This time of year always reminds me of the Easter I got to spend with my little brother while he was here studying in the States. During that weekend four years ago, I did a Q+A with him about his time in the US, our family reunion, and everything in between. We’ve decided to revisit that interview here on the blog this week. Enjoy!
The following is reproduced from Whitney’s personal blog.
i got to see my little brother over Easter weekend for the first time since he left TN last fall. perhaps more importantly, i also got to introduce him to my American family for the first time…ever! we met up at mom & dad’s house in OH and even had an extended family gathering so that he could meet all of the aunts, uncles, and cousins. rather than listening to me blab on about it, i decided to let him tell you about the experience…
in his own words…
it’s been a year and a half since we met and you’ve been in America for 9 months now. your life is so different from 1.5 years ago!
Before, I never imagined I could study English in the U.S. Now I’m talking with my sister in English. It’s a little crazy. I never could have imagined. I had seen your parents and your house via Skype, but now I am here. I feel it is so surreal. Before, I wasn’t interested in America, but now I want to live here forever.
what is your favorite part about America?
People. Americans are more kind, more outgoing, more open-minded. Also…food!
I love eating pizza, cheeseburgers, macaroni & cheese, cupcakes, root beer…
we decided you would come to meet my family about a month before Easter break.
were you nervous?
I worried about feeling awkward because it was our first meeting. I was worried about communication problems and cultural differences.
what did you do to prepare before coming?
I met my American friends for English conversation practice. I asked my friends about American culture and I bought some gifts for my American parents.
so now you are actually here. how is it?
Everything is different from how I imagined it. When I met your parents for the first time in the airport, I felt so comfortable, as if I was meeting my Korean family. Even though we have some problems in conversation, I don’t feel so shy and they really try to understand what I am saying. It’s good. When I talk to my family in English, I don’t need to be shy because they are my family. My first night here, I couldn’t sleep because I was really enjoying the feeling of being in the house with my family.
what has been your favorite part about the trip?
Family. When I am at school alone, I feel like a stranger in America. At first, I didn’t know anybody so I was so lonely. But when I came here, I just felt like I was at home.
what was your favorite activity this weekend?
Just eating breakfast together. At school, I have to eat my breakfast alone. I have nobody to say good morning to. But every morning this weekend, mom was preparing breakfast and dad was reading the newspaper and my sister was coming to my room to yell at me to wake up.
how was meeting all of the extended family?
It was awesome. They welcomed me and they said they were so pleased to meet me and had been waiting for my arrival. They were really excited to meet me. Conversation was OK. I didn’t need to worry.
what sort of differences do you notice between Korean homes & American homes?
I don’t need to eat kimchi every morning! Before, I never thought rice was a heavy food, but now I can understand that it is really heavy. Also…dogs in the house! In Korea, we can’t have pets in the home. I want to bring them with me when I leave!
anything else to add?
- I will really miss here & my family & pets too when I have to leave. I’ll be back soon!
- Now I feel so special in the world because nobody else has 2 families – 1 in their country, 1 in another country. I was so shy about my story so I couldn’t tell anyone — it wasn’t comfortable. But now I’m so proud of my families and my name, Nate, which means gift of God. When I was in language school, nobody else had a name with any meaning.
- I like Skyping with my Korean family while I am with my American family.
It feels so rich, not in money, just in love of family.
- I want to find another family — #3! It would be so fun.
- Since coming to America, I have met some adopted friends who couldn’t find their family in Korea so I want to work for them after a few years if I have some chance. I hope they can find their family. It should be nice and you couldn’t imagine that before you find your family.
- I am the happiest person. Thanks to God! And tomorrow for the first time I can go to church with my family. God must be really happy to see our family all gathered together.
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