Thursday, April 29, 2010

Speak American!

Have you ever heard someone say, "I wish people spoke American," and you wanted to say, "You mean, English?"

American and English go hand-in-hand to some people.

It's a feeling you might get from Tim James, a man who wants to be the next governor of Alabama. His latest political ad is getting some attention--

I am ALWAYS careful when blogging about anything related to politics. I want people to know I'm interested in this topic--not the man in this ad nor his political affiliation.

My opinion? At first, the message seems a little bullyish, but I'm sure it would be a cost-effective measure. Printing out tests in a dozen or so different languages seems like it would cost taxpayers more money.

On principle alone, I think we need to remember we are a country of immigrants. Some of us have just been here longer than others. I recently visited Chinatown in San Francisco, and I thought it was so beautiful. I felt lucky to live in such a diverse country. I spent time people-watching and saw many who didn't appear to speak a lick of English. It didn't bother me. Why would it? Am I supposed to feel more entitled than someone else because I grew up speaking English?

When I visit Korea, I try to speak broken-Korean, but I don't make a big effort to learn that language. In fact, I'd prefer it if Korean people tried out their English on me. Boy, that's a big, fat, ugly American for you, isn't it? I know Korean people learn English at a young age, so I figure that's probably the way I'll communicate with Koreans. It's faster. Plus, English is everywhere in Korea--even on the road signs... and that country is super homogeneous, unlike the U.S. Can you even imagine if Americans tried to add another language to all U.S. road signs? Or the political ads that would come out in response?

Again, the argument could very well come down to money (with the above political ad.) I'm just sayin'...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Deal of the Day: Free Food at Back Yard Burgers

Mark your calendars and save up your calories...because May 1st is Free Burger Day!

Apparently, May is National Burger Month, and Back Yard Burgers in Springfield will be giving away free burgers to the first 100 people.

This is at ANY Ozarks area BYB-- it starts at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. Do you think some people will drive around and hit up every location? Hmmm....

BYB will also give away Weber grills, grilling tools, and gift cards this month. Check out, for details.

Monday, April 26, 2010

More Underwear!

Wine Country is great... BUT here are some weird pics!

I just got back from wine country with some of my college girlfriends. We had such a blast going to all of the different wineries, asking a million questions, and observing life on the West Coast.

Of course, the scenery was absolutely gorgeous. I would've shared my experiences as they were happening, but there just wasn't enough time. I actually attempted to tape a story for work, and it turned out to be a nuisance. So, I quit. I realized I'd rather just enjoy time with my friends and live life!

Anyway, we had a wonderful time... but here are some of the more funny, behind-the-scenes observations.

1. Hicks (for lack of a better word...) are everywhere. I posted this on my Facebook page when it happened. I'm pretty sure he was from Napa because he had CA plates, and I just couldn't imagine him vacationing there. He spit so loudly... and he kept doing it over and over again. If you want to dip at the table, that's fine, but please be discreet! The fact that he was spitting on the floor was also ruining my appetite. I kept making up a story in my head-- like he's a "wannabe hick"... not even from the Midwest, but he wants to emulate what he thinks people are like here. Kind of like how we see Midwestern kids talk like surfers... or how a Korean pop singer will occasionally throw in an English word like "East Side" in their songs.

2. I don't care how trendy you are, how space-challenged you are, unisex bathrooms are creepy. I mean, it's one thing to have a unisex bathroom if it's a one-toilet stall with a locked door. It's really weird to have guys next to you in line... in the bathroom. Never in my life have I experienced that. And, by looking at the surprised faces of many of my bathroom mates, I'd say we were all in the same boat. I mean, what if I had lady business? Or, what if some guy had some heavy-duty business...and that bathroom was the only choice? WEIRD.

3. And, this is a funny pic of my underwear. Sounds weird to say, huh? My IMO (check her out in the post below) gave me underwear with a zipper on the crotch. She said I should wear it to hide money, especially when I travel. I almost died with laughter! I also laughed because she got an XXXL. I mean, I guess that could be accurate if we're going by Korean sizes. I'm like *Beyonce x2* when it comes to Korean sizes. I just look at those and hear my Imo's voice, "You put the money inside! It's good!" My uncle innocently suggested I put my phone in there since I lost it earlier that day... (insert joke.)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Could've, Would've, Should've... Adoption Story

Today (Tuesday) was a sunny day in San Francisco, so I took the BART all by myself to San Leandro to visit my Imo (Korean word for aunt-mother's sister) and Uncle Stacy.

I wasn't going to meet with them if the weather was as bad as predicted--hail in some cases. Some parts of California even got snow this morning!

Anyway, I digress.

I learned today that my Korean mother and father WERE NOT indeed poor when my mother secretly placed me for adoption. Lack of income was a reason used in my file, and I kept that thought alive for the last 12 years. To me, it just made sense, and I never questioned it.

Apparently, my Korean mother had a lot of urging and pressure from my father's eldest brother. You see, my birth father and birth mother were the babies in their families. My eldest uncle on my birth father's side was a lot older-- when I met him in the year 2000, he was in his 70s. My birth father was in his early 50s. My uncle was a strong paternal figure for my Korean parents.

Anyway, my birth father's eldest brother pressured my Korean mother to have a son. I won't say much more than that, other than apparently he wasn't too pleasant about it.

My Korean mother was also superstitious. While pregnant, she went to a fortune teller. The fortune teller told her that her child (me) would not have a long life in Korea. Korean people tend to be very superstitious... but because my mother was still pregnant with me, she did not tell anyone what the fortune teller told her. (I knew she had gone to a fortune teller, but I thought that was after we reunited. I didn't know this influenced her decision to relinquish me.)

When she gave birth to me, she placed me for adoption in secret. She told everyone I had died. My birth father was away at sea, traveling between Korea and Japan for business. For some reason, I always thought he was a fisherman, but I don't think that's true either.

Nonetheless, my Korean mother felt she had no choice. I still feel so sorry for her because she must've felt terribly alone.

My Imo didn't know I was alive until I called her one day. I remember it being around the year 2000. I have a hard time understanding that because I got her phone number from my Korean family. I assumed she was given a "heads-up" about me calling... but tonight, my Imo said that she didn't know about me until then. So, either I misunderstood something, or that's really the truth.

Funny thing, my Korean mother and father were both so ashamed, but my Imo saw the good side. She said she told my mother that, "Michelle is a blessing." All of my sisters went to college, everyone turned out okay... and I was in the United States. A blessing, indeed.

And then... Stacy turned to me and said something like, "Yung (my imo) was upset because she would've loved to adopt you." My Imo then shouted, "Yeah!" It was as if she wholeheartedly agreed.

It was a simple statement, but it had just never occurred to me. Suddenly, a million thoughts rushed through my head... my brain was in overdrive. What would it have been like to grow up near San Francisco instead of rural Missouri? Would I know Korean? Would I have been me? What would my profession be? What would my parents, Charles and Sharon have done--who would they have adopted? Who would I be married to right now? Would I know I was adopted or would my auntie and the family keep it a secret? It's all totally plausible because Korean people tend to NOT be forthcoming... it's a cultural thing.

I told Jim, and it was a bit heavy for us. And, at the same time, as I left San Leandro, I felt a stronger connection to Imo and Stacy. They would've cared for me and loved me, for sure. But, I don't have any regrets, and I don't think they do either.

It also occurred to me that I have a greater responsibility to care for my Imo when she gets older. I am her only blood relative in the United States. She and Stacy don't have children... only a few nieces and nephews. They both are great people, and although I know they're happy, content, and competent, I worry about who will take care of them as they age.

The funny thing is that revelations can be small and seem insignificant in so many ways. At the same time, one sentence can trip you up for a few hours. Knowing my birth parents had the financial means to raise me seemed a little disappointing. Hearing that my aunt would've willingly raised me stunned me. It's not a big deal, but it is a big deal.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Finding birth family does not solve anything. It does not bring closure. It, in fact, complicates things and feelings. Sometimes I envy those adoptees who can still fantasize about their birth family and place them on a pedestal. They can still have dreams of being a "Korean princess", or a little Asian, orphan Annie.

At the same time, I wouldn't change a thing. My life has been so enriched, and it's forced me to take more pride in being Korean. I just told someone last week that I've spent more than half my life being embarrassed about being Korean... and I won't do it anymore. I won't let people tell me who I am. My life experiences make me who I am--whether it's from Charlie and Sharon or Won Gap and Hang Soon. Or my IMO... I am blessed, just like Imo said!

On a lighter note, check her out! She really cracks me up.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A New Sister-in-Law, A Bad Travel Day, and a Bad-ass Bloody Mary

So much to report here.


My brother-in-law got married this weekend! It was such a beautiful ceremony... and the bride was probably the most beautiful bride I've ever seen. Tiffany is super tall, tan, blonde, gorgeous... she looked stunning in her dress.

Jim was the best man, not surprisingly. What did suprise me, was his toast. There are very few times when a loved one blows you away... wouldn't you say? Well, Jim blew me away with his toast. He did such a good job talking about his brother, including their grandpa Joe, and talking about the things that make their brotherly relationship so special. It really did bring a few tears to my eyes. And I was shocked at how well Jim worked the crowd. I mean, nothing he does amazes me because that's why I married him, but I was surprised to see him look so at ease with speaking.


The wedding was Saturday. Fast forward to today--Monday. We drove back from St. Louis Sunday night, and like the dummy I am, I chose to stay up all night and take my time packing. This way, I could finish the laundy, do the dishes, and make Jim's lunches for the week.

Afterall, I'd sleep on the plane... my flight left at 6:15 a.m.


My flight was delayed because a light indicator was going off. We had to wait for a mechanic.

We waited. and waited... and waited...

Finally, the flight was delayed further. Then, it was just canceled.

Then, I got re-routed to Chicago, which meant I'd be in San Francisco about 8 hours than originally planned. Not happy.

Then, I went and ordered chili fries. I mean, I was up all night! It didn't matter that it was 7 a.m. to me... it's always 5 o'clock somewhere...

A few minute later, I heard a guy say to another that the plane had been fixed. Huh? So, I marched my butt up to the desk and asked... sure enough, it was. I asked to be re-routed to Denver because there were more flights available to SF from there.

Prayers answered.

There was a lot more drama involved, but I'm too tired. So basically, I got here at 1:30 p.m. rather than 10 a.m.

Only problem... my luggage didn't make it.

Still at 8:20 p.m. SF time... still not here. I took a shower when I came to the room, but I still had to put on my dirty clothes afterwards. Yuck!

That leads me to my next story...


I am drinking one bloody mary. Not out of frustration, but just because I like the taste of them. Bloody marys remind me of my college days hanging out at a bar called Louise's West. Not only did they have the best bloody mary recipe, they also served it with a pickle.

This pickle has haunted me ever since. I always have to ask for a pickle and explain to the bartender and the people around me that it's really, really good.

In fact, if I have guests over at my house, I will serve them bloody marys and pickles. And they all agree it's pretty good.

So, that's what happened at Max's, the bar in my hotel. I ordered a bloody mary with a side of pickles... the bartender told me I was the first to ever ask for pickles. (Yes!) I like being the first...

Anyway, the bartender makes a pretty mean bloody mary mix-- I remember hearing lemons, limes, worcestershire, A1, pepper, and horseradish... but I can't remember the rest. To me, I think a good ingredient is Greek seasoning.

The bartender also told me to go to a bar called Zeitgeist. He said it's kind of a biker bar, but they have the best bloody marys. After reading a few reviews, I'm definitely up for it. Still wish I had my luggage, but I'm getting over it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The News Done Right (with Auto-Tune!)

I lifted this from Kevin Lighty... it's pure poppycock! Katie Couric, Glenn Beck, Joel Madden... nice.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Racist Glenn Miller Runs For Senate; Ads Should Be Shocking...

Openly racist Glenn Miller is running for U.S. Senate. And again, Mr. Miller is catching controversy... his political ads are airing across the state, and they should be shocking. But they're not.

What else would you expect?

I actually debated whether to even put this on here because I don't like drawing attention to it. At the same time, I think it's interesting.

I am always intrigued by people like Glenn Miller. Do you think he really believes what he's saying? I'd like to interview him.

Hate is such a terrible thing. I really hate hate. I could talk about this for hours, but I won't. Not right now. Instead, watch this story we did on him, by clicking here.

From a numbers standpoint, Missouri and Arkansas have more hate groups than most states in the U.S., according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. What I think is interesting is the number of Christian hate groups-- sounds like an oxymoron, right?

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Did You Hear? 5-Year Old says "Screw 'em!"

This is Joshua Sacco, a 5-year-old who delivers Herb Brooks' "Miracle" speech... it is freaking hilarious.

By the way, this was shown live on NESN, the New England Sports Network. Jim used to work there! He traveled to Japan with NESN to interview the "Babe Ruth" of Japan and other baseball greats. I loved watching his story, and it won an Emmy.

Anyway, here's this cute, cute kid!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Asians Rock! At least for this month...

I've been invited to speak at Missouri State University tomorrow night to talk about why Asians rock (seriously) for Asian American Heritage Month. MSU likes to start celebrating in April, though the official month is May.

There are so many things I want to say about this. But, I really need to be tweaking my speech right now.

Like the video, there are really great things about being Asian American. First of all, I always thought of myself as being American first before my ethnicity. But, I do take great pride in being a Korean-born Asian.

I do wish more people in the Ozarks took pride in their backgrounds, that diversity was placed at a higher importance than we've seen in the workplace, schools, the community. I wish we had more business and community leaders who fought for change, ensured equality, and enlightened others about their differences. It is a struggle everywhere in this country, but since I live in the Ozarks, I'm focused on what positive changes can be made HERE.

It is a marathon, not a sprint. In the meantime, enjoy the YouTube video... and if you'd like, come hear me speak! Other great speakers will be there, too. Thursday night around 7 p.m. at Plaster Student Union, third floor.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Fashion For Life... come join us!

Fashion For Life is this Friday at Latin Vibe! KSPR's Will Carter will be hosting it with me...

I can't wait! This will be EXTREME FASHION AND HAIR, with at least a dozen local, awesome salons. More pics tomorrow after I get fitted!

Scott Miller is one of the organizers for the event. Here's our interview! (P.S. Is it a fashion faux pas to have super white legs?? Sheesh!)

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Korean-Born Boy = Single Lady = YouTube Sensation

I found out on the news... this little boy was adopted from Korea. What a cutie!

From Fort Leonard Wood With Love

A picture perfect afternoon.

Leaders from Fort Leonard Wood came to KSPR to share some valuable information-- for the first time in three decades, the military is changing the way it trains people. Working smarter, not harder, per se.

I love the military. I never had the kahonas to even consider joining, but I do have family members who are currently serving. And, of course, friends. Even if you don't want to get political, you should always support our troops!

And, I'm feeling very fortunate. They asked me to speak at the post in May for Asian American Heritage Month. Woot! Details to come.

Reverend Michelle M Van Dillen

I'm trying to get ordained by the end of summer. Details to come.