possible chapter headings

for a book I anticipate writing–the one that I wish had been written . . .


Many years ago, someone told me that she thought my nose was cute. She wondered if the shape of my nose meant that I had some White blood in my birth family. At the time, I seriously considered whether this speculation could possibly be true. I was not offended, but rather, embarrassingly “seen.”

Looking back, I wondered if I remembered the comment accurately. Today, I certainly would never ask the person if she truly said this.

It goes without saying that the person who said this is White. As the only Asian among my White friends at the time, I understand now that being around White people was like a warm blanket of normalcy. Put another way, I unconsciously felt I needed them to remain in society. Without White friends, I would eventually drift off course.

Today, my Korean adopted friends and I enjoy sharing recipes for various jigaes and jeons (pajeon is my favorite), Kdrama recommendations, hangul vocabulary and phrases . . . it helps that Korean culture has become accessible, even annoyingly trendy. Annoyingly, because I can’t say that I have always appreciated Korean culture, that it was a part of my life before it was trendy.

In fact, when others would ask about drama fever (a former source for Korean Dramas) or what I thought about Super Junior (Kpop group)–this was often coming from White adoptive family members–these connections to Korean culture had the energy of sincere attempts that came off as “trying too hard.” At the time, I was deep into the HBO series, “The Wire” and Death Cab for Cutie / Coldplay.

This Super Junior video is an example of a culture I thought was too kauai. Super Junior feels like something a younger brother or sister cherished and I dismissed, but have come to appreciate as part of my heritage. In an awkward attempt to produce evidence that I am not a passenger of the Korean culture bandwagon, I share this video (However, previous posts regarding BTS are evidence to the contrary).

Kdramas have so many orphans . . . so many. This is a trailer to one of my recent favorite Kdramas:

Much like I dismissed Kpop and Kdrama, I was not used to having Asian friends until I was in my 20s. In a recent conversation with a Korean adopted friend, I realized the separate gmail folders I have for “adoptees” and “friends” are an indication that Korean adoptees are unconsciously not quite generic “friends.”

They are somewhere between relatives and friends. This has caused a bit of a misunderstanding as sometimes the length of time having known an adoptee can be shorter than knowing other friends. Yet, many times the connections can be given the weight of family–where the expectation for plans may feel less up in the air and more resolute. Additionally, some adopted friends follow the Korean way of using sibling titles like “Unnie (언니)” or “Noona (누나)” when they feel a closeness.

One of my Korean adopted friends has reminded me several times, “You know, you’re Korean.” I want to laugh this off as an equivalent of, “You are a Spartan!” Okay. So I graduated from Michigan State University. Am I–a Spartan?

However, the more I consider what it means to be Korean, the more I appreciate that I am not drifting off course. I am defining a specific iteration of being 한극사람.

Table of Contents

  • Being a daughter
  • Being a sister
  • Being a deep sleeper
  • Being ticklish on the knees
  • Being a gaijin (foreigner)
  • Being a Christian
  • Being adopted
  • Being out of control
  • Being whiny
  • Being a non-cryer
  • Being too loud as a morning person
  • Being short
  • Being a Virginian
  • Being a bookworm
  • Being a tree climber
  • Being a dancer
  • Being a piano student
  • Being a terrible singer
  • Being a Suzuki violin student, briefly
  • Being a patient
  • Being a friend
  • Being a student
  • Being a new kid
  • Being a cheerleader
  • Being an INFJ (Myers-Brigg Type Indicator)
  • Being Asian
  • Being a fake Korean
  • Being an American (US citizen)
  • Being a voter
  • Being a “Sagittarius”
  • Being a (year of the) dog
  • Being from New Jersey
  • Being a roommate
  • Being heartbroken
  • Being modest
  • Being a driver
  • Being a passenger
  • Being a commuter
  • Being a Californian
  • Being a vegan / vegetarian / flexitarian
  • Being a teacher
  • Being a colleague
  • Being an auntie
  • Being a home owner
  • Being a blogger
  • Being a consumer
  • Being a 누나
  • Being an ex-patriot
  • Being a yogi
  • Being mono-lingual, but knowing you weren’t at one time
  • Being a Michiganian (Michigander)
  • Being a member of the BTS Army
  • Being misunderstood
  • Being a writer
  • Being a blogger
  • Being an okay singer
  • Being tidy
  • Being an Enneagram 4
  • Being home

About jaclynfre

Recipe adventurer, fast walker, sporadic writer, aunt, sister and daughter
This entry was posted in Life and Culture. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to possible chapter headings

  1. Lainie Levin says:

    I loved this post. All the things you are – to yourself, to the people who know and love you (or who just get the joy of reading your work) – laid out so beautifully. And what I love about this list so much is that you know it’s going to change and evolve. You’ll feel some of these things more and less as you uncover your self over time. Which is pretty darn amazing.

    I’ll also confess that I LOVED the music video you shared, right down to the rap interludes and the guitar solos…all of it delightful.

    • jaclynfre says:

      Thank you so much for taking time to read this and leaving such an encouraging comment. Are you a Kpop fan? If not, buckle up, because Kpop has staked a prolific youtube presence which will overtake your waking hours if you allow this. 🙂

      I have been thinking about how the chapter brainstorm could actually be somewhat of a loose poem. Your thoughtful note means so much! It’s been awhile so I look forward to reading (and responding to) your work again soon.

  2. Denise Krebs says:

    I love this post and all the beautiful things you have shared about you. I love the idea of a book about all these “beings” I hope you will write that book for just you or for your readers someday. (I can relate to some of your chapter headings–I too am from the year of the Dog, an INTJ (with the T/F almost equal) and I’m a Californian and a flexitarian eater.) Keep writing, my friend.

    • jaclynfre says:

      Thank you for this kind response. These connections are so much fun. I appreciate your encouragement. Have you also read about the Enneagram? Many friends talked about it quite a bit so I finally read a book and took a test to join the conversation. 😆 I’m curious about how the MBTI and the Enneagram intersect, if at all.

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