Jane Doe is a mother of two children. She currently runs a clothing business in Koreatown. She was born in South Korea and moved to the United States with her brothers when she was twenty years old. She studied Biochemistry at San Francisco State University. After graduating from college, she decided to dwell in the States. She moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles Koreatown due to her marriage in 2001.
Where is your hometown?
I was born in Yeosu, Korea. Yeosu is a city that I grew up in until I went to the United States for college. Yeosu is known for fishing. People often come to Yeosu just to fish. My family also fished a lot on the weekends. Yeosu was considered a countryside when I was growing up. But now, it has become a city known for its luxury hotels and beautiful ocean.
What are your thoughts on Koreatown?
I think it is a small version of Korea placed in a foreign country. For me, I don’t like Koreatown because it does not give me the feelings of America. I really liked the feelings that America gave me when I was living in San Francisco. When my children graduate high school, I am planning to leave Koreatown.
What were the hardships that you went through as an immigrant?
I will say language was the major hardship that I went through. Since I came here to study abroad, I am not as fluent as people who were born here. So I had some trouble with speaking English. Culture and racism were other barriers for me as an immigrant.
Why did you come to the U.S.?
I was working in Singapore while my two kids were living in the Philippines. I didn’t want to miss their lives. I had to make sure the family was together, and the only way to do that was to come here. I first came here as a tourist, and then checked with my friends’ employers and applied. From there KGD, my employer, petitioned for my H-1B which is the visa application.
Do you live or work in Koreatown?
I currently run a clothing business in K-Town. I started this job because I got motivated when I was working part-time at a small clothing shop in San Francisco. These days, running the clothing business got harder due to the current situation like COVID and protests. I am worried my shop will be looted.
Is your clothing business affected by COVID-19?
Yes, it is affecting me massively. The first month of the quarantine was the worst. In general, my monthly salary had decreased by 90%. So I had to put my products online so people could buy it easily. Now my salary is not that bad compared to the first month of the quarantine, but it’s still worse than the salary before quarantine. I wish I could go back before Covid-19 happened.
Could you tell me about your favorite memories?
Years at the university is my favorite memory. Today, I am just a normal worker and a mother of someone, but back then when I was in university, it was the most impressive period of my life. Working and studying in another country was impressive, and learning another culture was interesting as well. Additionally, getting along with friends from other countries and backgrounds was extremely good. There were friends from Vietnam, Japan, Mexico, Costa Rica, China, and Indonesia. One time, I went to Mystery Spot in San Jose with my friends. It was a spot where gravity was working very weirdly. There was a flat wooden table, and one of the workers measured its surface with a tool to show us that it is a flat table. Everyone thought it was a flat and horizontal table. But, as soon as the worker put a ball on the surface, it started to go to one corner of the table. It eventually fell off. It was so shocking to me and my friends. The measuring tool indicated that the table was flat and horizontal! Also, there was another flat wooden table that was low. The height of the table was about 10 inches. The worker told me and my friends to go up there. So all seven of us did. Suddenly, the smallest guy in our group became the tallest, and I, the tallest, became the shortest person on the table. But, as soon as we got out of the table, everything became normal. The worker explained that this place was used by some of the Native American Chief to display their power to people. I was confused at first. Then, I kind of thought the science that we know these days might not be true.
Was it hard for you to move around as an international student?
Yes, it was really hard to go around different places in the United States. I even had to care for two younger brothers, who were attending university in the States with me. It was literally hard work for me to adventure in a foreign country. But, I think the adventures that I went through were worth my energy and time. I really am grateful for all of those experiences and memories that I will never be able to experience again.
Where is your favorite place in Koreatown?
My favorite place is Griffith Observatory. I like that place because I get to know about the stars and run on the nice tracking course. Also, it feels great to go up there and look down the whole LA. It makes me feel that I am really in America.