• Updated : 2022.7.25 월 15:48
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Being a Member of Another Family in the U.S.
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승인 2022.03.17  15:05:31
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn
▲ Yeon Min-seon with her homestay family in California

There was a notice that Chonnam National University (CNU) was providing a scholarship supporting students to study in a Medical English Program at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) during the winter vacation. I took the chance and applied for the program and was accepted. There was an institute in between UCSD and CNU that helped us to prepare for the program and it assigned me with a homestay family in San Diego. Before my departure to the city, I had both hopes and worries about my homestay. However, it turned out that I did not have to worry at all. My homestay family, Linda and Tyrone made me feel at home. They treated me as if I were their real daughter. We had wonderful days together by sharing our culture and food.

Sharing Korean Food with Neighbors

One day, I suggested cooking Korean food for the family. I decided to go for the well-known, and not so spicy food, which was bulgogi and samgyeopsal as the main dish and yubuchobab (fried tofu stuffed with rice), gyeranmari (egg roll), seolleongtang (ox bone soup) with noodles as side dishes. My homestay Dad said he would invite his neighbors and I felt a little bit of pressure to cook well. On Saturday morning, we all went to a Zion Market, a huge Korean market, to shop for Korean groceries. I picked all the groceries needed for the party. A lot of meat for samgyeopsal and bulgogi, sauces, lettuce, and sesame leaves, not to mention Soju. After coming back home, I was busy cooking all the food until the neighbors came. Dad took part and barbequed samgyeopsal because he was the best barbequer. I did not expect so many neighbors, but four neighboring families came to join us. It was a real party. I introduced myself and explained what each food was and how to eat it. Everyone said the food tasted great and I could feel the pressure alleviating. We all enjoyed our meal. It was interesting to learn about our neighbors’ jobs and hobbies. I felt like a member of this community.

Last Family Dinner

One month passed so fast. The day before I left, our family had dinner together. My homestay Dad Tyrone marinated ribs the day before and barbequed those for three hours. No wonder they were the best ribs I have “ever” had! I had seven ribs that day. I microwaved yangnyeom makchang (seasoned pork intestines) that I brought from Korea. I presumed that Americans would not eat pork intestine, but Tyrone told me that there is an American dish called “chitlins.” He said, “In the past, African-American people, when we were slaves, were only given the worst part of the meat and it was the intestines of a pig. Therefore, they made a dish out of it, which is chitlins.” Dad liked chitlins and he liked yangnyeom makchang too. My homestay Mom gave me a set of pajamas, a Ghiradelli chocolate, and a card. She said it was difficult to find just the right card and made me read it. Tears came out and Tyrone teased me, and we took pictures together.

After coming back to Korea, I called and talked with them before writing this article. Linda and Tyrone told me that I could always come back and stay at their home. I feel like calling it “my home” now. My days in San Diego were so much better with my mama and daddy.

By Yeon Min-seon, Guest Reporter

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