Susan S Lee


Susan S Lee




Rowland Heights


Full-time Student

Own Words

I never knew there was a site like this till now. I was flipping through the channels and saw a documentary titled "I am Korean American" on Arirang TV. As I watched the show, I noticed how many Korean-Americans have the same morals and values that were taught to them and how our parents want us to be lawyers, doctors and etc. It made me think how I, too, am Korean-American and how I live my life as a Korean-American.

My dad and mom came to the US from Korea to live the American Dream and have their kids live a better life than they had lived. So my older sister and I were born here. Both of my parents were not educated, and from what they remember, they did not even complete elementary school. Having no education, my dad was a carpenter and my mom was a housemom.

When I was 7 years old my dad past away from drunk driving. Growing up, I remember how my dad would come home either drunk or constantly smoking. Things became different after my dad passed away. My mom had to get a job to support my sister and I, so she got a job as a cook at a Korean BBQ buffet. My sister and I had to kind of grow up. Well, I felt that I had to grow up.... My mom would work long nights so my sister and I would help out by cleaning the house, doing the dishes, and other house chores.

I remember when I was younger my mother walked me to school everyday, but after the accident I had to walk myself to school. Just like most Korean parents, my mom made me play some kind of instrument (for me, it was the piano), attend art school and after-school tutoring. I also attended Korean School every Saturday. When I went to Korean school, I did not understand why I had to learn Korean, so I did not take it seriously. Every time I went to Korean school I felt very left out, like I was not Korean enough that I had very few friends.

When I started Junior High, I got interested in participating in Pageantry/ Drill/ Dance Team. Because we had Drill team competitions every Saturday, I had to skip Korean school. I was in the drill team for 2 years.

Then high school came around and my mom was strict on me and telling me to do IB, take honors/AP classes. I took the IB test and failed it on purpose because I did not want to do it. My mom got very upset and thought I was dumb. I was very hurt, but kept thinking that I had to prove myself to her. When I was a Junior, my mom took me to SAT school because she wanted me to do well and attend a really good UC. When I finally took the SATs and did not put much effort taking the test, my mom enrolled me to take SAT II English and Math classes and well, but I did not take the SAT II tests because I did not want to go to a UC.

My mom always compared me to my sister because my sister went to a high school where you have to take a test and pass to attend that school. While my sister had lots of Korean friends in high school and at UCSB, I had many non-Korean cheer friends as a cheerleader in high school. My mom did not like the fact that I did not have many any Korean friends, she would always ask me why I didn't have any Korean friends? (I will answer this question later... )

In high school, I was involved in many extracurricular activities like ASB and Student Body. My mom did not like the fact that I was focused more on dancing, cheering and singing. She thought it was a waste of time, and that I couldn't be successful doing those kinds of things. I also remember her asking what I wanted to be in the future...and would say how she wished I would be a Pharmacist or a Veterinarian (I loved animals ever since I was like 4).

Now that I graduated from high school and am going to attend Cal Poly Pomona, I realize how I wished I would have taken the SATs seriously and go to a UC where I could have made Korean friends and actually learn Korean better since not going to Korean school has made me feel less Korean, as I am not fluent in Korean and do not have Korean friends (which is not to say that I do not mind having other ethnic friends, it's just that I feel like it would be nice to be close to someone who is Korean and be able to relate in some ways).

I am currently majoring in Kinesiology and Health Promotion so that I can become a Physician's Assistant. I currently have a boyfriend who is half Viet and half Taiwanese. (I do not really see myself with a Korean guy).

I am truly thankful to be Korean-American... I LOVE Korean Food and Korea shows, music, and fashion. I just love our culture... but I still feel more American than Korean.

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