Family bonds locked in time at Seoul tower

The main characters in K-dramas often demonstrate their love by attaching personalized padlocks on a fence on the tower’s observation deck. Tens of thousands of “love locks” can be found here. It’s a trend well established in cities such as Paris and Prague, but the tradition has taken on an added dimension in Seoul. While couples still attach locks to declare their love for one another, the fence has become a popular spot for adoptees and their adoptive parents to leave padlocks honoring the day they became a family.

And So This Is Christmas

To this day, when I see a bag of M&M’s, it reminds me of a time when it was difficult being the new kid who couldn’t speak English, who had no idea what was going on and who desperately wanted to go back home to Seoul. I hope that Santa enjoys the cookies and M&M’s my son left out for him tonight. And I hope that you all have a very happy holiday season.

Kimbap, kimchi and me

My little guy wanted to bring a delicious pork-filled Chinese steamed bun to school for lunch today. I told him no, but I didn’t tell him why. One day, when he’s a little older and less likely to burst into tears if teased, I will let him choose. But, today wasn’t that day.

JiSun: Do you remember my sister?

JiSun (지선), do you remember my sister? She was the bright, artistic, shy little girl who sat next to you in school every day in Seoul. You both were about seven years old.

Assembly line

Long before I became a fancy reporter (stop laughing, ya’ll!), I worked in a factory. It was one of the most mind numbing jobs I’ve ever had. At that job, I learned how difficult it was to earn a few dollars. I also learned that prejudice sometimes is harbored by other minorities, who are afraid that their own social status will decline if they align themselves with another person of color.

Bullies

If you’re bullying someone for whatever reason and you get punched in the process, well, too bad for you. Maybe you should stop harassing other children and learn not to be a little jerk.

Jumoni (주머니), children and trust

Money isn’t the root of all evil. But not knowing what to do with it can be.

Throwback Thursday

I found this photo when I was looking for something to put up for Throwback Thursday. I love this picture. I see a little girl who loved getting dressed up and having her picture taken. That’s what I remember. That even during a time of turmoil, a less than pristine backdrop was the worst part of my childhood.

Memories

Like a lot of Koreans of their age, my parents survived war and led very difficult lives. Books were an escape. My dad used to joke that had he learned Russian instead of English, we may have immigrated to the (then) Soviet Union instead of America.