Chicken For The Seoul: My Appetite For Acceptance As A Korean Adoptee
Start writing a post
Lifestyle

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

Kentucky Fried Chicken or KPOP?

420
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.
Featured

What Your Car's Color Says About Your Personality

Your color choice speaks volumes. It doesn't just emit an image for the car, it also says something about your style and personality! It's a form of self-expression. Are you confident? Are you sophisticated? Are you easy-going? Are you outgoing? Are you practical? As you're reviewing car sites for your next car purchase, what color will you opt for? Find out what certain color choices says about you!

125271

When it comes to car shopping you likely have certain preferences, including what color it should be. Your color choice speaks volumes. It doesn't just emit an image for the car, it also says something about your style and personality! It's a form of self-expression. Are you confident? Are you sophisticated? Are you easy-going? Are you outgoing? Are you practical? As you're reviewing car sites for your next car purchase, what color will you opt for? Find out what certain color choices says about you!

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

30 Songs On My Back-To-School Playlist For Walks To And From Class

Headed back to in-person classes means you need a pretty banging playlist to power you through those walks to class.

103149
Photo by Zen Chung on Pexels

I don't know about you, but I start each day off with a one-mile walk to class. I have to have good tunes flowing through my ears during those 20 minutes, not to mention the walks between classes and the walks home. So, here is my 30 song playlist to get me through this almost unfamiliar concept we call walking to class.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Be Kind to Yourself: 8 Mental Health Tips to Try

One way you can improve your quality of life is to take care of your mental health. As a result, you'll feel less depressed and be able to enjoy spending time with friends and family more often. These mental health tips might be just what you need to forget about your problems.

59419

One way you can improve your quality of life is to take care of your mental health. As a result, you'll feel less depressed and be able to enjoy spending time with friends and family more often. These mental health tips might be just what you need to forget about your problems.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Should You Own An SUV If You Live In A Snowy state?

There are many reasons to own an SUV. If you live in a cold state or a rural area, you will see that owning an SUV is very important.

51406

The gas and oil prices are too high to run in a smaller vehicle. You are better off with an SUV for hauling cargo and driving larger loads around the town. In addition, owning an SUV is more comfortable and safe than driving a smaller vehicle.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Understanding Why Dog's Lick You

It is a natural instinct for dogs to lick

59821

Why do dogs lick?

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments