12.28.2005

FROM KOREA WITH LOVE

I spent Christmas at my sister Missy's place in South Florida. Here is a picture of my sister and me.


Do you see the family resemblance? People say we look like twins!

My sister was born in Pusan, South Korea. My parents adopted her when she was two years old. I was five. I went with my parents to the pick her up at the airport when she came over from Korea. Years later, when my teacher asked me where babies came from, I said “Terminal 7. But they have to go through customs first."

Missy spent the first two years of her life sleeping on a bamboo mat in an orphanage. Her Korean name was Hyun Sil Hahn, which means "Get me the fuck out of here!" Actually, in Korean they say the last name first, so it's really Hahn Hyun Sil, or "The Fuck out of here, get me!"

When my parents adopted my sister they changed her name to Missy, because it sounded kind of Asian but not too Asian. But we grew up in a Jewish neighborhood, so everybody thought her name was Mitzi.

Mitzi McKinley - The Irish Catholic South Korean Jew.

When we were growing up I didn't want the other kids to know that I was adopted. So I told everybody that Missy was really a foreign exchange student who just refused to go home.

My sister was the only Asian kid in our school, and the other kids used to be really mean to her and tease her a lot. Of course, I defended her. Because that's what Americans do when South Koreans are under attack.

Far be in from me to violate U.S. foreign policy. That would be unpatriotic.

4 Comments:

At 12/29/2005 11:47:00 AM, Blogger claudia said...

There may not be a family resemblance but there's a family dentist who should be mighty proud!

 
At 9/07/2006 01:11:00 AM, Anonymous Scout said...

Wow I didn't know missy the blogger was your sister!

 
At 4/02/2008 08:59:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hyun Sil..What the name really means is: "exceptionally smart and wise (hyun)" and "practical and highly achieving or accomplishihg" (sil)"
There must be a real reason why the birth mother had to give up on her. It was almost impossible for a single mother to raise any kid in even a decade ago. How do I know? Been there, and done that...
Not as a mother, but as a girl who was given up by my birth mother.
It is good for her to have such a loving brother like you and seemingly wonderful family.
I wish Hyun Sil visited her country someday. Pusan is a very beautiful city.
A girl from South Korea.

 
At 4/02/2008 12:18:00 PM, Blogger Will McKinley said...

Thank you for your very nice comment. I hope some day to take my sister and her three daughters to see Pusan!

 

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