything, and I don’t know what sort of combination I would like…..

For now, I’m satisfied with the warm feeling that washes over me when ๊น€์„ ์ƒ๋‹˜ turns around and calls, “๋ฏธ๋ž€์”จ?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here’s what I’m taking this quarter:

  1. Policy Analysis (3 credits, Evans core)
  2. Nonprofit Financial Management (3 credits, Gateway course)
  3. Mediation & Negotiation (3 credits, Evans elective)
  4. Education as a Moral Endeavor (3 credits, “Values” elective)
  5. 2nd-Year Korean (Non-Heritage) (5 credits, undergraduate course, doesn’t count towards my G.P.A.)
  6. Leading & Managing Groups (1 credit, Skills workshop)

Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? But I’m not pulling my hair out (yet), because #4 and #6 are just credit/no-credit (meaning that grades aren’t given out), #5 doesn’t affect my G.P.A., and #3 stops meeting after the first week of November. I really love #3, because my instructor is well-prepared and very entertaining. #2 is more like a necessary evil…..I didn’t overcome my fear of Excel spreadsheets in Budgeting last winter, so I decided to try tackling it again. I admitted this during our first class of #2, and the professor immediately began repeatedly using me as an example in class. #1 is a required course of all Evans students, and it is dreadful thus far.

I also have a work study graduate assistant position through the Marc Lindenberg Center, which is a research center at the Evans School focusing on humanitarian action, international development, and global citizenship. I’m glad to have this position, although I admit that this is more for my financial aid needs rather than career track, because int’l development is not my area of interest or expertise. I’m limited to working only 6-8 hours/week, but it should be interesting, because I’ll be helping them with MLC-sponsored events throughout the year, in addition to spending hours welcoming visitors to the MLC office.

My Tuesdays are really heinous, because I have #5 at 8:30 a.m., followed by #1, #2, and #3. I finish the day at 9:00 p.m. But I always seem to have at least one day like that during the week in every quarter at the UW.

Thus far, I’m still easing myself out of vacation-mode. It hasn’t occurred to me yet to stay in on a weekend night, and I’ve been slacking on reading and studying in general. Those of you who knew me back in the day would be amused/horrified. In Korean class, I regularly sit next to a sweet girl who was in my class last year and is a contemporary version of my former self. She’s always ultra-prepared, memorizes everything, and asks anal questions regarding assignments. Sometimes we partner up during class to practice dialogues, etc., and after she corrects me for the 2nd or 3rd time, I have to smile to myself and think, “Ahhh, youth. Where did my ambition go? Ah, yes, it’s probably hanging in the closet along with my white coat.” (med school reference)

Similarly, being a 2nd-year graduate student means I am much less anxious and more realistic about my studies. In our pass/fail, 1-credit leadership course, we were forced–I’m sorry, selected–into groups for a project. The only thing we need to complete is a presentation on a leadership book that we were assigned. I’m in the group with another 2nd-year Evans student, and the rest are 1st-years. The other 2nd-year student suggested that we divide the book into sections, we each read our designated section and report to the rest of the group. I chimed in my support for this fabulous idea. The 1st-years looked aghast, and one of them said, “Well, I think we should all be responsible for reading the entire book…..Even if we do split it up, I think I’ll go ahead and read the whole thing.” While the other 1st-years nodded their heads earnestly in agreement, the 2nd-year student and I just looked each other for a moment before breaking out into gales of laughter. (In reality, it was more like smirking at each other, but you get the drift.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What am I going to do after graduation in June? Well, I have a busy summer ahead (ahem, IKAA Gathering 2007). And then……..

???????

Since dropping out of med school, I’ve had a loose idea each year of what my next step would be. AmeriCorps……East Coast…..West Coast……Korea……grad school…… Even though I didn’t know exactly where I wanted to go and when, I at least had a pretty good idea and some gut instincts.

I feel a bit lost in this respect now.

The way I see it, I have basically two options: continue in school or get a job.

But the “continue in school” part is a bit tricky.

If I had unlimited money and unlimited time, I think I would just collect master degrees like Angelina collects third-world babies. I’ve actually been admitted to the UW Jackson School of International Studies. But I’m not sure a Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS) is for me…….of course I’m interested in globalization and the theories behind it…..but do I want that to be a professional track for me?

I’m also drawn to getting a Master of Social Work (MSW) as well as an MA in Asian-American Studies. The UW does not offer the latter, unfortunately. I would have to go to California, most likely UCLA. And yes, UCLA does have that tempting MSW/MA 3-year program. But. It’s. Los. Angeles. Yuck.

(In my fantasies, I would also have time to get a Master in Arts Administration, but that’s completely out of the realm of reality here.)

Every professor I’ve spoken to in regards to my triple-master-degree plan has scoffed and said, “Why don’t you just get a PhD?” Of course, the people saying this to me have PhDs themselves. I just don’t see myself being so solitary and writing a dissertation. But lately I’ve been wondering if this indeed might be the best path for me.

Another thing I’m weighing is how long to stay in Seattle. Even though Seattle can bore me, I don’t think I’ve yet seen everything the city has to offer. I’m not quite ready to abandon the Pacific Northwest for California.

I know my parents are just waiting for me to get a “real” job. And truthfully, I’ve never been in a job that I was going to be at indefinitely……I’ve always had an “end date” looming on the horizon. An escape route.

People keep asking me, “So…..what do you want to do?”

“Marry a rich man/win the lottery and serve on volunteer boards?”

“Hahahaha! No, really, what do you want to do?”

“Errr….”

I know that I want to keep working with the Korean adoptee/international adoptee community. In what capacity? Well…..

I will be attending a research conference on transracial adoption in New York City next weekend. I’m hoping that can shed some light on my conundrum. Plus, I get to kick it w/ J.R. and K.P.N. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Filed under Musings, Pondering the Future, School Daze, Seattle, Updates, Work Life

Kudos to Bill Clinton

I am not a “political blogger” in the sense that I regularly post about American politics, but I feel the need to get this off my chest. In regards to Bill Clinton’s interview on Fox News Sunday (hopefully people will keep posting the video on YouTube), I have to give the former POTUS a standing ovation. There have been people (such as Nora Ephron over at The Huffington Post) chastising Clinton for not playing nice, and the mainstream news media’s angle has been to characterize Clinton as “losing it” and being “combative.”

But seriously, weren’t all of us cheering as we listened to Clinton call out Fox News on their bullshit?? (Especially when he sarcastically remarked on Wallace’s smirk.) Wasn’t it refreshing to see a politician who built his career on being a centrist finally take the gloves off and give an honest, emotional response?

Some people have also dismissed the latter, saying that Clinton’s Fox News Sunday reaction was not spontaneous and was instead completely premeditated. I disagree–my personal read is that it was an impassioned response from a bracingly intelligent, albeit long-winded and ego-centric, man.

This is the same impression I had after reading Clinton’s bloated yet fascinating memoirs. He is a brilliant policy wonk who is also steadfastly in love with himself. If you’ll allow a little Myers-Briggs observation….I read Clinton as a definite “N” (Intuitive), and Intuitives routinely get accused by “S”‘s (Sensing) as being manipulative (ahem….speaking from personal experience) when in reality Intuitives are simply good at seeing the big picture and connecting with people. And that’s what Clinton was doing–looking at the whole story of what happened pre-9/11 and speaking fervently about what the left has been saying all along.

I don’t think this post necessarily adds anything to what’s already being said (there are nearly 500 comments on Ephron’s post, almost all lauding Clinton). And I realize I’m probably speaking to the choir here. Anyway, it’s been interesting for me to “re-discover” Clinton over the past two years. (I have very vague recollections of his administration, since he was President during the awkward years of my adolescence when I was more concerned about the politics between school cliques rather than the politics of government/media….)

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Filed under Politics