the ‘melting pot’

Personal Posts

*Reader Discretion Advised: vent post – unstructured garble that is a literary representation of my current thought stream*

I really hated primary school. Interestingly enough, this realisation has only arrived over the last year or so – it’s always been masked by the clichéd, rose-tinted view of childhood that most of us seem to have. But in reality, primary school was not fun for me. To be really generic, the reason behind this was that I just ‘didn’t fit in’ with any of the groups that populated our school – primarily because I was (and still am) a NZ-born-and-bred Korean.

Even at the age of 5, I remember being embarrassed to open my lunchbox (filled with mostly Korean side-dishes) in front of other kids – this led to many days when I’d come home with uneaten lunches. I remember hating having to go to Korean school because everyone spoke fluently and laughed at my broken syllables (fortunately this only lasted a year, as my consistent whining wore down my parents). I remember being infuriated by boys who I’d probably topped in reading and writing consistently – they’d run after me pulling slant eyed faces and yelling maths questions at me. At the time, I didn’t understand why it made me so upset but I knew it was something bad.

Maybe I would have been happier if my parents if had just raised me in Korea. At least there I would have fit in. Here, I often feel isolated and misunderstood. By the time I got to high school, if friends asked me “what the hell” that rice mixture in my lunch was, I’d wave them off and say “it’s a Korean thing”. It was too much effort to try and make them understand. To make them understand that I ate Korean food in my home but also spoke fluent english. To make them understand that I liked Maths but I also like English. To make them understand at all what it felt like to be two things at once and neither of them at all, simultaneously.

I tried to make it easier for myself. Whether this was subconscious or not I’m still not sure but basically, I made myself more ‘white’ (which says something awful about our society in itself). I pretended to hate maths. I began to insist on packing my own lunch. I distanced myself from the ‘asians’ and began to proudly insist that I am a ‘banana’ (although I’m still not quite sure how one defines who is and who isn’t one). But it really hasn’t changed much. Last week someone yelled “F*** OFF ZIPPERHEAD” at me out a car window as they drove past. A friend said in a conversation recently that it’s quite surprising that I “didn’t sound Asian – in a good way”. And still, very few understand what it could possibly be like, having to act as an interpreter for your parents from the age of 10.

But, this is part of who I was, am and will continue to be. I like to believe that this makes me unique in some way, irreplaceable, memorable. I am proud to be Korean. I am also proud to be Kiwi. But I am not proud of how unaccepting those two groups have shown themselves to be. New Zealand proudly calls itself a ‘melting pot’ of cultures when it’s really a bunch of separated groups of cultures that happen to live in close proximity to each other. As for Koreans – well they have a longstanding tradition of prejudice and exclusion.

I’m definitely not the most optimistic person but I’m also (nearly) definitely not the most pessimistic. So, here’s to hoping to a slightly better future. And to all the little ‘me’s out there – head up, chin high and work so hard that nobody can deny you what you deserve.


P.S. partially inspired by a far more interesting and uplifting post here

Title: Stars. Assignment 2: Room With A View

Writing 101 2014

I could feel the weight of each one as they slowly fell from my chin. The tears wet my bare knees, exposed by the fraying hemline of my skirt. They trickled slowly down over my knees, a frustrating race between equally slow opponents. The finish line was marked by the surface of the cushiony red carpet on top which I was kneeling. Unfortunately the carpet only covered a quarter of the small room, further out it abruptly became threadbare and grey. Maybe some previous owner gave up halfway through the re-carpeting in the hopes of some future owner finishing the job. Apparently he was only superseded by people of equal laziness. The dull emotionless grey carried up the walls in the form of the scratched paint – interrupted only by a cheaply framed abstract painting of a red square and an equally scratched door in the far wall. Locked from the outside, of course. At that thought, I didn’t feel any particular emotion but my chest began to heave, possibly at the terrifyingly overwhelming apathy. My knees were soon coated in a small blanket of salty water. The bed next to me, adorned with wrinkled navy sheets, seemed to be much more comfortable place to continue my emotionless catharsis. I crawled up the side, the undersides of my knees revealing the angry pink teeth marks of the carpet. I clutched the weathered bedside stand for support and the rickety lamp on top, sans the lampshade, rattled in protest. Something else inside rattled as well. I wasn’t aware of my hand moving to the handle, the drawer seemed to open of its own accord. Removing the two items inside and finishing my monumental climb to the top of the bed, I sat for a few seconds. The silence was only broken by the regular gasping sobs emanating from my throat, reflecting infinitely off the dull walls. Unscrewing the tops of the bottles in my hand, I spilled the contents onto the sheets. White stars spill out onto the dark, wrinkled sky – perfect, circular, small, whole. My own stars. The plastic orange vessels lay discarded, now empty, on the grey floor. The night sky looked perfect for a few seconds more. Then, I began to gather the stars in my hands.

mid-life crisis (at the ripe old age of 16)

Personal Posts, Writing 101 2014

So, the titular problem here: I’m in a bit of a crisis. Although I’m only 16 and nowhere near middle-aged, this dilemma seems to, in all aspects, have all the characteristics of a ‘mid-life crisis’. The issue is – I’m not quite sure if I want do what I want to do. Sounds weird, right? The problem is that I’ve had my ‘heart’ set on studying mechanical engineering at university, but lately I’ve begun to doubt my decision.

Before I continue with this story, small disclaimer: do not start characterising me as the classic nerdy teen who wants to become one of the following: doctor, lawyer, engineer. I genuinely think made this decision because of my interest in physics, which is what makes this crisis all the more ‘crisis-y’.

So, I had an appointment with the school careers counsellor the other day and it went something along the lines of this. I walked in, we said hi, I sat down, she asked me what I wanted to do and I answered ‘mechanical engineering at one of these three universities’. Pretty much as soon as those words left my mouth and became the public knowledge of god knows who was in the area, the regret sank in. I have no idea why I would regret saying that – my career choice had never really been a secret, I like physics, I’d spent a very long time coming to this decision – so what the hell was wrong? *breathes after very long sentence*

After a slightly panicked careers appointment (myself being the panicked component whilst the counsellor very calmly told me about the undergraduate programmes at Sydney University) and a very long conversation in physics class – I came to a conclusion. I regret not having explored any other options. I regret that I never considered getting an English degree, even though that may be a one way road to unemployment. I regret that I never considered something that made me really passionate and angry rather than just ‘happy’.

You, reading this, will be saying to yourself ‘What’s the big deal? You’re still in high school, there’s plenty of time to make changes’. It’s not that I have made up my made and I’ve got another plan – I’ve just ended at this place of indecisive frustration and anxiety. I have these overwhelming regrets of not having made other inquiries but I don’t have the urge to jump at the chance of studying journalism. The only thing I know for sure is that engineering is something that seems like a relatively happy prospect for myself and I’m a hell of a lot more sure about this than anything else.

Well, if you’ve made it to this point, I commend your tenacity – making it through the angsty musings of a teenage girl is no small feat. Seeing as you made it this far, feel free to impart any words of wisdom in the comments.



About, Personal Posts

Basic Info
Name: Soo
Age: 16

I guess the reason that I’m here is because I’ve always been one for fresh starts – but I’ve never been great at finishing what I’ve started. Being a veteran of many-an-abandoned-blog, I figured it was about time that I started anew. At this point in my routine, I usually begin to speculate how long it will take for the deadening drought of updates to arrive – but I’d like this to be different.

But this isn’t going to be me trying to start over, just to do exactly what I did before. I’m picking up where I left off. Hence, the title (no, I was not talking about the pastries – although I can predict that food discussion will be a major part of this blog).

In the past, I’ve always started any type of personal blog for the same reason – to document my experiences. This can probably be related back to some kind of deeply embedded need to romanticise the past – I expect that my subconscious has noted the future benefits of this blog to that end. And although it might not be entirely exciting, witty or intelligent for the lonely and rare internet wanderers who come across this – I’m hoping for some personal satisfaction. Not to mention, I’m getting some writing practice out of this (added bonus!).

So, here’s to this: to the last few steps of high school, to “maturing and becoming an adult” (whatever the hell that means), to (hopefully) not saying anything rash/stupid/offensive/overly personal on the internet and to whatever else that can come out of this.