Random thoughts on a Saturday night

  1. Line I thought of but haven’t had the time to sit down and write a whole poem around yet: “I was born in the shadow of the valley of death.” (I was born in a Korean county that’s home to a valley called the Punch Bowl, where hundreds of Korean and American soldiers met their fates during a Korean War battle; this feels like a rather poetic if somewhat grim detail.)
  2. Speaking of Koreanness, I have come across a YouTube channel called Korean Englishman that is pretty much what it says: It’s a young English guy who grew up in a city in China where there are a lot of Korean people, and he fell in love with Korean culture and language. So he’s basically acting as a one-man Korean tourism board, introducing his English friends to Korean food and stuff, and he has quite a following of Korean people, which sort of surprised me. But as someone said in the comments on one of his videos, Koreans are very curious about what other cultures think of theirs, so this guy’s appreciation of Koreanness is really affirming to them.
  3. This does, however, have me thinking about a lot of stuff–there’s part of me that’s bothered by it centering on the experiences of a white British guy instead of on the stories of actual Korean people, but on the other hand actual Korean people don’t really seem to mind and are in fact really stoked about it? Maybe it’s an American attitude toward race and culture that people in Korea don’t have?
  4. And it also has me thinking about the fact that I have not intentionally sought a whole lot of Korean experiences in America, which is nuts when I live in a city that has loads of Korean people in it, and I think it’s at least in part because I’m nervous about whether or not I’d be perceived as not being Korean enough, or whether or not I’d be looked down on for not knowing certain things, or not knowing more than a handful of Korean words. (I mean, all my experiences with first- and second-generation Korean-Americans have never indicated that this would be the case; to be honest, it’s been well-intentioned but misguided white people that have made me feel less than for not knowing my own culture.) I feel like I need someone to hold my hand through the experience, and to be honest I don’t really move in spaces where there are a lot of other Korean people, so…now I’m kind of reevaluating all that. So watch this space, I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts on this later!
  5. Anyway! I have thus far spent this weekend eating BLTs with farmers market tomatoes and jalapeño bacon from HEB (SO GOOD) and nursing a sinus headache that is probably related to this rain we’re getting. I’ve noticed that since Harvey last year I’m a little more skittish whenever it rains a lot, which I’m sure is the case for a lot of people in southeast Texas.
  6. I’m just going to leave you with this after all of this Korean angst:

 

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