I immigrated from Seoul to St. Louis at the age of 4 in 1982. My first language was Korean and I slowly learned my third language, English. I quickly learned my second language, baseball.
Staggering through the front door, the soft touch of my bed fills my mind. Six straight hours of classes had turned my brain into soup, threatening to drip out of my ears if my blankets didn’t cover them first.
My mother was born in Korea and immigrated to the United States when she was in sixth grade. You think being the new kid in middle school is hard?
It’s been six years since that sunny February afternoon in San Diego where I had my last conversation with my dad. That Starbucks table outside on Main Street across from Tacos El Gordo where we just had lunch together before driving to LAX for the flight back to Seoul. Filled with awkward silences, we gazed at the cars headed toward I-5.
The trailer reminded me of our own family’s time of owning a dry cleaners on the Northside of Chicago, 1981-82, a brief time due to the fact it was my mother’s attempt at finding another income generation but proved to be too much to sustain. It was envisioned that my mother and halmuni could operate it during the morning and daytime, but with my assistance after school as the translator and intake help.
At 10 pm, we changed into our clothes again. Mom and Dad told me to stay home, but I liked going with them. We got into a car, and after 30-40 minutes of driving, we arrived at one office building.