My First Memory
I never remember not having adopted siblings. When I was 4 years old my parents adopted a little girl from Korea called Jung Jung Ae. This was in 1974. They had to drive from Utah to San Francisco to pick her up and decided it would be nice to take me along.
I only have little memories of this day, like little episodes of a dream that you can’t quite piece together. One of these memories is of my sister when we were leaving the parking area from the airport. She was terrified and screaming. The parking attendant was Oriental and asked why the child was crying. My Mom explained it to her. The woman said she was Korean and then spoke rather harshly to my sister. My a sister immediately stopped the screaming and crying. To this day no one knows what was said, but it seemed to be enough and honestly I can imagine how terrified my sister was of us that day. Then we are in a restaurant, my Mom had ordered spaghetti for her and she wanted to eat the spaghetti with straws. She had never seen a fork and knife and thought the straws were our version of chopsticks. The banana is the last little memory. She had never seen one and wanted to eat it without peeling it. When we got back to Utah she had never seen a bed. She didn’t want to sleep in it. She made her bed on the floor and I joined her. For months the two of us slept on the floor. This I remember well and I thought it was a great adventure.
I have many times set this first memory of mine as the beginning of my adventures and somehow the beginning of my expat adventures. It was the first step in preparation of understanding other cultures and being able to adapt. I always say this big crazy family has made me who I am. I don’t remember a life without adopted siblings and it was only other people who made me realize that this family of mine was different. It was my normal from my first memory on.