The Words of the Hokanson Family

Living in Korea

Kim Hokanson
August, 1999

Iím 14 years old and Iíve been in Korea for two years. I love to write. I express a lot of my heart through writing. But out of everything Iíve written, Iíve shown almost none of it to anyone else. And now Iím asked to write for you my feelings about Korea.

I think Korea is one of the best things that happened to me. In Korea, I feel safe. I can feel so much love here. Iím not saying I donít feel love at home, but being in Korea helped me to understand and appreciate that love more.

Korea. Korea is a place I love. I know someday Iím going to have to leave. When that day comes I donít want to feel sad. I want to be satisfied with what Iíve done. Of course Iím going to want to look back and remember my time in Korea as happy, happy, joy, joy. But I know itís not going to be like that. Because hard times come too. Sometimes things get so hard I just want to throw it all away. But every time Iíve felt like that, something has happened to give me hope and helped me grow a little more. I know Iím not ready to go back to America yet. This dorm isnít a camp where they lecture and punish you. Itís a garden. We are the flowers and our teachersí love and guidance, and our love towards one another, is the sun. We can take all this in and grow, or give it up and let the weeds take over.

In America, I attended a private Catholic school, where I never really received a lot of bad influence. Even though I did some not-so-heavenly things, Catholic school offered a certain kind of protective environment, which could be considered a good thing; but I never learned anything from it. I never really knew how bad the world was until I came to Korea. I learned it from other people who had really been through it. I donít mean we should get messed up or anything; that would just ruin a part of our life. But we need to learn about just whatís out there. Otherwise weíll never know what weíre fighting against. We need to be able really to understand whatís going on. I didnít understand and I think thatís why I did the things I did do. If I knew more I might have been able to avoid it.

Of course I struggle a lot here in Korea. Itís never been easy. But every struggle I have, I learn something and I grow more. I could never do it on my own. The love here is so...AWESOME! You canít understand until youíve felt it. Iíll never regret coming to Korea and deciding to continue my education here. I wish you all a wonderful life.

Reprinted from Sun Hwa Times.

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