Comparing Yeon Yi Min And Me

842 words - 3 pages

Yeon Yi Min and Me

 

 

 

 

I could easily recognize the differences between Yeon Yi Min and myself as soon as I met her and recalled all of the factual information I knew about Koreans, but I did not discover our similarities until after I had opened my eyes to her individual, yet universal, nature. I saw her as a drone of her culture, held in by rigid structure and lacking of any independent, individualistic thought beyond rules of society; I was ready to share my culture with her and to learn of her culture, but I never believed that I would discover a connection between us because of what she said, or did not say. However, while I sat and communicated with Yeon Yi, I felt many of the learned stereotypes drain out of me in order to be replaced by understanding, awe, and respect. We discussed families and friends, basic beliefs, our daily lives, and ourselves; and we discovered that we, human beings, are not so drastically different as we would like to believe. In fact, Korean and American individuals are relatively the same; however, differences in attitude and action arise from the extent of cultural independence that the respective citizens enjoy.

 

Even with Yeon Yi's broken English and my American colloquialisms, we understood each other perfectly; we made unconscious affirmations as to our similarities, yet we spoke of our differences. As she discussed the duties of children in Korea, I thought of my parents and their futures; while her brother would completely support her parents in exchange for his college education, I might visit my parents on their farm for Thanksgiving and Christmas. She outlined her complete devotion to her parents and described how she would follow their wishes even if that meant compromising her dreams; I searched for understanding as I explained that I attended the University in order to gather the skills I would need to attain my ultimate goal of being an archaeologist, a decision which my parents have given me complete independence to make. I began to have visions of arranged marriages, and Yeon Yi nodded but reassured me that usually Korean parents try to follow their young daughters' wishes for companionship; however, I held the belief that she could never understand love the way I believed I one day would. She...

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