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The Moments That Change Us

My parents and I walked down a narrow set of concrete stairs to get there. Each step moved us closer to a moment in our family story that changed us. Once we were down inside the basement restaurant, we walked to a space in the center. We were surrounded by red and white checkered tablecloths in a western style BBQ restaurant in South Korea. The tablecloths seemed as out of place as I felt. My mom had told me vague stories multiple times about how she had lost her family when she was growing up in South Korea. As a young girl, I was full of questions. My mom hinted at complex things and tried to explain war, poverty, and loss in ways that would satisfy and make sense to me as a little girl. More than anything, I remember how often I felt her on-going sadness. In my personal experience, intergenerational trauma is real. That summer day in Korea, I complained like any American six-year-old might complain about having to sit in taxi after taxi, not fully comprehending why we were spending …

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