A Band Named Seoul

"When asked about the significance of their name, the band explained that it was not mindlessly evoking the city, as none of the band members have actually been to South Korea. It was meant to simultaneously conjure an urban feeling by alluding to the metropolitan capital, and the solitariness one can sometimes feel in a big city." (Source)

Welcome to my blog: The Story

Welcome to my blog: The Story

How it all began: 

In 2012, I left my life in California and took off to study abroad in South Korea for a full year. As a Korean American, I had been to Korea multiple times throughout my childhood. I knew, however, that this trip was going to be something entirely different. I had just finished my second year of college and it was the first time that I’d be in Seoul as a budding adult.

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Why I came to Korea

This morning I woke up to a message from my 16 year old brother that I found very amusing. He had just written that Dad and Mom make him angry, that my Dad had told him he has to write a two page essay on why his sister, ME, went to Korea… frankly, he was pissed and saw that it was pointless.

I was cracking up. Sounds like classic Dad. I remember growing up he would make me write book reports about things I didn’t even care about. He always told me to write journals when I felt that there was nothing interesting in my life to write about. I would have never thought that I would love writing this much now. I knew that my Dad probably was so sick and tired of seeing my lazy and unproductive brother. He could never stand to leave us alone to lethargic summer vacations. That is why he had given my brother that odd assignment. At the end of his ranty little message, he ended up asking, “Ugh… so… why did you go to Korea. Just list me 20 reasons.” 

This is what I replied back: 
1. To learn more about my culture
2. To get to know my relatives and family better
3. To improve my Korean
4. To be able to be more independent
5. To learn more about myself and who I am
6. To think about what I want to do with my life
7. To meet new people, to make new friends
8. To explore and travel in Seoul
9. To fulfill my childhood dream
10. To get away from the same old things, such as family, old friends, and the same town. To be curious about the world around me.
11. I came to Korea instead of other cool places like Paris, Italy, etc. because I always thought that I should learn to accept my own ethnic culture before I can maturely accept other cultures
12. To see Korean celebrities
13. To grow up
14. To “soul search” for my true passions and dreams about what I really want to do
15. To seek new opportunities and to expand my view of the world
16. By being by myself, I wanted to learn to stand up for myself and what I believe in
17. To have more fun stories to tell and lessons I learned to share with people when I get back
18. To learn to try new things and to learn to overcome my fear of trying new things
19. To inspire my brother to be more curious about the world around him, for him to want to travel also, and to let him know that there is a bigger world out there. Waiting for him to explore. He just has to learn to look at the bright side of things.
20. To satisfy my hunger of always wanting to come to Korea, so that I can empty my stomach again to be hungry again for new things

Footnote:
Parents, if you’re reading this, please refer to #18 and #17 for reasons why I got a tattoo. 

[Runs away in fear] *Have not quite mastered #13

Every Chance

“Give me my beats, let me just write. Let me learn to love, let me just LIFE.” - Toy Houses by CJ Trillo

Recently, a friend of mine sent me an e-mail and in the letter she said something that I could really relate to: 

I think (you might find this strange considering my personality…but…) I’ve been struggling with timidity. There are so many things that I want to do, but I’m afraid to do it. I’ve come a ways I think in getting a job and stuff, but I still have a long way to go since there is so much that I want to do.” - A.R.

Fear. Ugh, my greatest enemy. 

I always think that I have good excuses and reasoning behind stepping away from opportunities. But in the end, it’s all fear. Fear of being hurt, fear of being judged, fear of failing, fear of struggle, and the list could go on and on. Although I’m no where near perfect now, I remember in high school having such a twisted personality. So much hate and cynicism ate at me inside. I was jealous of stupid things and fearful of going after things that I secretly wanted to do. Whether that was dating, speaking out, or just dressing differently, I was afraid of it all. In fact, I even had a difficult time carrying a regular conversation with a stranger. Thankfully, I’ve grown out of that, but I’m still a little fearful of the same things: hurt, judgement, failure, and struggle. The unknown. I have a hard time distinguishing between affection and really liking someone. I’m not sure if my hobbies are just things I like to dabble with or things I really love. I find myself weighing the consequences of decisions one too many times. 

But my year here in Korea has been a huge life saver. A huge breather. And I mean this in both the literal and metaphorical sense. In late March 2012, a week before my birthday, I got into a big car accident. Big enough that my car had to go to the junk yard with no hope of being fixed. Long story short, I really could have died or broken something. The accident happened due to a system failure and the airbags didn’t even go off. I was alone and when I saw that my car was going to crash, everything really did go in slow motion. A few deafening seconds in which I heard nothing but my heartbeats and thoughts. 

All I heard myself say was, “Just like this?" 

Meaning, "Oh hailllll no. I’m going to die like this? Just like this? My life hasn’t even started!” I was pissed at myself and the universe. Of course, I didn’t die and I didn’t break any bones… but there was one thing that did break - my outer shell of fear. I got a reality check. What was I so afraid of? I’ve learned that repeated pain and struggle doesn’t hurt as much the second time and it may not even phase me the third time. 

“Take every chance, drop every fear." 

Whether it’s love, speaking out, faith, opportunities, or experiences, I’ve improved so much. I’ve opened up in ways I never knew I could. It shouldn’t have had to take a near-death experience for me to realize this. All it takes now is a second. I just take a deep breath, take a good look at my forearm, and I remind myself that fear is not worth missing out on living my life. I guess it’s my mini-mantra/prayer. It gets easier and easier to bounce back each time. I just need to remember to not be afraid of taking that first step.