Growing up in New York, very rarely did I ever feel like I never belonged.
Wait, I lie.
Up until my Junior Year of high school, I did not feel like I fit in. But then again, everyone feels like they do not fit in, especially during those early years of life. BUT, I will say that after my junior year, I took each year with stride and grew to find my own niche of friends and figure out what life was like as a Korean American girl, living in the suburbs of New York.
Fast Forward to where I am now. Married to my six foot three, blonde haired, blue-eyed white man, living in East Tennessee, where the Volunteers reign supreme.
I thought that I felt like I did not belong when I was growing up in the suburbs of New York, BUT let me tell you living here in East Tennessee is almost worse or if not just as bad. Now don’t get me wrong, Tennessee is great, but the one thing that I miss more than anything are my friends, family and good Korean food. I never thought that I would feel so “isolated” here, if that is the best word to use.
For those of you that know how loud restaurants can be, let me tell you, I have never heard a dining room get so quiet until the first time I walked through one in Tennessee three years ago and had everyone starting at me.
Or about the time I went to what we call Wally World and noticed that the patrons stopped pushing their carts to blatantly stare at me. I consider myself a strong individual, but this was daunting. I thought to myself, “You’re just going to have to get a thicker skin and be prepared for comments, and get ready to respond to them.” Which I did, when an employee at a big name clothing chain at West Town Mall, that starts with a yellow fruit decided to speak to me in that SLOW, LOUD VOICE to think that I did not understand English. HIIII HOW ARE YOU? CAN I HELP YOU? Which I responded in an equally slow and loud voice, “NOO THANK YOU. WHY ARE YOU TALKING LIKE THAT? I SPEAK ENGLISH.” I never saw anyone change their tone so fast or regret their actions more than they did.
It was actually kind of funny, maybe because I could not believe that this still happened in the great United States of America.
I have decided that going forward I would just “teach” each person that I encountered. That I would educate them about me and about Korean American people. Because if you have not figured it out yet, there are NOT that many Asian people in East Tennessee, let alone Korean people. Or at least what I am used to.
I plan on sharing my life experiences, from over all my life as well as the recent ones, but also just to blog about my other joys in life as well like cooking, shopping, and trying to keep in touch with my family and friends and making some new ones as well.
This will be just a little glimpse into this Korean American Yankee living in the good ole state of Tennessee.
So my adventures begin. I hope to enjoy my thoughts and adventures as much as I will enjoy sharing them with you.