top of page

Kimjang and Kimchi 10/27/2021

Driving home with 2½ gallons of kimchi, sporting red splatters on my coat from the gochugaru (Korean red chili powder) mixture, I looked like a victorious paintball player … Over my lifetime, as a Korean adoptee in a White family, I haven’t known many other Koreans – let alone commune with them. I have always felt “White” despite what the mirror (and others) told me every day.


Serendipitously, however, I was invited to a Kimjang – a traditional collective effort of making kimchi. The energetic group of ladies at the Kimjang were welcoming as we gathered outside. A few were “Korean-Koreans,” but most were “Korean-Adoptees” just like me. As we chopped vegetables and mixed the ingredients with our gloved hands, camaraderie was enfolded into the concoction. We joked about motherhood and Asian babysitters – sending us into fits of hackling laughter.


Afterwards, I wondered if acceptance is exactly what the Kimjang tradition was meant to unleash – a time when Koreans are unguarded and understood. Being included brought a sense of completeness that I subconsciously searched for my entire life (not to take an inch away from my American family’s Jewish and Redneck traditions). As a nomadic Army brat, I never knew that Korean Adoptee Communities existed in America until recently.


Last year, when I interviewed Joy H. for my book, she described a “subtle internal click” that happened when she met her biological family. NOW I GET IT. Although, I would describe my “click” as raucous and permeating. Who would have thought that kimchi could not only be healing for my digestive system, but also for my soul?


www.sunimillerzmich.com


11 views

Comments


bottom of page