My Korean Parents Never Picked Me up from School

I wonder what my eomma would make me for dinner?

My Korean Parents Never Picked Me up from School
Photo by yongzheng xu / Unsplash

You know, I was a pretty dumb teen back then. I had all these dumb, unfiltered ideas that were just wacky and really random. Like how I thought it would be the best idea if I upgraded my teachers' laptops to Windows 8. Or how I'd set my profile picture on Facebook to this K-Pop singer.

Today is the day I come clean to you and tell you about this old cringey fantasy I had back in high school. Come on, don't act like you haven't had fantasies of your own (or maybe you haven't), but regardless, I was a teen at this time and we've all done some crazy stuff as teens. So let me tell you about how I waited for my (supposedly real) Korean parents to pick me up from school.

Let me set the stage: It was high school, smack-dab in the middle of 2013. I was pretty much into Korean culture (a relatively niche thing to like at the time) and I was still extremely addicted Girls' Generation's "SEOUL" song.

I really loved that song! I had made a small playlist of Korean songs that I would play if I ever visited Korea, and that was at the top of the list. A lot of people wrongly assume that I'm this weeaboo that would kill to go to Japan, but nah, I'm a true Koreaboo.

So, at the time, I believed that if I were to end up in the guidance counselor's office, they would somehow get in touch with my real Korean parents and that they'd take me off to Korea.

I just pictured myself there, sitting and staring at the many drawers in the councilor's room, and then my long-lost Korean uncle would get notified—or better yet—my real Korean mother and father would come and pick me up. They would say that I was somehow swapped at birth and that they have my passport, visa, documents, and flight ticket all set and ready to go.

Somehow, it never occurred to me that I look 0.00000001% Korean, nor the fact that I have an eerily striking resemblance with my dad. But, you know, this is just a case of escapism so all forms of logic go out the window.

I thought that my view outside my bedroom would change to this

After moving to Korea, I would then learn my real, birth language and then transfer to a Korean school. My mom would wake me up and prepare breakfast or pack some lunch for me like Kimchi with egg or something. And then I dreamt of having 3 sisters (all coincidentally looking like the members of Girls' Generation). Then I'd enjoy attending high school and my life would turn out better.

These were all dreams and machinations of a young, angsty teen who sat in the guidance counselor's chair.

Pretty dumb, eh? I guess I can say that for all forms of escapism. I think it's cool to have dreams in your head of a better tomorrow, or an alternate set of events as to what you're currently experiencing now. I wish that "alternate path" had happened because... in reality, I was picked up by my parents after that trip to the guidance office.

It was 2013. The year I had an "attempt." My father's family did pick me up and I was supposed to live with them for a while and I did. It didn't really fix any broken bridges between my family members, but I did get to stay with them for a bit. I feel very neutral about it all because, to this day, I barely know them.

Honestly, what happened in real life was kind of a blur to me. I don't have a lot of memories of staying with my family on my father's side. I remember the dream more—the falsehood I told myself at the time—than what was happening in front of me. I believed that it would all be okay, that my real Korean parents would come to pick me up eventually.

The truth is, escapism was the only way I could deal with things back then. I had a horrible family situation going on and home life was in shambles. My uncle would often get drunk and yell, scream, or inhibit my sister and I from going to school. I only had my friends at the time. Even though I wasn't abused (just neglected to an extent), I still wasn't in a good situation. After the incident, I spent most of my time watching Korean dramas, movies, and listening to K-Pop.

Thankfully and, by some divine miracle, I never was harmed mentally, nor physically. Sure, I made some cringey posts on Facebook that hurt my reputation, but that's just water under the bridge now (and my old Facebook account is dead!). I'm really glad I just coped with it in an "okay" way.

Over time, my relationship with my family improved and these days I'm doing pretty well with how things are at home. There are some very small, surface-level changes I could make here and there, but I'm quite content on how the passage of time has managed to repair what was essentially a dysfunctional household before.

In reality, I never wanted Korean parents who just flew me to Korea and made me live a perfect life. I fell in love with the idea because I just wanted to be in a family that wanted me and loved me. And yes, in a way, you could say I did have Korean parents who loved me, even if they only existed in my head at the time. Even if they were just dreams. My dreams and my friends got me through that time and I'm really grateful I had them to support me.

All that's left to ask now is... how much do you think would it cost for me to stay in Korea for a few weeks or a month? I wonder.