I borrowed a Korean name and password from the G.O.A.L. office so I could see the episode of “I miss that person,” (available on-line but only to those with Korean ID numbers) but I really didn’t care about how I looked or sounded anymore. (I spoke too slowly for the translator’s benefit and sound near dead! As I suspected, I was too focused on trying to stick to the outline questions, instead of just answering naturally. Oh well) I just wanted to get to the portion where the phone-in neighbor tells us my father’s name. I just wanted to hear what my family name was. My borrowed internet connection crapped out on me. Will have to try again.
And then today I hear they have spoken to a woman who says she is my Aunt. Strange to me is my own reaction to finding out there may have been contact with blood relatives. Was I excited about the possible eventuality of meeting them? No. Well, maybe. Apprehensive more like. All I could think was – What’s my name?
The real name thing is really interesting to me. I can’t wait to find out what that is/was. I wonder if I still exist on some Hojuk somewhere. Maybe I will change my name back to it when I find out what it is. I was ACTUALLY going to name myself unknown out of protest regarding having ones identity stripped from them, but then I decided to come move here and search for my history instead. I have had so many names over the years and none of them felt like me. This identity thing is so huge a person has to live in denial just to get through the day to day reminders of “this does not compute.” Yet still I balk. Crisis are things that happen to other people, not to me…This kind of self talk is how we survive, I am sure, but the cold truth is also there at every turn.
The other thing is, I have just lately – in this past three weeks here in Korea – managed to get a sense in my own head of what I look like. I know that sounds totally strange and ridiculous, but before when I thought of myself, I could not picture what I looked like. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m putting on some makeup every morning and forced to look in a mirror, (had to do that when I was at beauty school and this didn’t happen) or because I am seeing so many other Asian faces.
I am glad I came here if only for the above. I alternate from total culture shock and horror to this feeling of calm. But this feeling of calm is new, so I think it outshadows the cultural discomfort, and hopefully that will diminish over time.