Monday, July 5, 2010

Cross your fingers...

Even though we have midterms this week (yikes), I spent the evening writing an essay for a scholarship to pay for my fall semester tuition. There are two organizations that offer language scholarships to adoptees, InKAS and GOAL. InKAS's scholarship pays 100% tuition, so that would be ideal. Apparently, the deadline is now and they'll announce the winners this week, so I'm running all my information over to their office tomorrow right after school.

GOAL's scholarship pays 50% tuition, but the deadline isn't until August 13th, so at least that application can wait until midterms are finito.

Geesh, I'm really hoping that one of these will come through for me. That would help us out in a massive way. Especially since we found out Mark will probably have to do ANOTHER visa run to secure a student visa for the next semester. (Stupidest rule ever to have to leave to country to get a visa, if you ask me.) Although, if he goes to Guam again, I'm stowing away in his suitcase if I have to. :)

So please say some prayers, cross your fingers for us, sprinkle fairy dust, do whatever you need to do so one of these scholarships works out.

Oh, and if anyone's interested... the essay I'm submitting is below....

Opening the Door to Korea

I’m a 29 year old Korean adoptee and at my wedding four years ago, besides marrying my husband, I met the man who gave me up for adoption over 20 years ago.

I suppose I should back up a bit. When I was two, my parents adopted me and I had a very happy life in the US. I knew very little about Korea or Korean culture, but never really felt like anything was missing. Then, in college, I received a mysterious letter written in Korean. It was from my Birth Father. He had been waiting years to be allowed to contact me and the minute he could, he sent a letter expressing the sorrow and guilt he felt for giving me up and wondering about my life now.

A few years later, on a whim, my Mom and I decided to send him an invitation to my wedding. And then we got a phone call informing us that he would be coming! Talk about some added stress to an already pressure-filled day! Fortunately, the reunion couldn’t have gone any better if it was scripted.

Our relationship continued through translators, until my husband and I decided to throw caution to the wind and move to Korea to really get to know the culture and my birth family. Our first year in Korea was pretty amazing. In addition to spending time with my Birth Father, I got to meet my 오빠 (who remained in Korea), and my Birth Mother.

However, being in Korea, it was like the door to understanding my country of birth was cracked open. Why wasn’t it fully ajar? As much as I could learn about the food, people, and holidays, as long as I didn’t know the language I would never truly understand Korea. Additionally, my Birth Father and Birth Mother cannot speak English, so before I began studying Korean, our relationship consisted of a lot of gestures, “밥을 먹어요?,” and silence. Standing there poking my nose in that slightly opened door to Korea has been incredibly frustrating to say the least.

So I decided I had to take the next step and learn Korean at Sogang University’s KLEC. I am in my first semester and working harder than I ever have in my life. But, seeing the look of elation in my family’s face when I can speak to them in Korean has made every second of studying worthwhile. In the few weeks I’ve spent studying Korean, I can already feel the door to Korea inching more and more open.

I hope to continue my studies until I can fluently communicate with my birth family. This will enable me to continue our relationship when I return back to the United States and to teach my future children so they can get to know their 할아버지, 한머니, and 외삼촌.

A scholarship from InKAS would be crucial in allowing me take time off work to study Korean. I look forward to the day I can confidently say that the door to Korea, its culture, the language, and my birth family is wide open to me.

Thank you for your consideration.


Julia said...

fingers crossed. and what a beautiful essay!

Jennelle said...

That's GREAT! I didn't know the back story about the letter in college... Just amazing. :) I hope you get the scholarship!!

Mom J. said...

"Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you."

Aunt Carol said...

What a beautiful essay, Kim -- and I was so delighted to know that you received some money! I have never mastered another language, so don't have any good advice for you, but I think Mark's idea of "opening your mouth" more frequently (at least in this context)is a wise one. You will improve and gain confidence as you speak! Blessings to you!