Angela works at a Korean newspaper in Koreatown, where she oversees the website and other media. She has several years of media experience, having worked at MBC and other newspaper agencies. She is a resident at KYCC’s Menlo Family Apartments, where she lives with her four children. Angela was an elder participant in the Koreatown Storytelling Program.
Where is your hometown?
I have lived in many different places, like outside of Koreatown. I have lived in Korea, Torrance, and Victorville. I immigrated from Korea in 2007 because my business in Korea failed and for my children’s education. I came with my husband and my two kids.
After I settled in the States, I had two more kids. Currently, there are four children, and their dad is not in the picture. It’s just me.
When I first came to America, the word that appeared in my head was “survive”. No matter what the situation was, I had to survive for my kids and myself. Initially, I struggled a lot financially; I think everyone can relate to that.
I was also old when I came to the U.S., so it was very hard for me to learn English. I went to an adult school with my kids to learn English. I overcame my hardships with my mental strength. I came to the U.S. without any base, so I was having a hard time financially. My family and finances got stabilized when I came to the Menlo Family Apartments. It has been really great.
Do you live or work in Koreatown?
I came to Koreatown because of the Menlo apartment. I was looking for low-income apartments, and I was introduced to Menlo.
It was hard for me to get jobs since I had small children; however, in 2012, I got my first job in Koreatown. Since I did not have any ability or base, I had to go to any company. Fortunately, there were several companies that needed extra workers at that time. I applied to some companies, and I got hired.
I originally worked at a customer service center, which was not only customer service but also accounting and basically everything, so the connections and experience helped me find work at a newspaper company. I have worked at MBC and several other media companies, so that helped me a lot to decide on my job. But right now, I work for a Korean newspaper. I have worked for a lot of newspaper companies, so it wasn’t difficult for me. Also, I think this job fits me well. I work in the customer service department. Overall, I manage the company’s websites and media.
How has COVID-19 affected your life?
My work hours shortened. However, since I am an “essential” worker, I still go, but my work hours and income decreased by 50 percent.
What do you think of the U.S. response to Covid-19?
I think there is a serious problem with it. I think their initial response was wrong. They could have stopped or reduced the virus from the beginning, but they missed the chance.
What are your thoughts on Koreatown?
When I first came to America, I lived in Koreatown, then went to Victorville, then came back to Koreatown, then went to Torrance, and finally came back to Koreatown. So, I don’t really remember my first impression of Koreatown. I was very busy at that time. But now, since I got help from KYCC and Menlo Family Center, I feel like Koreatown is a very good place. Here, I got a job, and my family is here, so Koreatown is my town. Therefore, I have very positive thoughts on Koreatown. My favorite memory is when I got to live in this apartment. Since I moved around so much, I felt much happier after I moved in safely.
Since I am raising small children, I’m in a situation where I have to stay here. Still, it is a really good place to care for my kids. Although I still have to work and run errands, I am always within a three-mile radius from my children.This kind of convenience in Koreatown means a lot to me. Especially because I don’t have any relatives to help me.
You told me that you once lived in Torrance before. How was Torrance?
The city of Torrance is a cool city with a beach and nature, but, to me, I don’t have a good memory of Torrance because I was in the shelter for about a year and a half due to domestic violence. It is a familiar city to me though.
Can you give advice to other Korean people who are willing to immigrate?
Well, a lot of things have changed, but one thing I want to say is that you can’t just immigrate to the U.S. with determination. It is really hard to get a job as an immigrant if you don’t have any family, money, or plan. It’s even hard for people who live here to get a job.
What is your favorite place in Koreatown?
In Koreatown, my neighborhood and home are my favorite place. I only go to work and home back and forth, so I don’t really know much about “places.” Also, it’s been a long time since my family went out to eat. I just want to go out and eat with my family. My children love eating Korean barbeque, and I love seafood. So I want to go to a place that serves both good barbeque and seafood.
I really like the beach. My favorite place in the U.S. is Vixen Beach. The weather was very hot when I visited, but it was very cool in the car with the windows open. Also, the harmony between the mountain and the beach was beautiful. The aroma from the trees was awesome, as well. My kids loved it, too. It was nice that there were some places to take a break, even in the middle of the driveway. If I have some time in the future, I want to visit Hawaii. Since I really love the beach, I want to live near the beach.