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Category Archives: self-reflecting

2014 retrospective.

December 31, 2014   

I’ve written nothing here in over two years. The last time was when I was pregnant with K, before we had any inkling what his name would be. J was a touch under 3. It was a different life.

My brain is so full of things I want to cover in the gap, mostly photos and memories of my beautiful, amazing sons. My blog is full of early memories of J and tell nothing of K’s early years but that’s because our lives have been so full, not because anything about having K has been any less wondrous than our experience with J. I intend to go back and do 3 month retrospectives on the kids.

But let’s just do one thing at a time. For now, it’s just a 2014 review.

Professionally, the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014 was the most painful, stressful, heart-achingly agonizing time I’ve ever experienced. It ended the best era of my professional life thus far. I walked away. Because I had to. For my own sanity.

My little one turned one early in the year. He is a natural wonder, a tornado, cheerful bulldozer that I love to my every fiber.

My big one turned five late in the year. He is kind, generous, and inventive beyond any possible imaginings I’d ever had about how he’d be.

My husband, my rock, my love is strong, resilient, and focused. He’s been through so much but he’s pushing through. He’s been the most patient dad and the most giving spouse this past year. Every year, he grows and becomes an even better version of himself.

This year, we went to Hawaii and to Baja with two different sets of friends. Vacations are so much better when the kids have other friends to play with.

I end the year a bit on a low. I have a cold so I’m not 100% and I could always use more sleep. I’m uncharacteristically feeling bad physical self-esteem.

Next year is going to be a lot of firsts. We’ll ship our first product. We’ll get our first customer and earn our first dollar. We’ll hopefully hire our first employee.

A part of me thinks, or we’ll shut down our first startup. Normal me wouldn’t say that out loud but sick, down me will admit it publicly.

The great thing about 2014 is that everyone in our family stayed healthy! I would love for 2015 to bring continued robust health to all our family. I’d love to see old friends from Philly. I’d love to see family. I’d love to visit a new place we’ve never been. I’d love to get funded.

Resolutions? Lose 15 lbs and maintain through the end of 2015. Make our first dollar in Q1. Go one new place with family.

Not too aggressive but real goals.

The waiting

October 11, 2009   

Just a week and a half ago, I was nervous and wishing the baby would arrive late, because I felt panicked and worried about, well, everything.

In the last week, I’ve come to a place of readiness and waiting (as has Seppo), which has turned to impatience to meet the little guy! Almost every night, I experience what feels like really low-intensity regular contractions about 10-20 minutes apart, which convinces me that I’m in early labor, only to have those contractions go away by morning.

We had two non-stress tests (NST) and amniotic fluid scans last week, and everything seems to be better than fine, so there is no rush to get him out of there. I know this, but this doesn’t stop my impatience! πŸ˜€ I have another regular doctor’s appointment on Tuesday and another NST on Wednesday.

I think he knows we don’t have a name yet and is waiting for us to make up our minds. Heh.

I was really stressed out during the middle to the end of this week because it turned out that the insurance company had the wrong identifying info for me. I hadn’t known I could contact our outsourced HR administrator to resolve the problem for me, so I spent several days on the phone trying to get things worked out. It was stressful because the insurance company representative stated some extremely alarming things regarding my coverage (or lack thereof, in their eyes). With Seppo’s assistance and a follow-up by our HR administrator, the issue got straightened out, but it was a stress point that I didn’t want to have to deal with. I wish the insurance company rep hadn’t been so alarming in his statements, which threw me into a panic and an embarrassing breakdown/crying jag.

I really don’t enjoy feeling/looking weak in front of others, especially strangers, especially in a business setting. I hated that it happened that way, but it is hard to discount the role of an overwhelming amount of hormones coursing through the system, as well as all the normal stresses involved with getting ready for a baby.

I’ve been napping on and off throughout the last few days. I haven’t been sleeping well because of the contractions — both the physical feelings of mild contractions and the mental awareness that they are happening — but I think I’ve also been extra tired. I’ve pretty much had the phone going straight to voicemail.

My mom is coming on Tuesday, late at night. When we booked the tickets, I assumed that we’d be home with the baby by then, and Seppo could slip out to pick her up, but now I wonder if the baby will even be born by then. Who knows, really. He’ll arrive when he wants to arrive. He’s not listening to his mom even now; can you imagine when he’s a teenager? :p

We had a cleaning crew come to do a thorough cleaning before the baby comes. They came on Saturday and did an amazing job. I can’t believe how fast and thoroughly they worked. This really helped us get the last bits of organization for the baby done, so we can focus on the big picture instead of worrying about small details. It’s such a load off my mind.

I’m still writing the thank you notes (and looking up people’s addresses) from the baby shower, but at the rate I’m going, I’ll be including pictures of the baby with the thank you notes! πŸ˜€ Well, not if the little guy refuses to come out. :p

We’ve been filling our evenings and weekends with a combination of trying to get ready for the baby and going out to do random things that will be harder to do when the baby is here, like eating out or even going to Best Buy. It’s hard not to think, “This will be our last outing before the baby, surely,” only to have the days keep passing.

Dear baby,

You might as well come out already. We have prepared a good home for you and we are ready to love you. Well, we already love you, but we want to both be able to hold you and look into your face and find out what you are thinking. I can’t speak for your dad, but I’m not too excited about the changing diapers part, but I’ll do it because I love you. πŸ˜€ We’ll show you all sorts of exciting and new things. The world has so much to offer. You’ll get to meet all sorts of wonderful people, like grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and little friends (most of them are bigger than you, but some will be coming after you). It’ll be much better than being inside. I wouldn’t lie to you!


My gift to my son

October 6, 2009   

I wrote last week about parents wishing to provide for their kids what it was that they themselves wanted to have as kids. I posited that for me, perhaps it was ready & early access to books/learning, or maybe it was the freedom to be determine your own path.

But as I sit here, restless yet tired, I think I know what it is that I’m giving to my son.

I’m giving him the best father that I can imagine: Seppo.

No more calls for a while

October 5, 2009   

I just wanted to let people know that I won’t be answering my phone for a little bit, along the lines of several days. No, the baby is not here, and no, I’m not in labor. I’m not on my way to the hospital or anything.

I just realized that I have a decent number of calls I need to make this week still and it is sort of a lot of work to spend a lot of time being “on-call” to my phone, and what I’d like right now is to be able to take a good nap during the day without worrying that I’m going to miss a call.

So feel free to send me email, leave a facebook message, tweet at me, or leave a comment here, but I’d really dig it if calls were kept down to a minimum. I’m just trying to stay sane. πŸ™‚ And don’t be mad if I don’t return your email/message/tweet/etc. for a little while. πŸ˜€

Don’t worry; you’ll definitely know when the baby gets here. πŸ˜€ Thanks!

Nesting, Nagging, and Nurture Shock

October 4, 2009   

Note: I might as well write this out rather than having it sit around in draft/ghost form, even if I don’t get to go in depth.

I guess this post is brought to you by the letter N. πŸ˜€ To be clear, the three topics have very little to do with each other (at least not directly, just vaguely in terms of my current state of thought), and are not meant to present one coherent thesis.

Nesting. I keep hearing about the nesting instinct and how it kicks in as the due date arrives. I wonder though how much of the last minute frenzy of preparation is just the normal reaction to any sort of deadline, versus a specific & distinct biological reaction to a baby coming. It’s kind of fruitless to try to determine any sort of breakdown though, because the end result is last minute prep anyway.

As for me, I’ve been so sleepy this past week that I’ve barely gotten anything done. I’ve done my best to ensure all the bills are up to date and that I’m calling and arranging things that I can from a resting position, but even a short jaunt out with Mobi or to the store leaves me in need of hours of sleep/rest afterward. There are several hours a day when I feel really great! Middle of the day and about an hour or two after meals are two distinct times that I feel like I’m totally fine and can do a lot more. πŸ™‚

Nagging. I don’t remember why I was thinking about nagging. It probably has to do with some late night thought about how I want to interact with our pending child, how I interact with my own mom, and why sometimes this communication goes completely awry, even when both parties have the best intentions. To the best of my ability, this is what I believe happens during what is commonly perceived as “nagging”:

Nagger’s thoughts: I don’t know why I have to remind them again. I told them before. I can’t even tell if they are listening/paying attention. Is this getting through? Did they just forget? How many times do I have to repeat myself before it sticks? How many times do I have to repeat myself before they “hear” it? I am so tired of repeating myself! They should know better!

Naggee’s (yes, I know this is not a word) thoughts: I don’t know why they are telling me again. They already said this a million times. Do they just like to repeat themselves? I already know this and I will do/not do as they say, because I’ve made up my own mind. Maybe if I ignore them, they will see that I have no interest in hearing them repeat themselves and they will stop. They are being so annoying!

I think that the word “nag” is an unfortunate way to categorize and dismiss this type of communication that can happen between parents & kids, spouses, coworkers, etc. I recall when I was in high school, my mom would come into my bedroom every morning and say to me, “Wake up! You are going to be late!” Then she’d tsk and say, “If I didn’t wake you in the mornings, you’d never get to school on time.”

Every morning, I reacted in a very predictable way to this: I got angry or irritated or just hurt, depending on my teenagery mood of the day. Why?

  • I felt that I knew exactly how long I take to get ready, much better than she did, and she was asking me to wake up on her schedule, not on my assessment of my schedule. In short, I felt she was robbing me of my right to self-determination.
  • I felt that she had a poor idea of me, as a person, believing that I was so irresponsible as to be unable to accomplish a single task like get to school on time without her.

What I now think was going through her head:

  • Going to school is the single most important thing for Ei-Nyung right now. The best way I can help her is to get her started on her day.
  • I’ve never seen her wake up without my prompting, so it’s clear she needs to be prompted to wake up. When will she learn to get up on her own?

When I think about this with 20/20 hindsight, it’s clear that either one of us could have ended this “nagging” cycle by proposing that for one week, I am left to wake up on my own and see if I am late to school. If I am, then she is justified and I have no business complaining or being hurt. If I am not, then I should be left to wake myself up every morning.

The most frustrating part of it, for my teenage self, is that my desired time to wake up was always only about 5 minutes later than my mom’s internal panic timer for rousing me out of bed. Over those 5 minutes, we had countless pointless arguments and silent treatments over the years, and for no real reason except that we couldn’t quite articulate our positions well enough to each other to break through our habits.

If I had said to her, “Mom, I hear you and I understand you are worried and why you are worried. Let me handle it for a week and see if it works out,” then maybe she would not have felt like she was being ignored, wondering if she was getting through, wondering what I was thinking.

Even for things where I disagreed with her, it would have been better for me to have expressed it than have tried to just ignore her, making her feel unheard & frustrated, like her advice and wisdom were not getting through. Instead, in typical teenager fashion, I ignored her and hoped she would stop and just know she was being “annoying” and “nagging”.

Nurture Shock. Good book. Give it a read. I should probably say more, but I’m running out of steam. It’s along the lines of Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” as far as being readable and exploring certain types of social/behavioral phenomena (raising of children, in this case). Maybe Seppo or Mack, who have also read it, will have something interesting to add about it. πŸ™‚

Interpersonal communication

September 21, 2009   

It’s a topic I’ve covered a zillion times before. I recently thought about it again because back in August, Becky tweeted: “Dating Tip for Dudes #38: She doesn’t necessarily want a suggestion, she just wants you to listen. Do your BEST.”

In romantic relationships, friendships, family relationships, coworker situations, there are several categories of what kind of interaction a person is looking for when they reach out. They could be looking for any of the following:

  • A shoulder to cry on or a sympathetic ear. This person is looking for a friend in their corner. This person wants to vent. The best thing you can do is listen and let them know they are not being crazy/oversensitive/etc.
  • Wisdom and/or perspective beyond what they were able to come up with on their own. This kind of person wants advice. Drawing from prior experiences and similar situations to tell them what you might have done in the past in a similar situation will help them.
  • A kick in the behind to get them started on making changes. This person wants a coach. Tell them you know they can get off their butts and kick ass. Remind them of their prior accomplishments.
  • Actual, concrete assistance, where the friend/family/etc. offloads some of their workload. This person is seeking help.

In all of these situations, it is very important that the person reaching out and the person responding know what it is that is being sought out, otherwise the two people will end up in a very frustrating conversation.

Let’s say someone is complaining to you about their current job, or feeling like a schlub, feeling unmotivated. This could be a friend, your SO, your parent/child, etc. Depending on what they are seeking, you might do any of the following:

  • Let them vent: Ask them if they just want you to listen. Listen to them. Do they seem mostly angry, sad, depressed, frustrated, or something else entirely? Ask them questions that let them work out how they are feeling, and why. If there are things you don’t understand, ask them, but let them lead the conversation. Sometimes, a large part of stress is not knowing exactly how you feel, and talking it out can make the person feel better. It also helps to know someone else is in their corner and cares about their perspective. Something that’s important to remember is that it’s not about how you feel about the situation, but about how this person does.
  • Give them advice: Ask them if they want advice. You’ll see that this is a theme. This interaction is not about you giving someone what you’d want in their place, but what that person wants. Remember even when they ask for advice that they are not you and will not behave the same as you in the same situation. Consider how applicable the situation you are describing is to the advice seeker, be nonjudgmental, and don’t say “should” and “must”, but stick to “could” and “might”. This is not an opportunity for you to tell a slightly-related story or for you to “give them a life lesson”, so don’t repeat yourself  and or make them think that you believe there is one bandaid to their type of problem. Adjust your advice as more details are revealed and let the person feel heard, not categorized.
  • Coach them/Kick them in the butt: Some people like this. You really have to know someone really, really well in order to do this, and things differ situationally, so ask them too. I have very little to say in this matter because I am not a person who responds well to this, but I know this is definitely what some people want. Anyone who relates to this, feel free to talk about this in the comments.
  • Offer help. Again, ask them if they want help. People often think others will ask for help when they need it, but I find this to be completely untrue. People feel incredibly guilty or embarrassed to ask for help, but are grateful when it is offered. Let’s take the example of someone looking for a job. Concrete help is not repeated nagging/reminders to update their resumes; concrete help comes in offering to do some chore for them so they will have a time slot free that they did not previously have. It could also come in asking them if they could use a resume format and a reviewer, and acting promptly if they answer in the affirmative.

Generally, I fall into the 1st and 4th categories and will feel completely frustrated if confronted with 2nd or 3rd categories. For me, when vent, what has usually happened is some perfect storm of feeling like I have too many to-do items and not enough time, combined with juggling a couple of stressful situations at once. These situations might have to do with worrying about a friend or family member, getting over an illness, preparing for a deadline, or any of a million different things.

So by the time I vent, I am completely overloaded. The thing that will help is if some of those things on my to-do or stress-about list can come off the list, through the magic of circumstances or through help. The last thing I need is another thing to worry about or another item to add to my to-do list.

Also, I’m a resourceful lass. By the time I vent, I’ve been thinking about the situation for a very long time from many angles. I’ve explored several reasonable and several unreasonable paths to a solution. I’ve thought about the players in the situation and have probably tried talking to them. I’ve researched the crap out of any remaining questions I have about the situation. Basically, I’ve devoted a lot of time & thought to resolving the situation.

Realizing this opened my eyes to exactly why I get frustrated in the face of advice when I’m seeking a place to vent, and I think it is relevant to the tweet referenced in my intro paragraph. When someone gives me advice, it’s usually someone who cares about me, and someone for whom I care in return. When they give me advice, there are two things that might happen:

  • If I’ve already researched that solution, it makes me frustrated that they would have thought I hadn’t thought of something that took them about 5 minutes to come up with; OR
  • If I haven’t, this effectively puts another item on my to-do list to pursue. Because they are important to me and are likely to follow up with me out of concern, this means that I have to push off the other actual to-dos I have on my overburdened list to go look at this new thing. It might be immensely helpful too, which is another good reason to pursue it. But does it help alleviate the things that led me to venting in the first place? No, because I still have all the to-dos on my list still.

Help differs from advice in that someone is actually taking items off my to-do list. That is fabulous. Advice adds more items to my to-do list or makes me feel like they think I’m stupid. Being listened to when venting helps tremendously because I need to release the pressure valve and work out my feelings, and that lets me know the friend/family/etc. hears my needs and addresses them.

And there is no formal end or conclusion to this. I hope this lack of finish fills you with immense dissatisfaction. πŸ˜€

Next blog post will probably be a review of NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children

Update: I just realized that sometimes, I really do want 2 & 3. 3 in particular is helpful when I’m losing motivation. Having someone remind me of my accomplishments can really kick me out of a funk. I very, very rarely ask for #2, but when I do, I am extremely grateful to get good advice. The critical difference is that I’ve asked for it, which means that I want a new perspective and that I know I have the bandwidth to handle whatever advice I’m given, rather than being overloaded.

Lunchtime Blogging

July 28, 2009   

Been crazy busy with work lately. Not so unusual, but it’s pretty exciting. I wish I had a couple of breathers to just sort of clean up all the messy corners and tighten up the loose bolts, but time is limited.

Sleeping badly lately too, probably far less than before getting pregnant. Hip joint and left shoulder hurts like a mofo. Hip joint pops every time I get up and hurts like a joint that shouldn’t pop.

Clearly have been tweeting too much, as I can only seem to write in fragmented sentences.

Looking forward to the new season of America’s Best Dance Crew. Woo!

The public areas of the house are starting to tidy up  and feel nice.

Trying to figure out when to have my mom come out to help with the baby.

Found out yesterday that my sister told my dad I was pregnant. It is nice to know he knows. I’m still reluctant to talk to him, for complicated reasons. I may write him a letter. He has a job as a security guard and is working. With my grandmother’s recent passing, I don’t want to have regrets about not reaching out to him later, but it is still really hard.

It kills me that even with all the money I make, I don’t make enough to  pay all the bills here, shore up our financial security, and still get my mom off food stamps. I breaks my heart that she’s still on food stamps. It just kills me.

I’ve finished the Sookie Stackhouse series (up to the most current one out) and started Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. She got me with her free Kindle book, Darkfever.

Looking forward to getting away to Hawaii in August. At the same time, I think about my dad in Korea and my mom and think, gah, is this really, really ok? Couldn’t I be helping them more? I know there are things I need to do for myself too but in the long run, what will make me happier?

A blogger I read regularly is getting divorced. It saddens me more than it should, given that he’s a stranger.

I’ve been cooking Korean food the last few days. Simple Korean food (not restaurant food) really feeds more than my body; making it and eating it calms me, makes me feel rooted, and other touchy-feely bs that kinda makes me want to hurl, but there it is, undeniably making me feel good. Truly, it is comfort food.

I feel tired. I feel restless. I feel like things are changing faster than I can really take in. I don’t feel like myself, but a wimpier, weaker, whinier version of myself. This too shall pass. I’m not used to it, but it’s not like it’s a permanent state.

I recently reread my NaNoWriMo project from 2 years ago. Or has it been three years already? It wasn’t as good as I had hoped it was. Oh well. It was a learning experience, and I think I can come up with something better.

I’d like to organize my photos. I wish I had more photos as a baby.

Seppo and I talked about how amazing it was that we are where we are in life right now. I was born in my grandmom’s house, lived in houses without running water or indoor plumbing or a modern stove (cooking was done over the fire), and now I live in the Bay Area, in a great neighborhood, living a comfortable life, calling some incredible people my friends, with access to all sorts of material and cultural goods and experiences. It’s crazy. Honestly, if I thought it was just through my own hard work and not also through a series of incredibly lucky events and helpful people, I’d be the most arrogant ass on Earth.

Life, despite all the little bumps and bruises, is great. The bumps and bruises are tiny, insignificant. Our child-to-be has every chance to live to great life, and I just have to make sure he doesn’t become an entitled person, but an appreciative one. πŸ™‚

Financial peace*

December 5, 2006   

*I am totally jinxing myself. πŸ˜‰

Most of my life, I’ve been a prisoner of personal finance. My family worked hard as a whole, we didn’t live lavishly or get into deep credit card debt, yet we were always on the verge of financial ruin, and tomorrow always looked bleak.

It was a point of individual stress, familial strife, and interpersonal resentment. Each and everyday. Saving up and paying down debts and just trying to keep our heads above water was a daily struggle. Would we make rent this month? Would we have to be late with the car insurance payment? Would we be getting enough/proper nutrition? Would kids pick on us for being poor? Will someone call at 7am on a Sunday and yell at us to collect our late payments? Barely, sometimes, maybe, yes, and sometimes.

Anyone who knows me knows that I get on these obsessive kicks. I might obsess over writing a novel, or trying to make my best friend a scarf, or watching a new reality tv show. Right now, I’m obsessing over personal finances. Yeah, no kidding? Heh.

When I was younger, I was obsessed with becoming wealthy. Clearly, I was this way because I felt that it would remove all of our family problems. It’s not true, but that’s what I thought at the time. It’s like my every waking thought was about how not to be poor.

I grew out of that, of course. I don’t need to be rich. I wouldn’t say I’d mind it, but I don’t need it. Not anymore.

Anyway, for the first time in my life, I feel — and I know this will sound strange — financially free. And I don’t mean that we are financially independent; not by a long shot.

I guess it’s that I no longer feel burdened by money problems. Finances no longer equal a source of strife and fear. Our cash flow is positive, our retirement accounts are doing well, we are valued at our jobs, and we are making great progress on our debts. We have a good savings buffer for unexpected emergencies and it’s easy to budget for treats like gifts or the occasional vacation. The best thing was being able to pay for our wedding and honeymoon with cash, coming into our marriage without new burdens.

I look at the future projections, and I am no longer filled with fear. I don’t stay up at nights wondering if I’ll have to work until I get too frail to work, or if I’ll most likely be able to pay my medical expenses when I’m old, or if we’ll ever be able to have kids, or if we’ll be able to fix up the house. Not anymore. Because the answers are clear. They are all doable, and without causing too much financial strain.

We live “below our means”, however you want to interpret that, since we pretty much do whatever we want and get whatever we want, on a reasonable basis. We can budget for a vacation and not feel guilty about going — we just need to find the time! πŸ™‚ We can splurge occasionally and get an XBox 360, an HD tv, whatever.

Our clothes are not expensive, but that’s a choice, not a necessity. Our Civic is old, but again, that’s a choice, not a necessity. We could get a nice fancy car. Or keep driving this guy until it dies, which we will. It’s cheap to insure and gets good gas mileage.

It’s so different to make frugal choices because they really are genuine choices I am making, rather than the only possibility. When it’s the only possibility, it feels crushing, demoralizing, like a little trapping box. When it’s a choice, it feels so great!

Because we live like we make much less, it’s easy to save. And it’s easier to absorb the impact if one of us were to lose our jobs. We wouldn’t have to change much to make it work. Being in the Bay Area and being able to say that is immense. And it’s an immense relief.

The house is great. Sure, it has holes. But I don’t mind them. Seriously. Not at all. We’ll have money in the spring to fix things up. It’ll be great. When we eventually sell it, many years from now, we could probably move into a smaller house for less cash than we sell this house for, given the improvements that have been made upon it (and improvements to come). We wouldn’t necessarily have to upgrade to a bigger or more expensive house. We won’t have to get into greater debt with each move. Having lived in a big house for years now, I think we both realize that this is more house and more yard than we know what to do with, so we don’t have a hunger for more. I mean, except Seppo’s desire for a solid gold toilet. But that can easily fit into a smaller house. πŸ™‚

I don’t know. I feel great about life. We have so many choices open for us now. We can start to make our decisions based on what we want to do rather than what we must to in order to keep our heads above water. We’ve been able to do that for a long time now, but it’s just recently that I’ve been able to see the big picture enough to see it.


October 16, 2006   

I have a strange accent. I mostly think of it as just the way I talk, but once in a while, it makes me ponder where it comes from.

Well, the answer is simple: it comes from my environment. But that’s neither here nor there.

When I was small (and still living in Korea), we lived in Seoul, so I assumed that we had a straight-on city accent. I assumed this until college, when my spoken Korea cracked up some of the newer Korean immigrants. They found it cute and didn’t make me feel bad about it or anything, but speaking with them made it clear that HOLY CRAP, I SPEAK LIKE A HICK! Ahem. Pardon my yelling. It was pretty shocking.

I learned my first bits of English while attending school in Queens for two years, and learned to say, “Mira!” when I wanted a friend to pay attention to what I was saying, what “pendejo” and “puta” meant, at the same time as I learned the Pledge of Allegiance with my stumbling accent. Frankly, at the time, I had no idea I was hearing two different languages. Being younger helped to get the pronunciations much more quickly than my sister or my brother did, but it was still strange at first.

Then we moved to Philly. I don’t know if you’ve heard people with strong Philly accents, but I couldn’t help but pick up on that in the many, many years that I lived there. So I rather thought I had a Philly-Korean accent. I assumed this until I visited my family in Atlanta sometime after college, when I heard the Korean-Americans who live in Atlanta speak English & Korean. I spoke mostly like them, but not. I expected them to have a strong Georgian accent, but nope! They sounded more like the people I knew up in Philly than other people in Atlanta.

And when I went to Korea, people knew instantly that I spoke Korean with an American accent; I couldn’t quite get some of the sounds right and I don’t know how to properly end a sentence (but that’s more of a grammar issue really).

So maybe it’s a Korean-American accent — not the one that belongs to older immigrants that is easily mocked on shitty nail parlor sketches on MadTV *glares* *boycotts* — that is acquired by kids who speak Korean with their families but American English with everyone else. There seems to be a greater commonality in sound due to that than regional accents.

At the same time, when I see my Philly friends, after a couple of hours, I hear my speech altering considerably to pull in more Philly sounds. So that must mean I have acquired somewhat of a Californian accent. But if you ask me, I have no idea what a CA accent sounds like (I’m not counting common phrases, but an actual difference in how words are pronounced); I just know it sounds different from the familiar tones of my Philly pals.

I once knew a guy who insisted to me that museum was pronounced “mew-zay-uhm” (rhymes with “dayum” [sic]) and tried to correct my “mew-zee-(u)m” pronunciation. It was such a bizarre way to say it for me.

Anyway, I’m totally lost. πŸ˜€