- Kimberly – Royal Fortress Meadow
- Kimbo – friends and family started calling me that when I was in middle school, maybe younger.
- Kimdolion – My best friend was naming a game monster after me and wanted to combine Kimbo with lion with because of my thick mane but mistyped Kimbo with a D, thus was born Kimdolion
III. Country(ies) of Origin and Residence:
- USA and S.Korea
IV. States/Regions Lived/Visited in the United States:
- Lived: OH and MA;
- Visited: CA, NY, FL, PA, KY, IN, IL, VT, NH, ME, RI, TX, and CT.
V. Languages Spoken:
- English fluently and dabbled in Korean, Spanish, and French
VI. Favorite Dish:
- Almost any Korean dish, highest on the list might be Soontobu Jigae (Silkie Tofu Soup)
VII. Favorite Phrase/Slang:
- “You do you!”
VIII. Favorite Quote:
- “Some people are like shit. They just stink and when they touch you, then you smell like shit too.” – My mom
IX. Favorite Song/Artist:
- Revolution by The Used; pretty much anything by The Used, Bad Rabbits, Marina and the Diamonds, and Disney are easily my go to jams.
X. Three words to describe each of the following:
USA: opportunistic, self-indulgent, greatest?
YOUR “OTHER” COUNTRY: motivated, respect, patriarchal
YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THE UNITED STATES: lucky, frustrating, enlightening
HOME: mom, food, loving
XI. Which cultures do you represent?
- Korean and African American
XII. Where do people assume/guess you are from?
- Samoa, Mexico, Cape Verde, Native American tribes, and any other “exotic” place they can think of.
XIII. What is the most "creative" way (positive or negative) someone has expressed themselves to you with regard to your cultures?
- A white person in Ohio, “ARE YOU FULL BLOODED CHEROKEE?!”
XIV. What are the biggest differences between your cultures?
- I think both societies have a high regard for elders but I definitely feel it much more strongly in Korean culture than my American side if I’m reflecting on the cultures. Within my family, elders were respected no matter what culture they came from.
XV. What are the biggest similarities between your cultures?
- The desire to improve one’s position. “The American Dream” doesn’t quite feel so American as just a fact of human life. That being said, I feel that there may be more people taking the initiative and working hard towards the opportunities when they are presented.
XVI. Share your experience/observations returning to your country after living in the U.S.:
- I traveled all over S.Korea and felt incredibly peaceful even when I visited the cities. The cities were bristling with activity and celebration of a variety of skills that would easily lend themselves to pop stardom. There was a profound sense of history as I walked around, especially whenever I would see the giant towering gates that so frequently denote the Asian areas of major cities.
XVII. Share your experience/observations returning to the U.S. after travelling/living abroad:
- The US seems to take a lot of effort in maintaining privacy of all things, especially the bathroom, which I did not really sense in other countries, particularly China. I also became much more appreciative of the diversity in the US where I am not as much of an exotic attraction although the extra attention outside of the US does not always feel as judgmental. I also cannot ignore the simple fact that the sheer size of many Americans can make up two or more people in other countries.
XVIII. Share your experience/observations traveling to different regions within the USA:
- I often feel some degree of shame whenever I reflect on my hometown given its rather homogenous demographics and the seeming lack of initiative towards self-improvement that I perceived amongst my high school classmates. Having visited major cities that stand in stark comparison with my suburban, arguably rural, hometown, has made me appreciate nature and the freedom I had to truly run around in the dirt as a kid. Moving to MA has allowed me to converse with people on a completely different intellectual level with respect to issues of gender, race, and sexuality that I do not think I would have achieved back in my hometown. People seem to be far more progressive and self-aware in the city I now call home than my actual hometown. I think I also feel more at home and more comfortable particularly in the dating scene as I would like to believe that there’s less risk of encountering people who suffer from jungle/yellow fever.
XIX. How do you define patriot/patriotism?
- The immense pride one has for various aspects of their country.
XX. What does it mean to be an “American”?
- White nuclear family with a working dad and stay at home mom. For me, it is to be successful, for other countries it is to be an ignorant (fat) jerk who polices others.
XXI. How would elders in your "other" country define an “American”?
- White people.
XXII. How would the youth in your "other" country define an “American”?
- (Fat) white people, maybe black people.
XXIII. What “American” qualities/traits do you most admire?
- Americans’ resiliency, desire to fight for what’s right, and our ability to create the most devastatingly delicious and unhealthy foods. The last trait really speaks to our creativity while also making me worry about our increasingly bad health problems and lack of truly affordable/universal health care to support those problems.
XXIV. What “American” qualities/traits do you least admire?
- Everything I admire can also be used for unsavory pursuits that make being an American less than ideal. We can be gluttons and woefully forgetful of our incredibly dark past that continues to influence many major institutions in our society.
XXV. What makes a country exceptional?
- Their respect and the way they uphold human rights in terms of race, gender, sexuality, and religion.
XXVI. When you watch international competitions like the Olympics or the World Cup, who do you root for?
- If I catch the Olympics, then I am fairly neutral and just appreciate the efforts of the athletes. If I am actively watching, then the US, S. Korea, and usually a country from the Black Diaspora.
XXVII. In which countries have you eaten McDonalds or Starbucks?
- China, S.Korea, Germany, France, and Italy. S.Korea provided the more interesting options as they seemed to try to assimilate the food to their own tastes.
XXVIII. Favorite country/place you have visited or lived or want to visit/live? And why?
- I’ve loved every country I’ve visited and have difficulty picking a favorite since each offered so much unique history, art, and culture. I think visiting Asian countries was the best because I’m submerged in a completely different world with respect to language.
XXIX. Share a significant memory (or memories) involving both/all of your cultures.
- In 3rd grade, I remember some kids teasing me saying that I had Chinese eyes. I was offended not because they were saying I had weird eyes, but because I knew I was Korean. I will also never forget any moment where a person stares me down hard before finally asking, “What are you?” As if I was an alien that just landed.
XXX. How has living in the United States impacted/influenced you?
- It has made me incredibly appreciative of the many cultures that often make contact with each other. We are becoming increasingly multi-racial and showing greater sensitivity and respect to the many cultures that truly represent Americans. That being said, there is so much room for growth with how we value human life of Americans and non-Americans.