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31 and other events

June 7, 2011

I’ve been 31 for 11 days now. It was a quiet, but lovely, birthday. We spent the day hanging around our neighborhood eating, shopping, and watching soccer. I found myself feeling a little depressed one or two days before, but it seemed normal, if different, than previous years. I couldn’t help but think about the circumstances of my birth. I was sad for a bit, and then I was able to enjoy the day.

One of my gifts was a wok and steamer. I am almost out of mandu!

* * * * *

This past weekend, we traveled to Des Moines, IA for Darien’s cousin’s wedding. They were married at the Temple for Performing Arts, which was a very cool masonic building in downtown Des Moines. We stayed at the Hotel Fort Des Moines, which was one block away from the venue. There were also a few good restaurants right next door. All told, Des Moines was lovely. Quiet, but not in the middle of nowhere, with stuff to do. A little hard to get to from New York, but it we are glad we went. One of the most surprising things was the Des Moines Art Center, which had absolutely beautiful architecture, and some wonderful exhibits.

We also saw Kung Fu Panda 2, in 2D. Very funny, thoroughly enjoyable. I was skeptical when I heard it would tell Po’s adoption story, but they did it very well, with sensitivity and humor. *SPOILER ALERT* The only thing I thought hit a wrong note was the very end. Practically every adoptee in a closed adoption has fantasies about his birth parents, and typically at least one of these fantasies involves reunion. The idea that Po’s parents are alive after everyone thought that all the pandas were killed may work for this story so they can make part three of the trilogy, but it annoyed me ever so slightly since reunion does not seem to be in my future. But I guess that’s why it’s a movie, and a panda is raised by a goose.

* * * * *

I have continued my reading frenzy, though I have moved on from my adoption books to books about pregnancy, birth and child-rearing. I guess it was a pretty normal trajectory. Reading about adoption led to thinking about what makes a family, which led to thinking about making my own family. Speaking of which, why is a couple not a family, if a small one?

One of my favorite adoption books so far was an anthology of adoption stories by people on all three points of the triangle called Family Wanted edited by Sara Holloway. The stories in this book cover a wide range of feelings from bursting enthusiasm to serious second thoughts. I felt much more understanding about the whole subject from many different angles after reading it. My doubts were made legit, and my warm fuzzies were indulged. Highly recommend.

* * * * *

Just one more week to go before my mom and I go on our grand adventure! I realized this fact yesterday, and went into a frenzy of preparation. Approximately 24 hours after this epiphany, I am practically packed. I need to pick up a few final small gifts, and do laundry, but I think I’m almost ready to go. I can hardly believe it. When I decided to go earlier this year, June seemed so far away, and now I’ve got my bags packed.

About a month ago, I received an additional update on my search that I neglected to make public. My birth father’s name is Suh, Kwang San, and my birth mother’s name is Choi, Young Hee. So it would seem that my Korean name, Suh, In Young, comes from my birth family, though I do not know who actually named me. My foster mother’s name is Choi, Man Sook, and she took care of 37 babies from 1976-1982. I was her 23rd foster child and I lived with her and her family from May 31, 1980 to February 13, 1981. So she took me in when I was three days old. I feel a little better knowing I was living with a family for nearly the entire time I lived in Korea.

On the tour, we will see/visit/do: the Blue House (Korean president’s residence), Gyeongbokgung Palace, Insadong, Eastern Social Welfare, Namdaemun market, Cheonggyecheon stream, tea ceremony, Sharon’s Home in Daejeon, Busan sightseeing, Busan orphanage, Tongdosa temple, Gyeongju tour (King’s tomb, Seokguram grotto, Bulguksa temple), make pottery, Korean language class in Daegu city, DMZ tour, cooking class, Nanta performance. I also hope to visit my birth place during one of our free times. The hospital has been torn down, but I would like to go there anyway and see what it looks like today. It is a jam-packed trip and I’m really looking forward to everything. I hope to have decent internet and the opportunity to update while I’m gone, but I will definitely be taking lots of pictures, even if they have to wait until I return.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mom permalink
    June 7, 2011 4:54 pm

    I am packed too. I am sure I have too much stuff, but I could not resist the cute little clothes and the fancy crayons and the bibs and pacifiers and … Still, my suitcase is far under the 50 lb limit, so I guess I am fine. I have never been packed so early for any trip. Ever. I guess it is the excitement. Looking forward to seeing you at JFK! What if we need to rest? I do not see that on the schedule.

  2. Julia Bates permalink
    June 11, 2011 7:16 am

    Resting? Probably not going to happen until you get back!! If you have a tiny piece of time, I would recommend the historic village that was set up for tourists. Gives a great picture of Korean life hundreds of years ago. Or you may just have to go back at some point. Make sure you get the beautiful peace stamp in your passport when you go to the DMZ!! SK has such dreams of a peaceful reunion with NK!

    Have a great trip. I really look forward to the pictures!!

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