Star of the Sea, searching the market Scavenger Hunt

This is the last day of shooting for Roy’s KBS documentary on my return to South Korea and search for my beginnings. We’re all exhausted but still hopeful as Lee Herrick and Mike, the translator for the Korean version of the documentary (to air on KBS in Seoul Thursday May 15th) Roy and I returned to the port city of Incheon and the Sinpo Market.
As we walked through the stalls, I remembered why I am heartsick in port cities–You can smell the sea and all the water that divides…
roy shooting
sinpogrannies fish sinpo

When Roy and Mike explained to these Korean grandmothers that I may have been lost at this marketplace 33 years ago, they took me into their circle and kept stroking my hair and holding my hand. They said I will find what I am looking for…

Here, the men of the village all had something to say: “Ah, The orphanage is no longer here.” “The police station has moved.” “The church is over there…no, it’s that way.” “My son is living in Atlanta.” “Have some rice cakes.”

We finally happened on a motorcyclist with boxes of hot rice cakes. He drew a map to the Star of the Sea…

But when we got there, a nun told us there were 2 and only one still exists…We have to go back to the beginning, no passing Go, no stopping at the Community Chest, and definitely no Chance!
star of the sea

We also went to an “underground” cooking class and spent the last of the evening at JaSeng Hospital of Oriental Medicine while I exprienced Chuna Therapy and acupuncture for acute stress…Dr. Royer was asking very personal questions about my health while Roy was filming. When it got to having to prick my abdomen and talk about my daily “functions” I told Roy no more shooting.
Here are Roy and Mike after a long (and final) day of shooting,and searching…

Roy and Mike

3 comments... read them below or add one


  1. May 12, 2008 8:59 am by jenanime Reply

    I think it’s great that you are on this journey. I hope that you are learning a lot about Korea and also that you are enjoying yourself. I love that the three ladies tried to help you and comfort you – very self-less of them.

  2. May 15, 2008 11:17 pm by marilesp Reply

    Kim, I am deeply moved by your efforts to reconnect with the place of your birth and earliest experience. I am looking forward to reading your book; it’s on my list. I am not an orphan, but my mother, who disappeared in 1995, was Japanese and I can understand your unremitting longing for a Motherland (for mother/land of the mother) that can never be sated:

    “As we walked through the stalls, I remembered why I am heartsick in port cities–You can smell the sea and all the water that divides…” I, too, have felt it.

    All good wishes on your journey.


    Mari L’Esperance
    author of The Darkened Temple, winner of the 2007 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry
    (forthcoming from University of Nebraska Press in Fall 2008),673946.aspx

  3. May 26, 2008 5:42 am by hongseok Ro Reply

    I’m in your blog!!(the very first and second pictures)

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