Michelle Koehn

Name

Michelle Koehn

Age

28

Location

New York, NY

Occupation

Occupational Hazard

Own Words

I have no idea what being Korean American is all about or what it means or what the implications are. But, I love spicy food and I’ve come to learn that there is no problem too large that cannot be solved with tons of drinks, crazy friends and a karaoke room. This was taught to me by Korean Americans.

I think being KA has been weird for me because I was adopted at five and grew up in a tiny town not very fond of Asians in general in the midwest (is this a very familiar story, or what?!). I returned to Korea when I was 19, where I was heartbroken for the first time in my life: I had hoped to meet my birth mother, but it just didn’t happen. Since then, I have written about that experience, talked on panels, and volunteered with Korean adoptee mentorship programs, international orphanages, and foster-care programs in the US. However, I’ve never been able to address, really, why I did all of those things — went through all of those efforts. I dunno. Maybe, I just wanted to understand why it’s so complicated/weird/fun/lovable/interesting to be Korean American. I love literature & have been writing for most of my life. I’m taking a respite from corporate life to pursue writing fiction for the next two years in graduate school hoping to explore this some more & would love to hear the experiences of others.

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