I was born in Seoul, South Korea (성모병원) on a Thursday in May, 1985. I came into a world still in the midst of a superpower vs superpower Cold War, into a nation itself with major internal strife and external threats.
Fortunately, it's also a time of historic international mobility for those with the privilege of money, education, and a willingness to bet their lives on a country that wasn't their own. By the time I was born, my parents were already planning to move to the United States to pursue graduate education, the reasons for many Asian-American immigrants to the US in the 1980s. They did so in 1987, a bit before my 2nd birthday.
I can't remember any specific memory to tie to Korea, though there are some photos from then. Memories that are characteristic of me though include:
- On my 100 Day festival, out of a mountain of things, I chose strawberries. A bold choice, maybe because I was hungry, or maybe because they were particularly ripe. Strawberries remain my personal favorite fruit, so clearly, it's something that lies close to my heart.
- I seemed to like to wander off a lot, scaring my mom. If my memories from later childhood about getting lost mean anything, it could have been pretty traumatic for me too. As a child, I did pride myself for never getting scared or crying about being lost, so I suppose that's a sign that I'm naturally inclined to exploratory adventure.
- I had some of my belongings from then come with me to the US. Some of these are still with my mom today, but for the most part, I've lost track of most childhood items prior to Age 10.
- Apparently I developed a rash after taking penicillin, so there were concerns of a possible allergy. So I still avoid it, but I'd love to see confirmation.
- I took my first steps on my own at around 15-months, in a family friends' yard in Seoul, Korea.
Beyond that, anything I know comes from what I've been told, so let's move on for now.
Other things I know from that year that (for whatever reason) I hold memorable:
- It was the last year that the Chicago Bears won the Superbowl.
- Ronald Reagan was President of the United States.