Facebook is a weird place, right? Awhile back, someone “recommended” that I friend a woman named Christina Seong, whom I’ve never met. So, I did. A few weeks later, I hear this “pop” and it’s Christina FB chatting me, saying:
“hi kevin. i’m christina. i actually forget who suggests we be fb friends. but hello ;)”
The next thing I know, “since I know her so well,” I’m asking her for an interview, and I find out all of this interesting stuff about her. Apparently she has actually visited the Fargo/Moorhead area rather than hear about it in the news or see portions of it in a Cohen Brothers’ movie, has curated an adoptee art exhibit, and is currently a graduate student at the University of Washington in human centered design and engineering…
Land of Gazillion Adoptees: You attended the most recent AAAW event. What were the highlights for you and what are mini gatherings important?
Christina: One of the main highlights for me was the opportunity to meet some of the most amazing and passionate people within the Asian Adoptee Community. I’ve attended Gatherings in the past (in Korea), but this past weekend I felt very blessed to be around such wonderful people.
Often times we’re in our own bubble and normal lives, so when you’re able to get out of that comfort zone and meet new people it’s a nice change of pace. And when you get to meet other Asian adoptees, it makes it that much more meaningful. There’s a sense of connection right away.
And towards the end of the weekend you can see all these new friendships and connections on Facebook. Soon you have 20+ new friends! Sorry if I’m gushing. I think I still am on my weekend high from all of the weekend events.
I also think it was great to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of AAAW. And everyone getting together to celebrate what we, as a community, have become. I know I have told many friends about the Gatherings and Mini-Gatherings I’ve attended, and some find it very interesting and others get a little jealous they don’t have something like this as well.
Land of Gazillion Adoptees: You’re totally gushing… You read a poem at the event. Would you mind talking about the piece?
Christina: So I was asked to perform some poetry for the Welcome Reception. I actually never considered myself a writer/port. I would do it on occasion, but very sporadically. Truth be told, I was very nervous. I knew I was reading with Lee Herrick and Kevin Minh Allen, so I was a bit intimidated to be reading with such great writers. I also don’t perform poems that often. So I think my nerves were getting the best of me when I was trying to write some poems for Thursday’s event.
I actually read four pieces, but the one you’re talking about was called What If. Everyone has what if’s in life about the past, present and future. Over the past year, I’ve dealt with a lot of loss and grief with my (adoptive) mom passing away. So the inspiration of the piece came from examining the what if’s, especially to Korea and my birth family. And ultimately considering what it would be like to reach out to a family I’ve never met.
Since we all have what if’s in life, I hoped that the piece could resonate on some level with the guests at the Mini. I have several friends who have met their birth families and continue some sort of relationship with them. For me, I’ve always been so hesitant to do a search for fear of getting rejected (again). But you never know, maybe I will be ready and set aside my what if’s and try to live in the moment.
Land of Gazillion Adoptees: How many MN adoptees do you know and are we really good looking or super crazy?
Christina: I know some MN adoptees, including one who has now moved here to Seattle. But the ones I have met and spent time with are great people. I actually almost moved to MN, Duluth MN to be exact when I was 11 or 12. I was told at the time that there were a lot of Korean adoptees in MN. But I don’t know if that included Duluth as well. Haha!
But I think you are all very good looking and maybe a little crazy. But really, when did a little crazy hurt anyone? Ehh? 😀
Land of Gazillion Adoptees: Never! Thanks, Christina! And to you, dear reader, I would encourage you to go check out Christina’s website (www.seesong.com), which is full of stuff that displays her hipster cred. (Am I too old to say hipster cred? Totally… *sigh*)
By Christina Song
A mind can be consumed
With a maze of what if’s
Winding down endless paths
That lead to fantastical hopes
And possible disappointments
My whole life
Pondering the What ifs
Of a Different place
A different world
A different me
What if this?
What if that?
Creating scenarios of what if’s
Instead of why’s
What if Columbus went the other direction?
What if the chicken didn’t cross the road?
What if I wasn’t adopted?
What if stayed in Korea?
What if my mom didn’t get brain cancer?
What if my whole life were different
Than it is now?
I often think of Korea
Of the place
Of the people
Of the family I’ve never met
Each time I return I
Walk through the streets
Staring at familiar features
What if they are looking for me?
What if they are related to me?
A cousin? A sister? A mother?
What if I were a long lost princess that lived in a palace and my life was in danger and I had to be sent away to be safe and the royal family is looking for me and then one day some cute Korean guy comes to me telling me I’m a princess.
What if that’s actually the plot to a Korean drama….
But still, what if?
What if I get to meet my birth family
Welcoming me with open arms
Sharing memories and stories
Exchanging photos of the old
What if it’s lovely?
What if they’re cold?
Awkward in their stance
Distant in their gaze
What if they hate me?
What if I’m disappointment
And I’m not what they wanted?
I could get lost in a
Sea of what if’s
Drowning in altered realities
Wanting to change
Events of the past
And moments in the future
We all have what if’s in life
Regrets of what has happened
Hopes of what will happen
One can never be certain of any what if
What if I’m not ready for all these what if’s?