Chicken For The Seoul: My Appetite For Acceptance As A Korean Adoptee

Chicken For The Seoul: My Appetite For Acceptance As A Korean Adoptee

Kentucky Fried Chicken or KPOP?

Chicken For The Seoul: My Appetite For Acceptance As A Korean Adoptee
Sarah Carlson

Fried chicken: perfect to cure my hunger! The ancient magic from playing the janggu, whiffing in the crisp air at the Jodo Islands, and connecting with the exuberance of Seoul's streets took my breath away. My travel book and Google images fantasies turned into realities. Korea flourished my wanderlust along with my ravenous appetite.

After performing Samulnori in the evening and later dancing to Korean pop music with my peers at night, my legs felt weak and my vision became foggy. A slow current of numbness drained my stomach, and sharp daggers of pain attacked my abdomen. If I didn't eat soon, my intestines would get swallowed by the void inside my body. Finally! The fried chicken arrived at 10 p.m., and the greasy goodness aroma lured me like a kid in a candy store. I then shoved my face into strange, lackluster chewy pieces of meat that KFC would never sell.

From day one, I always knew that I was adopted from South Korea at four months old but never over thought my chinky eyes and black hair compared to my Swedish-German blue-eyed and blonde family. But once six-year-olds started questioning why white people were in my family photos, I was perceived as this Asian-orphan-Annie and crucified for being apathetic towards a culture that I have no memory of. They were astonished to find out that I was not from the land of Mulan nor sushi, and there was nothing more I wanted than to bury my Chinese-Japanese ish heritage to culturally fit in with my friends and physically fit in with my family.

My perspective on my identity started to change during the summer of 2007 when I started attending a Korean culture camp for adoptees, where the norm is for campers to have tan skin and black hair and walk in with Caucasian parents. The immediate feeling of acceptance made camp my safe haven, and I felt eager to explore my roots without having any fear of being judged. Whiffing in sweet bulgogi, hearing the clash of janggu drums, and gazing at feathery fan dances for the first time swept me off of my feet. Curiosity bloomed into a growing passion for cultural discovery. In 2013, I jumped at the option to travel to Korea with other adoptees; two weeks and 1,576 pictures later, I returned to America with unforgettable memories, an entire suitcase filled with Korean goodies, and a fulfilled spirit. I was blessed with the opportunity to return again with the same group during the summer of 2018.

I visited my homeland but was never home until landing at JFK airport and driving back to New Jersey. Korea is the country where a selfless woman let go a piece of herself for two strangers sent from God to plant in their hearts and the peninsula where thousands of years of rich culture sprouted. I crave immersing myself in my heritage, yet I would never trade in my high school field hockey and track memories, countless copies of Vogue, and family for a life 6,800 miles away.

Though it sometimes frustrating being viewed as the Korean in America and the American in Korea, now I graciously share how adoption blessed me with my "real" family and a culture that I proudly wear on my sleeve. Having recently graduated high school, I understand how an open-mind satisfies my appetite for acceptance. I look forward to the unfamiliarity of meeting college students and embracing their unique backgrounds that plausibly may make me rethink what I believe to know about the filling of one's identity - just as how my hometown peers paused to understand the unique story behind my interracial adoption.

Despite the awe from being in the same country where I was born, eating bizarre fried chicken did not alleviate my hunger but instead made my s(e)oul realize that my American AND Korean identities are a packaged deal and that my first Odyssey entry would be incomplete without mentioning that I ate Garden State Kentucky Fried Chicken with rice once I returned to the United States.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less

Preview These Top Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2020 Picks — From Luxury Purses To Skincare

Currently 3 million people viewing the Stella McCartney purse I absolutely must have.

Online shopping has been a guilty pleasure of ours for years, but now more than ever it's been a shopping lover's outlet for all our home redecorating projects and resort wear we're purchasing for that trip we had to cancel.

One of my favorite places to (virtually) window shop has always been Nordstrom. I admittedly can't afford to go on sprees there often, but I still get a high off of adding things to my cart I know I'll never actually end up buying. But sometimes, that's not enough — that's when I, like the masses of luxury-, beauty-, fashion-, and decor-lovers around the world count the days down to the annual Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

Keep Reading... Show less

Bombshell news coming from Bachelor Nation today, Tayshia Adams is replacing Clare Crawley as the bachelorette!

Rumor has it that Clare found her person early on in the process and did not want to continue with the process of leading other men on throughout the season.

Keep Reading... Show less

The NBA is back, and for basketball fans, like myself, it has been the BEST news we have heard since COVID-19 shutdown play indefinitely. I mean, come on, we need to see if James Harden can once again perform so well he has back-to-back 50 point games, Kawhi can lead another team to the championship title, and whether Giannis is going to be back-to-back MVP... among like 500 other things running through our heads!

In the midst of all of the amazing statistics and records that these players are breaking, though, we also just love the NBA because well, there are some pretty good looking guys out there. Here are the 19 hottest NBA players (in no particular order) you would totally let slam dunk on you now that the NBA has returned.

Keep Reading... Show less

Rihanna is known for many things: her music, fashion, makeup, and now skincare. As a makeup artist myself, I can confidently say that she rocked the makeup world when she released her makeup line in 2017 and has been influencing the beauty world ever since.

Trying some of her makeup products myself, I know that she doesn't skimp on quality, and even though some of her products may be a little pricey, trust me, you get what you pay for.

Keep Reading... Show less

On Saturday, August 1, 2020, the National Hockey League resumed play for the first time since March 12, 2020. The season was paused due to the growing coronavirus (COVID-19) spread and a concern for the players contacting the virus and spreading it through the League. Fans and players sat and waited for the hockey season to resume, which took more than 140 days.

Keep Reading... Show less

- Though as a little girl, I had the silkiest, softest hair that would get compliments everywhere I went, since I turned about thirteen I've since had coarse, dry hair no amount of deep conditioning masks or sulfate-free shampoo could fix.

- I started using the Raincry's Condition Boar Bristle Brush several months ago, and while I noticed that my hair had been softer, silkier, and shinier than it had ever been, I didn't make the connection because I never thought a simple hairbrush could make any difference in my hair texture.

- I will be the first to admit that I thought it was ridiculous to spend nearly a hundred dollars on a hairbrush, but this one eliminates the need for me to use any heat tools or styling products on it.

- I put some oil or a serum in my hair when it's wet, brush my hair with the boar bristle brush once it's dry, and end up with the lowest maintenance, shiniest hair I've had since I was 8 years old.


Keep Reading... Show less

Bingeing a romantic comedy is always a good idea, and during this pandemic, these movies bring us one of the only elements of romance we can get. Through all the break-ups, obstacles, and struggles in our love lives, romantic comedies have always been there to make us laugh and keep us company while we cry.

While we love these movies for the beyond gorgeous male love interests, the female protagonists are still the ones we always remember. Although rom-coms are far from reality, it is always fun to imagine what our life would be like if a cinematic studio was behind our love life. So what does your favorite romantic comedies say about your dream guy?

Keep Reading... Show less

Plenty of people are familiar with the "calories in, calories out" (CICO) method of dieting which can be used for losing, gaining, or maintaining weight. This method relies on calculating a person's total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) to ensure that they are not overeating or undereating to achieve their desired weight. TDEE considers a person's height, weight, age, gender, and level of activity to determine what their caloric intake should be — some calculators can factor in body fat percentage as well. When I used a TDEE calculator online, it said that my TDEE would be 1,990 calories if I was trying to maintain my weight, but are all calories created equal? I'd argue that they're not.

It might seem obvious to some of you that 1,990 calories of macaroni and cheese are not healthy at all compared to 1,990 calories of varied foods (fruit, veggies, meat, bread, etc.).

Keep Reading... Show less

Whether you're in an unhealthy relationship currently, you know someone who is, or you just want to have these numbers saved just in case it could one day save someone's life (if not your own), this article is for you. Here are three numbers to save in your contacts ASAP so you can always be safe, both physically and mentally, in every relationship.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments