World Adoption Day

Because this may be an easier option for some…


It’s Monday, November 9, 2015 and as it turns out, it’s World Adoption Day. Thank you Instagram Trending Tags – how did I not know this was happening?!

While I’ve posted a number of times on a few of my other blogs (which have since been deleted), I apologize for failing to write anything in regards to my adoption here on Book Three. It’s not that it’s not important or anything; I just don’t make it a major part of my normal day-to-day. Here’s the thing – over the past few days, due to some conversations I’ve been having (more on this in a few minutes) I’ve actually been thinking about it more and more.

How fitting, right?

A Little Bit of A Korean Backstory

I was born in Seoul. Right from birth, I grew up with a foster family but was adopted when I was just 3 months old. As it turns out, I was adopted due to my birth father dying sometime between my conception and my birth. I guess he worked in a metal shop or something and died from lymphatic cancer, or so the story goes. For me, I have to believe this story 100%. My mother, now single, had to make the difficult decision to give me up for adoption. With the cultural stigma single mothers in Korea face, there was no better alternative. She knew we both would have a better life with this decision no matter how hard it may have been. In my particular situation, and as a father of two boys, I can’t even fathom how difficult of a decision it was.

Here’s an interesting NPR story on the matter:

A pretty complex issue, right? For something that seems so mainstream to one yet grounds for cultural expulsion to another, it’s hard to say yea or nay to something like this, especially in being the perceived bastard adopted outsider that I am. Nevertheless, and as the story goes, I left Seoul and flew into SeaTac Airport on, November 14, 1983.

Nana holds Xavier for the first time

While this isn’t my mom holding me for the very first time, I can imagine it’s very similar to what it looked like. This, by the way is Xavier.

My mom and dad, brother and two sisters picked me up just as if Mr. Stork from Dumbo had dropped me off to a beautiful family ready to meet their newest member. And while I’m no special case or story, it has been my family today, that has shaped my own views on adoption the most. From the talks after elementary school after being called ‘flat-face’ to that episode in high school where I wasn’t quite sure who or what I was, they’ve always been there.

My Korean Host Family

One of the best experiences of my life was when my parents let me go to Korea for a summer to live with a host family. I was at a stage in my life where I felt a huge need to experience my birth county in an all-encompassing and immersive experience. So for about 6 weeks between my Junior and Senior years in high school (about 14 years ago), I lived in the northern area of Seoul with the Kim family who showed me a Korean lifestyle I had only dreamed of. I visited a Korean school, hung out with friends, went camping, had weeks of home-cooked Korean food (which, by the way is amazing), went to the movies, discovered Korean ‘hip-hop’ style and just about fell instantly love with a place I knew so little about. It was a Korean adoptee’s romanticism of a life lost at birth.

It took me a few years, but I realized that was all it was. A romanticized affair with something that wasn’t me, at least any longer. Dating Andrea about 6 months later also helped me through it all. I mean we ended up getting married and having two kids.

Recently, my cousin, Grace, who also happens to be Korean, introduced me to KakaoTalk. It’s essentially a mobile messaging app popular with many Koreans both in country as well as abroad. While we’ve had a few chats here and there, I’ve also been using it to chat with my old host family from years ago. While our conversations are few and far between, as it turns out, I’ve learned that my host sister, 경화, is getting married in a month! Holy crap!

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경화 is getting married!

Although a trip to the wedding couldn’t be had, I’ve told Andrea that sometime in the next few years, we need to go to Korea. We’re just waiting until Lex is old enough to appreciate at least a little bit of the experience.

Enough About Me, It’s #WorldAdoptionDay

So I found this trending topic in Instagram this morning and decided I needed to join in on the action. With the mixed bag of positive AND negative editorials and articles about adoption I’ve been discovering, I thought it’ be fun to join in on the conversation. Although I have nothing to add but a few of my own thoughts and stories, the best thing YOU can do is just read up celebrate the idea of family no matter who you are. Also, thanks to some posts I’ve found, I stumbled across www.kindredadoption.org. It’s an organization that helps adoptees and families of adoptees reunite, learn and discover more about their culture. Maybe I’ll even volunteer… that is if I can figure out anything I can volunteer of myself.

 

After reading this post a few times, I’ve realized that there is no real point. I guess I just needed to write stuff down today. I promise more poignant and structured posts later.

Why I Left Facebook

Yesterday, I made the hard decision to leave Facebook, indefinitely. I might go back in a year or two. I might go back next week, but right now, at this point in my life, I can’t have it be a part of my day-to-day.

The Straw That Broke the Camel’s Back

Left

It started with this news headline. It’s some Kim Kardashian headline, this time talking about the fact that she went out in public with shower sandals or something of the nature.

This is not that big of a deal, I get that. However, I have taken it upon myself to actively engage in my news feed telling the Facebook machine when I don’t want to see something, what topics I don’t want to see, what ads I don’t want to see, etc. I would guess that I’ve blocked, removed or unfollowed at least 5-10 ‘things’ every day over the last 5 months. Still, I feel like I haven’t even made a dent.

My friend James said that he ignores the news feeds. I wholeheartedly agree! I ignore headlines probably 80% of time. However, the newsfeed really only makes up about 10% of my reason to leave Facebook. It was the straw the broke the camel’s back so to speak. Needless to say, it was a very small straw.

Facebook’s Constant Content

So what was the other 90%? It’s you.

Actually, it’s not really you at all, it’s the community and mindset that Facebook, over the years, has created. Back in the day, when Andrea first showed me Facebook when she was a Freshman at WWU, it was about interacting with people and friends you went to class with. You could input your class schedule, could meet up with friends, chat, etc. It was really a communication portal built for a specific purpose. As it grew, so did it’s capabilities. Your ‘Wall’ started becoming other people’s wall, and we all started to agree that seeing a feed of everyone else’s day-to-day was a lot more interesting than what we were doing.

Apps became a bigger thing and soon we started getting invites to play games, join communities, become fans of our favorite TV shows, bands, etc. Brands started to unravel the power of content on Facebook and soon we were seeing targeted ads conjoined to our friend’s feeds, funny articles liked by acquaintances and political rants posted by everyone and their dog, literally.

DogDon’t get me wrong. Content is amazing. Content has turned adults today into every day learners passionate about the weird and quirky things they’re all equally passionate about; interested in the funny and laugh-out-loud posts or photos from around the web, and diligent with having their opinion heard when it’s something that’s serious. Facebook has done a great job in creating millions of these empowered communities. For that, I’m a bit frustrated in my decision.

…and This is Where it Starts to Get Personal

So why am I leaving? Primarily, it is for my own sanity. I can’t put my thumb on it, but it’s the fact that I’m living vicariously through people I shouldn’t be; everyone but me. Looking at and reading other people’s adventures or misadventures; comparing myself to them. And people, for all I know, comparing themselves to me! Why would you ever do that?

Last week,  I read an awesome article on why people under 35 are unhappy. It’s a piece that looks at the difference in generations, derived expectations and how we’ve essentially been telling ourselves we’re special and unique. Is this a bad thing? Yeah, kinda!

If we continue to tell ourselves that we’re special, the moments when the realization is that we aren’t (let’s say like 90% of the time), feel like losses, even though they may be delusional. In return, our minds begin shifting priorities… “how can I get there?” “what should I be doing differently?” As a husband and dad of two crazy dudes, I can’t have that kind of instability right now.

I’m not saying Facebook adds instability. I’m just admitting the fact that I’m not impervious to Facebook content having some kind of impact on my life. So while I might sound like I’m blaming Facebook for this whole thing, it’s really me. Sorry, me.

Life After Facebook

Driving home after work last night, it felt like I had just broken someone’s heart. Honestly. Maybe not like a boyfriend or girlfriend type breakup, but someone who was always looking at you for insight or at least a smile. It bugged me quite a bit actually, and I found myself asking…

Will my friends think that I don’t care about them now?

Don’t feel like that.

Although I’m not coming right out and saying “It’s not you, it’s me,” … actually yes, that is what I’m saying. Just as I had mentioned in that last Facebook post, I’ll still be there. I’ll be on messenger, chatting it up. I’ll be checking out events, and you can still tag me in pictures or posts or whatever.

I haven’t walked off the face of this earth without some kind of idea of what to do next. I’ll still be active. You can checkout my profiles (including Facebook) on the site here. I’m not sure how much I’ll be on them, but I’ll be around.

See ya!

A Harry Potter Adventure Awaits

A couple weeks ago, Andrea had informed me that J.K. Rowling was writing or at least was going to write another book for the Harry Potter series. Coming from the biggest Harry Potter fan that you or I will ever know*, I knew this was some pretty epic news. 1 minute later, after realizing that the new book was actually going to be a live-action play, her excitement turned to frustration knowing that we couldn’t possibly make a trip out to London just for a few stage shows.

IMG_1249In my head – I wasn’t going to let a small little ocean disrupt Andrea’s good time.

On Wednesday afternoon, after seeing that a some of the show tickets had gone up for sale for a select few, I was determined to try and get in on the action. With general public tickets available Friday morning at 4am PST, I had set my alarm and was ready to rock.

Andrea the Harry Potter Fan

So why all the hassle?

Let me tell you how big of a fan Andrea was is. While the two of us started dating back in 2001, it was 2003 where I got to understand Andrea’s love for the four-eyed wizard. Book 5 was coming out and every day during the summer when we’d hang out, she’d read Harry Potter. Come to find out, her rule of thumb whenever a new book was being released:

  1. Read all the books in chronological order slowly and methodically.
  2. Read all the books in chronological order quickly to prepare for the release party.
  3. Read the new book in time to finish the day after the release party.
  4. Repeat step 1, but add the newest book for good measure.

Yeah, she’d read the entire series 3x during the summer on book release years and usually 2x on non-release years. Plus, she was fast! When I asked her how long it took to read book 1, she said she usually did it in about 2 hours. She, of course read that book the most.

When it came down to her obsession, it was all a matter of her love for reading but also the timing of when the books were originally published. They were her escape mechanisms, her entry ways into a world more fantastical and more thrilling. Knowing that, I knew I couldn’t sway that kind of passion. I could only be apart of it.

Harry Potter became the catalyst for my proposal. Maybe one day if I’m feeling up to it, I’ll share the fanfic I wrote 9 years ago. 😛 but don’t hold your breath.

The movies turned into date nights, and the books eventually turned into home artifacts, available to read any hour of any day. And while the physical obsession may have subsidded over the years with a new life and family, I knew her internal obsession hadn’t.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Tickets

According to social media, tickets were getting hard to come by. Waking up for the 4am launch, I knew I’d probably have to sit around for an hour or so before I could even figure out what tickets were available, let alone, left.

At 3:45, I accessed the site from my phone. Went out on the computer and accessed it there as well. Maybe I could increase my chances the more screens I had open. Come 4 o’clock, I was in.

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My phone said there were over 10k people ahead of me. Damnit. The laptop, 8. 8 people, WTF? As soon as I saw the 8, the screen had clicked into the store page and I was rolling.

I was careful to be quick enough to ensure I wasn’t timing out at any point, but slow enough to ensure I could get a somewhat managable show to go to. In the span of about 10 minutes, I found our show, found our tickets, paid, and was done. We were going to go to London, and while I originally wanted to wait to tell Andrea later on, like maybe Christmas, I ended up telling her right than and there.

Do you want to go to London next fall?” I asked.

Okay

… hmm, well that didn’t go as planned. “I got tickets to the Harry Potter show!

Okay

Damnit! All that for just an “Okay?” I need to go back to sleep.

Upon waking up 2 hours later, I had mentioned that I thought she would’ve been a bit more excited about the news from last night. Clueless as to what I was talking about, I asked her again about London and about going to the Harry Potter show.

She then proceeded to flip the fuck out.

 

* Disclaimer: I’m am not kidding about Andrea’s fandom. I seriously offer up Andrea’s wit to anyone else’s in the realm of Harry Potter anything.

So what should we do in London next year? We’ve got a year to plan it all out!

Finding Time to Blog

Blogging is hard.

I’m not going to lie, finding time to write about stuff while I’m not being paid to do it is almost impossible. With a full time job and 2 kids, one of which is a miniature Godzilla, the only time I can usually find to write is when my head should be firmly pressed against my pillow. We’re talking about some high quality time here people.

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Blogging as a Hobby

I often find myself at a loss for words when someone asks me what my hobbies are. You know, you’re meeting some friends of a friend and you’re at a bar and someone’s like “So what do you like to do outside of work?” Ugh… My go to hobby usually includes music, you know, like listening to music. No actually, I’ll say music with the intention that the person knows or can figure out that I like to play the piano. The thing is I touch the piano today just about as much as I touch a fresh kale salad. I’m sorry, but I do not have an ongoing moonlighting piano gig every Thursday night. Although I have to admit, that sounds awesome to me right now. Honestly though, beyond music, it’s pretty much just me being a dad, and of course, work. Those aren’t hobbies. So I have to ask myself, “do I need to find a hobby?”

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