December 6, 2013

I haven’t blogged about this much, or really ever because it’s something so personal to me I don’t really like to share with you know…the whole internet. Mostly, I’m afraid to open myself to other people’s opinions on my story and I am not sure if I’m really ready for that…But this year has been such a journey of personal discovery for me that I can’t imagine not writing at least something about it.

The basics: I am Korean. I’m adopted. I was adopted when I was an infant. I was raised by a Caucasian family. I never really knew other Asian people until this year! I’ve always felt a little bit like I don’t belong. Like I’m ashamed that I’m different. Ashamed that my eyelids don’t have folds like the rest of my family members and loved ones. I don’t identify as Asian. I would say I mostly identify as Caucasian, but I’m starting to feel like I just need to make up my own thing. I don’t know if I can ever feel Korean, but I mean, I might be able to feel Katie. Not sure if “Katie” can be a race though 😉 I mean, I’ve never met a Katie that wasn’t cool though…haha.

So anyway, I lived 25 and a half years without ever having Korean food. I didn’t even have Chinese food (which I mean, is pretty much American food anyway if we’re being honest) until I was 11!! Crazy, right? Like I said before, I grew up believing I was pretty much white. Not even white…but a unadventurous white person (food wise, at least) who ate mostly American comfort food. Partly that was due to the fact that my parents really love American style comfort foods. But it was also largely due to the fact that I didn’t want to do anything that would make me different from them. That changed this year when my friend Jen couldn’t believe I hadn’t had Korean food and took me out to lunch one afternoon for it. I won’t lie…it was a little weird, not like I was trying the food from my own culture, but more like if I was trying Ethiopian food or German food for the first time. I felt…detached.

But I ate it. And I ate it a few more times after that. To my shock and surprise, I actually like Korean food. If I had tried it when I was younger, I bet I would have hated it. I would have said it and believed it in my heart. I’m a stubborn person, so I never wanted to even admit a little bit of me was different from my family and enjoying Korean food would mean that I was not like them. Is that a rational thing to think? No, not really. But our hearts don’t go based off of what’s rational, they just feel.

Recently I have noticed myself start to crave korean food. Kimchee in particular. You’d never think that something as simple as having a hankering for pickled cabbage would stir up so many emotions, but it has. Thinking about it makes me tear up because it’s not just the fact that I’m craving cabbage that smells really bad. It’s the fact that I’ve grown enough to be willing to be different from my family and be okay with that. That I can allow a little part of myself to be Korean and be proud of it. That there’s something Korean that brings me joy

Even though it might seem silly to other people, the fact that I have a hankering for this stuff is a pretty huge milestone in my life! I still have a long way to go on my journey, but one thing is for sure…I’m making progress:)

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Anyway…I know this story has absolutely NOTHING to do with photography, my business, or really anything and it may not even be interesting or relevant to most who come across it…but I have made so many friends through my business and I just wanted to share this little chapter with those people:) I promise to return to regularly scheduled programming on Monday!!

Leave a Comment

  1. Kim says:

    I HATED Filipino food until just a couple of years ago, and actually I will still only eat a few things. I always identify with being Caucasian too, and I say that I always forget that I’m Asian until I look in the mirror and see that I am brown. 🙂

  2. Love. All. Of. This. You are on an incredible journey. I feel so lucky to be able to see you evolving and growing into an even more “awesome” Katie.. And that could totally be a race! Lol

  3. Sabrina says:

    I love that you shared this!! We are so interested in adopting one day (not any time soon!) so hearing from you, as an adult, about pieces of your journey are fascinating to me. Thanks for sharing and being open, Katie 🙂

  4. Oh, girl. You have ALWAYS been, and continue to move forward to be, the best “Katie.” Sharing something like this is so brave, and I hope you are proud of your “Katie”-ness! xoxoxoxo

  5. Jill Powers says:

    Katie!! This isn’t silly at all and I love that you shared this! I got teary reading it and I’m so excited to see how you grow on this journey! Keep sharing!! 🙂 xoxo

  6. Natalie says:

    This year has been so incredibly powerful for you and I can’t wait to see where this path of self discovery leads! So proud of you!

  7. Katie Yuen says:

    Love this Katie!! I’m half Chinese and my relationship with the Chinese part of me was rocky until I was a teenager really. I got made fun of in school for being Chinese (and I didn’t even look that different?!) When I got to college, half of my suitemates were asian and most of my initial friends were asian and I actually felt like I didn’t belong BECAUSE my eyelids were different from theirs. Love to see you sharing your story! Change is good, especially when it involves yummy food! You should try Dim Sum- the best chinese food there is!

  8. Although the idea of Kimchee grosses me out LOL, I’m proud of you and SO happy that you are realizing that being KATIE is all you ever have to be, whatever shape or form she takes as you learn more about who you are and who you want to be. This is an awesome post love!

  9. Jen Jar says:

    I am so proud of all the new things you tried this year! Don’t ever feel like anything you share is silly!!! Love you!!!

  10. Kimmie says:

    Love this! You’re so bold & I think it’s important to be vulnerable, not only so other people know you better but also so you know that you aren’t alone in this process.

  11. Janelle C says:

    I loved hearing your story!!! You are such an inspiration and I hope to meet you one day! 🙂

  12. Annamarie says:

    This is beautiful, Katie!!! So proud of you! xo

  13. Lindsay says:

    Katie, you should go to Mona’s in Newport News- that’s where I get my Korean food fix 🙂 Japchae is my favorite!

  14. John says:

    Katie, great story. Personal discovery is an awesome thing. I can relate to the “Caucasian comfort foods” thing, I’d never eaten Chinese food until I left home and joined the Army. I’m as Caucasian as they come, but after 41 years, I’ve had a bit of time to refine my palate. I was recently introduced to Pho, and now I crave it from time to time, maybe I’ve got some undiscovered Vietnamese blood in my family tree. Oh and try the bulgogi, that’s my favorite Korean dish.

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