The Box

Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

Staring out at the rain pouring down onto the sidewalk beside the airport exit, I thought one thing. This is foreign territory. Just moments before, I had found myself facing down a horde of about 60 squealing EXO (a Kpop idol group) fangirls. This was my first impression of Korea. Reeling with shock, I labeled this event in my head as something that "Did Not Fit" in my carefully kept box titled "My Identity." Everything was neatly organized and filed away in my metaphorical box. I quietly played the flute in concert band. Check. I maintained steady good grades, and always completed work on time. Check. I knew a little Korean, but not enough to alienate me from my American friends. Check. This version of myself was all that I had ever known – and I had no desire to venture outside the box. However, now that I had moved, I had no choice. I had officially gone rogue.

Although a South Korean citizen, I had never visited my mother country in all my 16 years of living in America. I was now permanently living here. I ached for Seattle in a way that I felt nobody could understand. I vowed to never call my new apartment home. I realized just how much I didn't fit in either country. As a full-blooded Korean, I look as if I should speak...

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