Last week, I met a friend who came from South Korea on campus. She was born in US but grew up in China and South Korea mostly. I start to know her in elementary school but I haven’t see each other for many years. It is happy for me to meet her again and have a deep conversation about life.
We went to the same elementary school in my home town. It is not a very big city and not competitive, so generally people are very nice to each other. She told me that she still thought my hometown was also her true hometown because it was her best memory about childhood.
After fifth grade, she moved to South Korea with her family. There was a hard time for her to fit in the community in Seoul, which is the capital of South Korea and a larger city compares to my hometown. People were curious about her identity. Although she could speak fluent Korean, she had strong accent which made people thought she was from country side and not fashion at all. Her classmates tease at her strange accent and the teachers couldn’t help her. In the elementary school we went together, everyone in our school knew she was a foreigner but no one would tease her backgrounds. Maybe, the reason was that her Chinese was better than her Korean; I am not sure and I can’t be responsible to say that. Further, I thought our classmates in elementary school looked her as one of our family — not only a student of our class but also one of us in our community
She thought another big reason that she couldn’t fit in the community was she didn’t used to the social environment in South Korea. She didn’t understand whether her behavior was proper at school and she was unable to ask anybody in her class. After junior high, she stopped to go to regular school and went to an art high school. She began to learn painting and had some new friends.
Now, she moved to LA and lived with her uncle’s family. In fact, she was born in US but she never lived in US for a long time. She told me that she decided to stay! I was so happy for her! She is brave and independent. There was a hard time for her to fit in the community in Seoul, but in LA, it seems easier! It’s hard to say where she belongs to, but it is happy to see that she has the chance to make her own decision from now on.