Hello! I've been reading Kimchi Mamas for over a year now, and submitted a guest post last year about My first Christmas Memory. I was delighted to be invited to join as a regular, even though it took me a month to get my act together for my introduction.
Having been adopted at age 6, I arrived in the US speaking fluent Korean and no English. I quickly lost my native language, and mastered English to join my first grade class 6 months later with no accent. It would take me much longer and more effort in college to regain any semblance of fluency in Korean again.
Basic stats: I am married to a bek-in (white guy), and we have two hapa boys, Teddy (11) and Barley(8). Although DH and I both grew up back East, we have migrated westward, until landing in Silicon Valley, where we both attempt to balance work and family life.
I never heard the term "banana" or "twinkie" until I was in college, but instantly related to the term. Having been raised by white parents in a 99% white community, it was a major research project for me to learn what it meant to be Korean. I was fortunate to meet a good Korean friend in college, and then spend a year at Yonsei Hanguk Uh-Hakdang, learning to speak, read, and write Korean. By the end of the year, I was able to defend myself from taxicab drivers who criticized my lack of fluency in the mother tongue. Phew!
Growing up in an all white community, facing the inevitable ching-chang-chong and slanted eye harassment of classmates and strangers, I always shrugged off the question, "Do you speak Chinese?", asked by stupid white people who didn't know the difference between the many different Asian groups.
I was greatly chagrined, after moving to California, to find that "real" Koreans are always surprised when I try out my limited Korean vocabulary with them. Also, waiters in Chinese restaurants invariably hand me the Chinese menu, while giving my husband the English one. When I ask for the English menu too, they look at me in surprise, and say the same thing all the Koreans do, "Sorry! I thought you were Chinese?" After all these years of denigrating East Coast and Midwest racists, I have learned that apparently, I really do "look Chinese." Sigh.
Anyway, I very much look forward to sharing my Korean-American twinkie observations and memories with you folks. While I write a personal blog, "Seeking My Life", about my family and whatever else strikes my fancy, I believe any Koreanisms I may share will find a wider audience here among my online Kimchi family.
Posted by Jomama (obviously)