Part I: As a Korean-American I grew up in two very different cultures and spent my whole life trying to find a balance between them. In terms of rituals of transition in the U.S., I believe going to college is a very big part of the culture. It’s a sign of independence and leaving the nest and comfort of home. College is where people experience many things for the first time like responsibility, time management, sexual encounters, people with different values, and different cultures. It’s a time where some individual finds more of themselves and makes the first big life decisions. In Korean culture, a ritual of transition is getting married and living with the husband or husband’s family. It is common for Korean women to live with their parents throughout college and even when they get their first job until they find a husband. Traditionally the newlyweds are taken into the husband’s parent’s house, but nowadays couples live on their own. This is a big step for Korean women because they must get used to life without their parents while juggling the issues that come up as a wife. I believe for both cultures when a woman has a child, they go through a significant transition in life. Though childbearing is more emphasized in Korean culture, women around the world face great changes when they start having children. Korean culture pushes women to have children, and older women often talk about how important it is for one to have their own child. Motherhood is a totally new stage in womanhood and puts women through different challenges that mature and grow them as people.
Part II: From the list above, the rituals of transition that I’ve gone through are going to college and getting married. Society says one is appropriate for my age and that the other isn’t, but I’ve learned to make my own way. I’m in an interesting place in my life because it is a season full of changes and transitions. The ritual of transition I’ll be focusing on here is marriage. Being married for about a month has already presented many challenges and changes in my life. Going through the wedding day itself was somewhat of a blur. It didn’t feel real at the time, and to some extent it hasn’t fully hit me now. I just felt like I had a very good day with my best friends and I got to see almost everyone I love in the world. During the reception my husband and I performed a traditional Korean ceremony called “Paebaek,” where the newlyweds pay respects to the families. It was during the ceremony when I really felt the merging of two families and they life will certainly be different after this day. Just one month later, I am still very joyful through there have been many hardships along the way (such as sickness mentioned in the past blog post). Though I learned about the roles and responsibilities of a wife before the wedding, it has truly been a welcomed challenge to fully show my love and support through the thick and thin.
Part III: The idea of belonging-liminality-belonging in relation to my college experience can be sectioned as high school community, finding new community, and college community. A big part of my life is the people I am surrounded by, so I believe my college experience can be defined as so. Before college, I don’t think I knew what it meant to be a good friend or how to make friends. I just hanged out with the people around me and had very few deep relationships. Coming to college I met so many new people in different clubs and even tried things I never knew I would do. After all the noise of freshman year, I found a small community that supported me well and grew me as a person. Until I found that group I was in a sort of limbo where I didn’t commit to anywhere and had very shallow relationships. As the end of my college career approaches, I’ve found stability in the people around me and have strong relationships I know will last a lifetime. Some explicit messages I received as an incoming college student is to try everything, make as many friends as possible, and be in a relationship. Some implicit messages were to know everyone in hope to make connections for the future, and that college was going to be the main source of friends in life. Some of these messages I found true, but some are false. Mainly, that college is one of the only places to find lifelong friends. I believe that many people find friends after college as who they are as people becomes more established. Life is full of different transitions and seasons of belonging, and I await the next season and what it’ll bring.