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Blanketed

Flickr link

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Korean guy and girl

Cool, I found two nice classy pics of Korean man and woman in black and white.

Looking classy!

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Google Korea

Office shows where I currently work at.

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Our visit to the orphanage

“Do you know how I got adopted” I asked my parents the other day.

“No, we don’t. All we knew was that you were found at the police station. That’s what adoption paper says.” said my parents.

“Oh I see.”

I’d read through adoption documents more than a few times. I was evaluated by a social worker 3 times during the period I stayed at the orphanage in Seoul and the reports said I was a healthy baby with a profound hearing loss and that I was ready for adoption.

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Korea

Prior to meeting my family in 2002, my previous knowledge about Korea was pretty much to nothing other than being “found” at the police station, according to adoption documents and that’s all my adoptive parents knew too. For much of my life, I took that as a fact and did not really think much about it. But then over the time, it seemed natural that I’d start to ask questions about myself like what does my parents look like or whether if I have siblings. As for my siblings, I remember having a strong feeling about them and I remember not believing that I was an only child in my biological family and that I must have had a brother or sister. Sure enough, when I met my siblings in 2002, my sister told me she spent some time with me (she was six years old) and helped carry me on her back at times.

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Deaf Korean couple in Apple Facetime commercial


Guy: “You look beautiful.” *finger on cheek*

Girl: *blushed* kamsahamnida (thank you)

Girl: “I wish I can see you.”

Guy: “Me too.”

Girl: “I love you.” (this is cute because this is supposed to be signed with two hands (palm over the thumb) but with one hand holding the iPhone, one hand is being signed.)

Guy: “I love you too.”

Pretty universal, isn’t it? ^^

Korea

Feels like writing something here. This one, I’m gonna talk a bit about Korea. I’ve been here for 5 months already, so almost halfway through the year. It’s been a good experience and as usual, I’ve been observing things and pondering my own thoughts.

One thing that’s truly impressive about this country is that sixty years ago, this country was completely ravaged by war, conflicted by ideologies (democracy vs. communists) and politics. It’s also been getting constant threats from different countries like Japan and then was occupied by it for 40 years. It doesn’t help when your peninsula is an in-between buffer between two zealous countries. It sent a wake-up call to Korea that it just can’t afford to stand peaceful and forced Korea to modernize like the rest of world has. Korea was fortunate to receive help from the U.S. and General MacArthur came abroad to Incheon, a port city where I was born in, to help ward off the Communists up north. Too bad they couldn’t really finish the war (General MacArthur had plans to use atomic bomb but U.S. President Truman wouldn’t approve of it) and the DMZ line was drawn up. From that point on, who knew Korea would go from a ravaged country to the country that will host G20 summit soon in two weeks and its GDP just reached one trillion dollars? and with companies like Samsung that supplies flat panel displays and in as many cellphones including the iPhone and iPad? Even Google and Samsung are co-developing a Google-specific smartphone. As for our not so friendly neighbor, North Korea, I’ve heard different opinions to the handling of the neighbor but by my own guts, North Korea will eventually collapse one day and it’d be up to S. Korea to shoulder the responsibility. In fact, the government has already started a tax funding for the reunification, so it’s really a matter of time. It’ll be historic, no doubts.

While I’m here, most of the time I’ve been thinking on was what if I was never adopted? what would have become of me? I know I wouldn’t have the same opportunity as I have, that’s for sure. So, it’s been an interesting thought process for myself and I’ve also been spending time with my family, all more remarkable that my sister is deaf too and is married to a deaf guy. Now that they have a child of their own, they’ve expressed an interest in moving to America, so that she would receive education and hopefully, some opportunities. That’s been something that’s on my mind.

It’s pretty weird that till 2002, I knew nothing of my family and birthplace and even asking myself if I really was born here. When I visited in 2002, I saw where I was from and from that point, I made a commitment to myself that I’d make the most of my life and opportunities that I may get. I had just finished my second year in college. And eight years later, I eventually did make my way back into Korea and got a chance to experience living here for a year. With that, I am starting to see my life all more clearly now.

It has only begun.

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The Ivy-looking Korean guy standard

One time I was shopping with a friend. She urged me to buy slim pants. I’ve never worn slim pants before as I like them just straight loose. She said that’s what most Korean guys like to wear and tried to explain to me. I don’t really get what she means till she showed me this picture. Ah, okay.

That is supposedly the standard look for a Korean guy who studies at an Ivy league college.

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Deaf-owned Tea and Coffee shop in Seoul, Korea

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Seoul Metro map: 1985 and 2020

in 1985

Future Seoul metro map by 2020

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View from 21st floor

My office is somewhere in there. Click to see where I circled it.

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Propaganda art by the Kims in North Korea

link

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Seoul, Korea to be bike-friendly by 2010

Since I’m moving to Korea pretty soon and plan to use bike as my means of transportation, I was curious if Korea is a bike-friendly country. The last time I visited, I didn’t see many bicycle riders around.

Seoul, Korea to be bike-friendly by 2010

Good to hear!

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Seoul to start experimenting with subway cars with seats in the middle instead of next to the window

This is interesting. Thinks it yields more space but less seating, tho.

Page F30: Seoul to start experimenting with subway cars with seats in the middle instead of next to the window.

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Displacement

I just purchased a one way plane ticket to Seoul, Korea and that’s a little over a month from now when I will have stepped my foot over there for one more time.

Like one of my friends’ favorite maxims, “No replacement for displacement.” He’s a big fan of the LS series engine with those big V8 cylinders. At the beginning, I’d argue with him and reasoned that a 4 cylinders engine could keep up with the best of them while being efficient on fuel. He said that’s cool but when it comes down to raw power and torque, nothing can replace displacement. Yep. When you want a go in your car, you just tap your foot on the pedal and a V8 engine will gladly rev up for you without too much effort. Not quite so on a i4 engine, you’d have to bring the rpm up high, get VTEC to kick in to experience some substantial power output. To put it succinctly, he said the Corvette is the closest thing next to a Ferrari that is mass-produced and affordable. Well said, friend.

Well, as luck would have it, I will be returning to the country where I was born in but was “displaced” at the age of three. In the last few years, I have given a lot of thoughts about going back to the country especially after having discovered my family and learned that my sister is deaf too. As I thought about my life and what I’d like to do with it, I realize that I cannot, in my good conscience, leave both my sister (and her husband and my niece) and my brother behind and pretend they are a figment of my imagination. They did not have the same fortune of living in the land of opportunity, America, and get a college education. Sometimes, I wonder what really went through my biological father’s mind when he made a decision to give me up for adoption? He must have made an insight that had I stayed in Korea, I wouldn’t have had same opportunities that I was able to experience. It’d be nice to inquire him about that a bit more but it was hard to communicate with him since we had nothing in common except for the blood and Korea has such a manner that parents do not reveal much to their children.

Another desire to go back to my country is to learn a bit more of the culture and what is culture without language? The language, Hangul, as I have learned, is a very effective language and is the only language to have a national holiday based on. I’ve always got a thing for languages in American Sign Language and English and thought it’d be cool to learn another language and become fluent at it. I often have a dream that I was able to converse in any of four languages. I realize that the image I have of myself has significantly changed after I visited Korea for the first time in 2002. It validated my existence, my identity and saw where I was truly from. Even at this point in today’s society and time, we have progressed enough not to use race as discrimination but our identity still remain important. So, going back to Korea will enrich my identity at the extent of who I am. There’s no replacement for displacement.

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