Thursday, March 1, 2012

10 Things About My Love Affair with Asia

I wanted to learn French and be an interpreter in Europe. I had no desire to learn anything about Asia until I was about 17.

A Vietnamese boy fell in love with me but since I wasn't too interested he became my friend. He chased me for a year and even got a job at the same place that I did.

I was at a redneck high school and the closest friend I had stopped hanging out with me once she met my grandparents because "I was too rich". ( I wasn't ) So I hung out with the boy who had a crush on me more and more. We bonded because we both had strict parents.

We finally dated. We had a sweet, innocent relationship. I wanted to live a better life and go to BYU. I also kept it innocent because I overheard him say "American girls are for fun, Asian girls are for marriage." That hurt my feelings.

I was introduced to Japanese culture through a friend. I fell madly in love. Local boys no longer mattered. I wanted to go to Japan and BYUH was a stepping stone to my goal.

I met an obstacle in a boy from Laos. I really cared about him even more so when I found out he was an inactive LDS member. His name was still on the church record. My ambition was stronger than my relationship and I went to BYUH.

To save up money,  I got a job at a sushi bar and studied Japanese daily. I babysat the owners kids on the weekends and we would watch Sailor Moon together.

At BYUH I met the most fascinating man. He was tall, dark and handsome. I later found out he was from Korea. I never cared for Korean but I fell madly in love and the Korean ways naturally influenced me namely the food. We both loved to travel and to shop. I thought he was perfect. He would later break a huge part of my heart.

I got married twice in Hawaii.

I studied Mandarin and Japanese at BYU Hawaii campus.

I finally went to Korea through the ISEP program at Yonsei University. I also taught English on the side.

I finally made it to Japan but was sad most of the time. My husband was not so perfect. He was neglectful and dishonest and hid a lot of secrets from me. The only thing I got out of the relationship was an intimate knowledge of Korean culture and the love of Korean food. Japanese culture  no longer mattered.

The entire time I was in Asia I was followed around like a celebrity. I wanted privacy so badly but kids would chase me singing "American! American! " people would talk about my big butt and my big nose and always ask to take my picture. Some days I would hide somewhere and cry.

I now realize that my obsession was dangerous and got me into trouble. No matter how I tried to assimilate into Asian culture, I would always be reminded that I was born with blue eyes and a big white nose. I realized that all cultures are flawed because they were made by man and not God. When I went to the temple two years ago, I felt like I found myself again. I still love Asian culture but I am a daughter of God first.

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