My husband recently came home obsessed with another woman.
He explained that she looked similar to me and had the same mannerisms. Every move I made was followed by a “Do you realize how Korean you are?”
This from the man who has lived with me for the last 17 years. He knows everything about me. And I feel at times we’re truly one person. But that day, he viewed me as a different person. He had made a discovery.
That week, during his work trip, he had met a Korean American woman. He said he felt he had seen my twin. While she certainly did not have a Southern drawl, she did have my fastidiousness. And he felt her mannerisms mirrored mine.
This seemed to intrigue and disturb him all at once. I think he felt he knew everything about me: my upbringing in Tennessee, my Puerto Rican roots, my lack of interest in my biological background. But now, he had seen glimpses of my Korean heritage. Glimpses he felt I knew nothing about.
Sure, I do not know that much about Korea. But recently, my friends have been educating me on all things Asian. It has been a journey, but a personal one. All this time, I realized that I hadn’t shared my discoveries with him.
Once again, there is a reminder that I am not completely sure of who I am. I do know myself as a Korean-adopted Tennerican, but I do not know myself as a Korean.
I recently watched my first episode of the television program, Glee. In it, a young teen, raised by adoptive fathers finds her birth mother and longs for a relationship. The birth mother seems to sum up my quandary and says, “I’m your mother, not your Mom.”
Korea is my mother but not my Mom.