I came here when I was 6 months old. Granted, I’m still a Korean citizen, I find myself to be the perfect mixture of both Korean AND American.
I grew up in a home where we only spoke Korean and I was forced to attend Korean school EVERY Saturday from 9am-12pm. I hated it. I would cuss my mom out in my head every Saturday morning and drag myself out of bed.
It wasn’t until in my early 20′s when I started to feel grateful and appreciative of my parents pushing me to go to Korean school. Because of my childhood education, I am still able to read, write and speak Korean. It’s not proficient enough for me to get any acting/hosting gigs for Korea, but enough to be able to converse with adults and not looks like an idiot.
Being Korean American is special to me, especially since the recent phenomenon of Psy, Kpop and Koreans in this country. I believe that Koreans are very special and not because I’m Korean, but because we have traditions and mannerisms that can be universally understood.
Koreans are very respectful, intelligent, modern, sophisticated, talented, savvy, the list goes one. And to be a part of the ethnicity, makes me proud.
Although I pick and choose the culture I want to associate with at times, most of my decisions come from being a mixed breed of Korean and American.
For example, when dating, I tend to follow my Korean culture. Hence the reason why all my exers have been Korean. I enjoy being taken care of, I don’t want to have to pay for a meal or worry about paying dutch. Even though my bf now is American and he doesn’t fall into the category of “men who allow women to pay for meals”, I find that men who are raised in the Western culture are prone to let this behavior exist.
But when it comes to my independence, I follow my American roots. I don’t believe in being a subservient girlfriend/wife. I don’t want to be co-dependent on my partner and answer to all his desires and needs like a slave. I believe that when a man is hungry, I do not have to run to the kitchen to prepare him food, especially if he expects it. I would only do it because I want to, not because he
ordered told me to. If he is hungry, he is fully capable of walking his legs to the kitchen and using his hands to make himself something to eat.
My tolerance for respect lies in between. I give respect to elders, family and close friends. On the other hand, I don’t expect people younger than me to give me respect like I do to the elders especially when we’re just a few years apart. I feel like I’m forcing a 언니, 누나 relationship. I don’t expect anyone to call me either of those unless I’ve played that role in their life. And I think is preposterous when I see the younger Korean generation who can’t even speak Korean expecting that kind of respect from their peers. They need to be cultured.
There are so many things that make Koreans unique and even though some mannerism of the Western culture baffle me, I’m relieved to be a part of it. My behavioral characteristics and outlook have only stemmed from being a breed of both.