Friday, April 17, 2009

holy Moley: An Update


So, the airline tickets are being purchased. We're simply waiting on a confirmation of the flight itinerary from the Tour Coordinator.

We received a packet about a week ago that included luggage tags, various brochures and pamphlets of information, along with the itinerary for the twelve days we'll be in Korea.

It's a good mix of activities. I have been told, though, that I can move at my own pace, and that should I need a break or just some time to rest and process, I am in no way obligated to participate on any given day.

We will be visiting an orphanage and a home for unwed birth mothers.


A tentative date--the day after we arrive in Korea--has been set for the first meetings with each birth parent.

I think I'll be keeping Kleenex and Puffs in business for the months to come.


Just a few random things I have recently been learning about Korea :
  1. US beef jerky & honey are coveted items.
  2. Gift-giving is a very important tradition.
  3. Don't ever write a living person's name in red.
  4. The word for the number "4" is the same as the word for "death." Therefore, often the number 4 is avoided similarly to the way that the number 13 is avoided in the U.S.
  5. Wearing all white would be a little weird (the color worn at a funeral).
  6. Korea has a bullet train that goes from Seoul to Busan in less than 3 hours!
  7. It is rude to wave someone to you with the palm up. Palm must be facing down.
  8. It is sweltering, spicy hot during the summer months.
  9. I like the language but get easily frustrated & hyper-emotional when trying to learn it.
  10. Hugs are not the norm.
  11. The idea of being surrounded by all things Korean still makes me nervous & overwhelmed.
  12. Harley Davidson has a major following. Check out this commercial:
  13. You need to buy a voltage adapter if you visit. (This one is a bit more obvious & common sense).
  14. The flag is called "Tae Guk Gi." (For more info on the flag visit:
  15. I'm still struggling with conflicting, push-pull sentiments toward Korea.
  16. I know I've learned more and will need to learn more, but that's all I can think of at the moment.

The woman who has been my primary contact and mediator for the past seven years, Dukkyung, had mentioned that she might have the opportunity to visit Korea this month of April.

She told me that if she did happen to make the trip that she planned to talk with each one of my birth parents while she was there.

Well, she's there. Right now. I'm not sure when she is scheduled to talk with each of them. Or if she has already.

What am I thinking?

WOAH. That's what I'm thinking.

Only one degree of separation is what I'm thinking.

It's borderline weird and wacky, I know--like people who go to some exhibit hoping to touch or at least gaze upon some article that is believed to have once belonged to a "saint" or those who attend an auction to bid on a pair of sandals once strapped to the feet of Ghandi.

I can't help it. But I'm thinking, when I speak with Dukkyung, I'll only be one person away from each of my birth parents. When I meet Dukkyung in L.A. and shake hands with her for the first time, as we board the same airplane on our way to Korea, I will be shaking the hand of someone who has met my birth parents, who has exchanged meaningful words with both of them.

Of course, don't worry, I'm not really that far out there. I don't think my birth parents are "saints," and although I respect Ghandi's life, I wouldn't pay millions of dollars for his shoes--he was after all just a man--albeit, a man who did some extraordinary things. All I'm saying is that I'm trying to keep my head and heart straight--I'm not intending to go bizarre and kooky by putting anyone on a pedestal and "worshiping" those who were not made to be worshiped, if you know what I mean.

But I am a sentimental kind of person. And in the same way that I hold onto to certain photographs and items because they symbolize for me the emotional and personal connection I possess for those who mean the most to me--Dukkyung's return from Korea symbolizes that I am just one step closer to coming into contact with the ones for whom I have searched and wandered for so long.

No matter the outcome--these lifetime unknowns are finding some answers. And some is better than none, in this case.

I am so anxious for her to return to the States--to hear all that she has to say.


Oh, one other thing I don't think I've mentioned...if I have, I'm sure you'll understand...

When my birth father first got the news that my husband and I would be traveling to Korea this summer, he responded with such eagerness that he said he wanted to meet us at the airport upon our arrival.

I was certainly encouraged by this information.

For obvious reasons, we're going to wait to meet in a setting that is more private, intimate, and controlled than an international airport.

Nonetheless, I was happy to know that he was so eager to greet us. It gives me hope that we will all be able to work through this complex, delicate set of circumstances in due time.


This is really happening.

Oh my.


sherinala said...

IT IS really happening! I hope you're ready for the roller coaster ride, it's the ride of your life!!

But we're all here to support you, so just remember that!!


Mei-Ling said...

It's okay!

You'll be fine!

Just hang on. :)

Mia said...

I can really relate to what you say about the one degree...when it's only one, it's pretty close to the real thing!!
It's gonna be great. I'm so happy for you :)