Deep Connections in Korea

Hi Harvey,

I am back from Korea.

The trip had three foci. The first was the RC focus, organizing five Korean RCers visiting Korea from the States to get together and build deeper relationships among ourselves. With any extra time and resource, I planned to reach out to Jean Jung and three Korean nationals I had learned about from the former Information Coordinator for Korean-Heritage People. The second focus was to find a language class. The third was to meet as many relatives as possible.

The RC part went well. Our first Sunday together, Molly Bidol, Hyosung Bidol, JeeYeun Lee, and I told life stories and split forty minutes each. On the following Monday, MeeMee Julie Lahman and a friend from her program, Kim Jones, joined us. We ran this group in a support group fashion.

From that point on, MeeMee and Kim would be absorbed by their program and unable to join us for the rest of the next few weeks’ stay. I suggested that over the next period of time, Molly, Hyosung, JeeYeun, and I figure out session times and minis.

For the second part, I got one-on-one tutoring in Korean two hours a day for six days. My teachers had great attention! Before the trip I had also done work on tackling Korean and was using sessions and mini-sessions well. It was wonderful to hear Korean everywhere, read subway signs, and talk in my “baby” Korean.

For the third part, after a day and a half immersed in good RC connections and discharge time, I headed out to meet relatives for the first time. My attention for them and their generosity towards me overturned my fears. They were supportive of my learning Korean rather than critical of my lack of fluency.

I got to meet thirty or forty relatives, mostly cousins and second cousins. I made deep connections with about eight. These eight asked lots of questions about my life in the United States, including whether I was married and whether I would stay longer next time. I talked about RC to four of these folks, who were receptive. Four cousins are figuring out how to visit the States.

My dream is to return the next two summers for a month or two to learn the language and continue building relationships. In the future, I look toward staying six months or a year in order to teach fundamentals and grow leadership, maybe with any interested Korean RCers in the States or in Korea.

Thanks for all of your good words and encouragement.

Kyoungho Koh
Information Coordinator for People of Korean Heritage
Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, USA

Last modified: 2015-07-21 17:32:42+00