WANDERING INTO FOREIGN TERRITORY
Today seemingly random sequences of events caught my attention and changed my focus. I believe that nothing happens coincidentally. This year, my goal continues to ride every wave no matter how far or deep I need to swim.
A thank you letter for a donation in honor of the recently passed Father John P. Daly landed on my desk requiring my bosses’ signature. My boss stopped his speeding train of thought to mention that Father Daly was an amazing man who did significant years of work with Korea and was crucial to the growth of the college’s Asian Studies program. Since Father Daly’s name inspires a smile on the face of anyone who speaks of him, I looked for an obituary.
I read that shortly after taking his Jesuit vows he rooted himself in Korea during a critical period from 1963 – 1975. My curiosity flared and launched me in a full-circle moment.
I came to America through Holt International. Knowing a religious undertone existed at the adoption agency, I wanted to know if Father Daly shared ties. While I never located a link, I sparked some clarity on a 25 year-old question.
My parents explained that the end-result of the Korean War, the devastated country resulted in families leaving babes to adopt. One person pointed out, “The Korean War ended in the 50’s?!” Truthfully I had no response and with history being my weakest subject – I wasn’t interested in finding one then.
Now, I feel like returning to the start could sculpt a more 3-D image of my past. I am less interested in long-lost relatives, more interested in the time before I left Korea – warm fuzzy stories like the political climate, born as a half-blooded Korean and other societal factors that launched me towards the states. I live the fairy tale – how I’d literally been abandoned until someone found me and turned me into an orphanage, I fortunately came to America and never looked back. But, it’s part of me.
I listed Going to Korea as one of my “101 in 1001 goals,” but don’t want to visit, I want to understand Korea. Father Daly’s influence on people to learn about Korea continues.
If you get the opportunity, I strongly recommend Werner Bischof’s photographs of Korea at the time of the Korean War. He was a poetic photographer and my favourite of any photographer.
Thank you David, I’ll definitely look him up! I appreciate the lead and thank you for wandering through today!