God damn it if I wasn’t late.
Stupid me, I thought I’d figured out this subway thing, but I started out by going in the WRONG DIRECTION this morning. I figured out an alternate route (it would have been quicker if I’d back-tracked) and ended up having to make several transfers. The lines are color coded, so that’s easy. But you get disoriented once you’re down there, and you don’t know which direction you’re going. The trains are listed for their main and final destinations, so you have to follow the lines on your map to their conclusion – and the lines are long. So many of the stops sound similar, it’s easy to screw it up.
On the way home, I fell asleep through my transfer point, had to get off and turn around, then I followed the transfer to my line but it was only going in the wrong direction! I asked for help, and the guy pointed me to where I’d just come from, which was perpendicular to where I wanted to go. So I did as he said and ended up going on the original lane again, so I had to double back. This time I followed the transfer line and sure enough, it was only going one direction. I went back to the original line and where the guy told me to go, and on the other side was my transfer line. Seems the other direction had been closed and it had been re-directed to this other, perpendicular platform, and probably there were signs that everyone in Korea could read BUT ME. Frustrating way to lose an hour of your life.
But I digress – we’re supposed to be talking about KBS. First, they made me sign a statement that you will definitely go through with a televised reunion if they find someone. Then, they made me go stand outside and get filmed saying my name and my name in Korean, and then I was supposed to ad-lib about 8 lines about myself and why I was in Korea. They just wanted me to come up with any old thing, and told me it would be subtitled in Korean and wouldn’t match anything I said. They just wanted footage of me mouthing in English, basically.
Then, I and the other searchers went up to a conference room with four directors & assistants to get interviewed. One woman and her husband(?) appeared to be searching for her father, and she brought along a lot of old photos. I wondered if he was possibly stolen by the North Koreans or something. And then there was another man who just talked and didn’t have any photos and I couldn’t tell who he was searching for or why. And then it was my turn.
They wanted to know about my adoption in America, and I told them it wasn’t good. They asked why I wanted to search, so I started with my parents dying, and then looking to thank my foster mom, and then finding out I didn’t have a foster mom, and then I went over the fight with Holt International to get Holt Korea to get me my documents. They seemed to understand most of what I said in English. Then we went over the trip to Wonju, and my interpreter chimed in at that point. They asked if the other girl in my document might be my sister, and then I told them about my fight with Holt International to contact her, and how they refused to send her my letter, and how I didn’t trust the way my case was presented to her. I explained that we had different family names and ages, but that on the Wonju document it said we were the same age and that our names were made up. I was actually surprised I was able to talk about my struggles with Holt, but I don’t know how far that will go in regards to the show. They asked why I came to Korea, and I explained about how this struggle to find out my history occurred at the same time as a lack of architecture work due to the economy, that my kids were making their own lives, and that it was time to find out about my culture.
There were a few problems because I didn’t have my mailing address with me, I don’t have a phone yet, I can only be reached by email, and I start work next week. They told me that since I will be living here several years, they might take their time contacting me. I told them I was actually a little concerned about the time because I am older and afraid my parents might die before I find them. Well, then, I was told I would be called, but all things will have to wait until I get a phone. So, Wednesday I am going to put a deposit on a loner from G.O.A.L But then my bank account will be short for David’s tuition payment. I get paid on that day too, so doubtful it will clear in time. Oh well. I guess one NSF is worth finding my family before they die. In the taxi to the subway, Hae Yee reiterated that they wanted to know more ABOUT ME, and that the family search researcher would be calling me for a more intensive interview. This seemed a little unusual to me, since I’ve seen many episodes of this family search program before, and I gave them what most people give – my profession, about my kids, that I want to know my history – same as everyone. I told Yea Hee well, that’s a problem is they want to know more because I was abused and…Yea Hee’s face TOTALLY LIT UP. “Really? you were ABUSED? Oh! That is GOOD. I mean, for your program!” But, I explained, I don’t want to say anything which might inhibit or discourage my family from coming forward. “But. But by telling your story you could prevent more children from being (adopted and) abused.” But, I protested, maybe they will feel too much guilt and shame to come forward. She says,”It is bad news they will have to know sooner or later.”
So that’s the decision I have to make I guess. I did email the researcher and tell her about my predicament. I asked for advisement, since I don’t know Korean culture. Maybe there is a way to reveal all in a manner which will make ahmoni and ahboji want to contact me even more as a result…
Tomorrow it’s ten hours of school functions (all in Korean – me being the only one who doesn’t understand any Korean – Lord, let me stay awake somehow) and giving a little hello address to the school. Where I will talk about being a bridge between cultures, and yadda yadda. Bizarre.