Useless Thoughts Running Through My Head

various musings of a generation x kad

Archive for the ‘korean adoptees’ Category

My new haircut

Posted by thoughtful1 on September 23, 2007

A while back I was musing on “the Asian hair thing,” which, apparently gets this blog a lot of hits from search engines.  Strange, but true.

Anyway, last week I bit the bullet and ventured into Chinatown to get a haircut.

First thing I noticed, the extra cost was worth it – I got a free juice drink, a nice shampoo and head massage, and, as a very nice added bonus, they rinsed my hair after the first cut – no more itty bitty hair bits annoying the daylights out of me until my next shower.

As for the haircut itself… I think there was a slight communication problem, but I think it was more me not really knowing what I wanted to do, so I was babbling.  I was trying to explain I had wavy hair and what I did the last time.  I think that made it confusing for the hairdresser.  I should have just said that I have wavy hair, I would like a bob, and it’s OK to let the natural waviness show.  But I didn’t.  Instead she just did a bob, expressed surprise I had wavy hair (she didn’t see me before the shampoo), and blew me out.  Along the way she explained that I didn’t need conditioner.  Not sure how that will work once the hair gets longer, but OK… I’ll give it a try.

It was interesting watching her work.  They really do cut Asian hair differently.  For starters, she didn’t use scissors to do most of the cutting.  Instead, she used this razor thing like a knife to cut the hair.  And she may have sectioned the hair differently… That I couldn’t tell.  She didn’t use scissors until the end, when she was thinning out my hair, and no one has ever thinned out my hair before.  Finally, she was very thorough in blowing out my hair.  Instead of just taking the round brush and hairdryer and blowing, she put sections of my hair up again like she did when she cut it.  Then, she used the brush and dryer to straighten out the underlying layers.  As she finished each layer, she let down more hair.  So by the time she was done, my hair was pretty straight with it curving under at the ends.

I can’t say I was thrilled with it… Nor can I say I didn’t like it.  I just wasn’t used to it.  I think because she used a different technique my hair was laying differently, and I just wasn’t used to it.  For me, the jury was out.  But, I bumped into a friend on my way out, and he liked it.  Or, at least, he said he did… He’s a straight guy, so he might have just been saying that to be polite.  But, the female co-workers the next day really liked it, so I guess it went well 😉  And, now that it’s been several days since the cut, my hair is acting more like its old self, and I’m getting used to it.  I think it’s working out well.

It will be interesting to see how my hair acts as it grows out… If the waves come back, and how.  I think I will go back to the same place in two months or so.  I want to keep my hair on the shorter side for winter.  And, maybe if I’m brave enough, I’ll have the hairdresser do what she thinks would look best on my head.  But that could be a big maybe….

And, yes, I feel a little guilty for not going to my usual hairdresser.

(P.S.  The hairdresser asked if I was Chinese, which is usual.  I look Chinese.  She was shocked when I told her I’m Korean.  She also asked if it was my first time at the salon.  I said it was, and then I volunteered that it was my first time going to an Asian place.  I debated whether or not to tell her I was adopted.  I didn’t.. Don’t know why.  There wasn’t any particular reason.  I guess I just didn’t feel the need to.  And I think if I had, it would have been out of some urge to get pity or something….)

Posted in korean adoptees, my mundane life, race | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Coming out… !

Posted by thoughtful1 on July 24, 2007

A Birth Project has a clip that all transracial adoptees might like, and their a-parents should check it out, too.

Posted in adoption, international adoption, korean adoptees, korean adoption, race, transracial adoption | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

That Asian hair thing

Posted by thoughtful1 on July 8, 2007

Does having an Asian hairdresser cut your Asian hair really make a difference?

Several years ago I found out that some Korean adoptees went to Korean hairdressers because we have hair that’s different from white people.  I thought, “Bullshit.”  Seriously, I thought it was some lameass way for KADs to make themselves feel special.  However, I began noticing that some did have coarser, wiry hair.  So I thought, “OK, maybe there is such a thing as Asian hair, but my hair’s not like that.”

Then, last week I had lunch with the Asian co-workers.  For some reason, hair cuts came up.  Both of the co-workers went to a salon in Chinatown because of the “Asian hair thing.”  Yet, neither of them has what I would think was wiry, coarse, hard to manage hair.  But, since I was with two “real” Asians as opposed to the adopted “fake” Asians, I asked if it really did make a difference getting your hair cut by an Asian hairdresser.

Both of them said it did matter.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time to get more details on this.  But, the end result was that I spent the rest of the day paranoid that I had an inadequate haircut, and had been getting inadequate haircuts for 36 years.  I was back in junior high mode, fretting about my hair and whether I was a mega-dork.

I also started to wonder if I should try a haircut at this salon.  The problem, though, is that it’s more expensive than Supercuts 🙂  And, I’d feel guilty.  I’ve been going to the same woman for nearly 10 years.  I’d feel like I was betraying her by trying someone new.  Silly, I know, especially since I get my hair cut twice a year.  But us women develop a loyalty to our hairdressers, and I just wouldn’t feel right.

Posted in korean adoptees, race, silly thoughts | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

Sometimes it’s hard to enjoy a silly Korean soap

Posted by thoughtful1 on June 28, 2007

Last night I started watching an episode of My Lovely Samsoon.  It’s a Korean soap opera about an average looking 30 year-old who gets dumped on Christmas Eve.  She then proceeds to try to rebuild her love life while her younger, prettier, thinner sister gives her constructive criticism (because younger, prettier, thinner sisters can be annoying like that).  I had enjoyed the previous night’s episode and had begun to consider DVR-ing it.  But last night I stopped watching after 15 minutes.

Why?

Because it was showing me what I had lost when I was adopted.  When I went to Korea in 2004 I had a fun time, don’t get me wrong.  But when the plane was flying in to Incheon, I started tearing up.  I kept thinking, “This [Seoul/Korea] was supposed to be mine.  It was supposed to be my home.”  And, it is not.  Yes, I consider the US home.  But having a home doesn’t replace or make up for the one I lost.  Visiting Korea and seeing my native city just turned an abstraction into a reality.  I began to realize what I had lost.  And seeing a contemporary Korean soap opera began to depress me.  I don’t know why it happened last night – I’ve watched another contemporary Korean soap.  Maybe because the characters are in their 30’s instead of their 20’s, so I could identify with them more?  I don’t know.  I just started to feel sad.

Posted in adoption, korean adoptees, korean adoption, transracial adoption, TV | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Food for thought (Pun not intended.)

Posted by thoughtful1 on June 8, 2007

Read Harlow’s Monkey BiBimBap essay.

She describes the contradictions we face in our lives.  And, like me, she is angry at Korea for sending away so many of its children.

Posted in adoption, korean adoptees, transracial adoption | Leave a Comment »

Let’s talk about the non-adopted POC for a moment

Posted by thoughtful1 on May 4, 2007

Or, maybe the title should be “Let’s talk with the non-adopted POC for a moment.”

Here’s why:

I recently became acquainted with a UU group for People of Color. It is the only POC group I have ever been apart of, not including KAD (Korean adoptee) groups. I think sharing the same religion is what makes it easier for me to be part of this group. There’s something other than our non-whiteness holding us together. I find joining groups based solely on race makes me feel even more self-conscious and awkward about my identity. At least with UUs of Color there’s other stuff to talk about. And, many of them are also American, which also makes it easier for me to feel comfortable. They’re Westernized, like me!

However, I’ve been thinking that even though they are welcoming to adoptees, there is more they could learn. And I think they need to know more if they want transracial adoptees to feel comfortable approaching their birth communities. I think it would be helpful for them to know about things like loss, identity, and that our insecurity around our racial and ethnic identity may not be the same as theirs. I think many of the non-adopted POC think they have the same issues we have. While I cannot know exactly how another person is feeling, I suspect that it’s not quite the same. For starters, after spending the day in school with white kids I went home to… white people! I didn’t have Korean relatives who looked like me, or could tell me about Korea or Korean culture. Nothing. Inside, I am WASPy girl. Hell, some of my white friends have said I am whiter than they are. (I find this funny, not offensive, btw. They’re very good friends, and it’s kinda true…)

And, for loss, I think it’s important for that to be addressed. I’ve heard of things said to other adoptees that may (or may not) have triggered pain surrounding separation from the birth family. These things were said in jest, and said in friendship. I just think that the people saying them may not have realized the potential impact those words could have had on someone who’s adopted. I attended some sessions at UU General Assembly on transracial adoption. Mostly people talked about racism. The discussion touched on loss, but no one named it! No one said the word, “loss.” I found it surreal. After years in the KAD community listening to people talk about loss as well as race, I found it bizarre that in a discussion about transracial adoption no one was talking about loss. A few people did express feelings related to loss, but no one explicitly addressed. And I think some of the adoptees in the session needed to talk about it, or have it named for them to help them identify some of things they were feeling.

I think it’s necessary to bring this up with UUs of Color because our denomination has quite a few transracial adoptees, and I know from my own experience how hard it can be to join a group of Koreans/Asians. To make it easier for transracial adoptees approaching their birth communities, we need our various groups of UUs of Color to know about adoption issues, and how to be more welcoming to them and more sensitive to adoptees’ needs.

So, if you’re a transracial adoptee, or depending on your politics, a transracially adopted person, what would you want non-adopted people of your race/ethnicity to know about you and your adoption experience? What would help them help you feel welcome and comfortable among them? What have any of them done that’s been hurtful? (I know plenty of KADs have stories of what Koreans have done wrong!!)

What say you all?

Posted in korean adoptees, transracial adoption, unitarian, unitarian universalism, universalist | 1 Comment »

A white American raised by Asians

Posted by thoughtful1 on April 18, 2007

I thought the transracial adoptees out there would find this article interesting, especially the Asian adoptees. Daja Wangchuk Meston is the son of an American couple, but at the age of 6 his mother left him in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery where he lived until he was 16.

I think some of us can identify with some of the things he went through.

Posted in korean adoptees, transracial adoption | Leave a Comment »