Plight of the 2nd Gen

We learn dual languages: one for home and one for “out there”

and we take our strange scents to school

and they pinch their noses: What’s that?

kimchi

we like jeans, rock music, movies, and slang

and we are scolded for peculiar haircuts and behavior

and they grab us and ask: who are you?

Korean-American

 

 

 

What do we owe each other?

Thank you (고맙습니다)

 

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Dear Mom and Dad,

Thank you for all the piano and cello lessons. Music has been a lifelong passion of mine and speaks to me in all facets of my life. I’ve developed a deep appreciation for it and (hope) I’ve passed that on to my daughters. You sacrificed money and time for us and now I’m doing the same.

Thank you for the Tae Kwon Do lessons. It was hard and it must have been difficult for you to watch Jojo, John and me kicking and punching and getting beat up by grown ups in class. When we broke boards, we felt a new found satisfaction in our focus and power.

Thank you for not allowing us to quit, even when we cried.

Thank you for encouraging and allowing us to work in the cornfields of DeKalb, IL. We got cut by the sharp leaves of the stalks. We sweat and walked 12-14 hours a day during “peak.” But we learned the value of hard work and the true value of money.

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Thank you for allowing us to ride our bikes all over town and for speaking in Korean in the house and pushing Korean food on us, when we just wanted McDonald’s. We came to appreciate different spices and vegetables and it’s a lot healthier, too.

Thank you for not going easy on us.We learned to handle disappointments, heartache, and pain. I was able to handle difficult bosses, financial stress and cancer because you allowed us to become strong and tough. Thank you.

 

 

 

The Writing

I’m having a great day of writing! I swore off Facebook, CNN.com and even Oprah to write all afternoon. 7,292 words on the novel thus far and there is no stopping me. I’m feeling good about the content too. I  just have to keep writing every day, keep up this progress.

Maggie cannot contain her enthusiasm about my progress!

Maggie cannot contain her enthusiasm about my novel.

I’m learning so much through this exercise. For example, did you know that corporal punishment in South Korean schools was REINSTATED in 1999? I’m also able to write about common themes which seem taboo: lack of paternal affection for sons, climbing the corporate ladder, cultural clashes. More to come…