David Foster Wallace Tells TCKs to Chill

Coping with a major identity crisis, having a constant feeling of restlessness, feeling like you’re never going to feel at home.. these are only a couple of issues that plague TCKs.

I know that I struggled to “identify” myself.

I was Korean. Then I was American. Then I was Chinese. Then I was a Korean expat. Then I was an American expat. Then I was a half-donkey, half-bunny alien that struck Earth due to a freak meteorite that hit my spaceship.

The point is, I struggled because I really sought to finalize my identity. I was sick of shifting and redefining, readjusting to new groups and new standards. I wanted to reach the final version of myself ASAP.

Most kids might feel this way. But I’m guessing no one really feels the urgency to resolve this internal conflict more than TCKs. All I wanted to do was to be able to tell my story in one sentence, not a series of buts, ums, and wells.

I’ve, of course, either really learned to embrace my fluid identity.. or maybe I just grew tired and stopped caring. Either way, I don’t obsess about it as much as I used to. I no longer let my lack of a concrete identity define my worth.

This leads me to David Foster Wallace. Random, I know. But stick with me.

An incredibly famous and successful author, Wallace delivered the commencement speech at Kenyon College in 2005. This now very famous speech later became a book titled This Is Water. To read the full commencement speech, you can read it here.

Overall, this is a powerful message to be sending to newly minted graduates. It’s practically optimistic, cautionary in regards to common pitfalls in life, and provides a unique and refreshing framework to addressing adult life and not the overused cliches of “Don’t settle” and “Follow your dreams!”

However, the part that really struck with the TCK in me is this passage:

…pretty much anything…you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough…Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you..Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it’s that they’re unconscious.

How powerful is that to have someone lay out the truth that everybody secretly knows? How powerful is it to be freed from irrelevant constructs we erect in our minds over time that actually chip away our souls instead of feeding it?

The truth is, the more my identity got blurred, the more I desperately worshipped it and its value. I used it as a standard to judge myself and my worth. I let it kill me and I didn’t even know it was happening.

As Wallace goes on to say,

The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.

Freedom from our unconscious worship can only be freed from actively confronting the truth. The truth about what’s worth real value and how we’re choosing to evaluate ourselves. When you drill into the essence of the ideas you worship, you find a cloud of smokes hiding emptiness and meaninglessness. And when we uncover the facade, we can finally let go.


TCK Goes to Songdo

TCK Goes to Songdo

Thank you, the month of May, for giving us a glorious 5-day weekend! Originally, I wanted to visit Taiwan to see my best friend, but that didn’t happen so I was left with almost a week of no solid plans. Still, I decided to make the most out of the long weekend and planned a day trip to Songdo.

Songdo, located near Incheon, is approximately 2 hours away from Seoul by subway, so I thought it would make the perfect destination for a quick day trip. To get there from Seoul, you’ll have to take Line 7 all the way to the last station (Bupyeong-gu Office) and transfer to the Incheon 1 Line. (see English subway map here) Read More

How to prevent sickness before a vacation

How to prevent sickness before a vacation

You’ve been counting down the days for months, and you have just one week to go until your vacay aaaaaaaand ATCHOO!! Great, now you’re sick. Has this happened to anyone before? Because I’ve definitely been a victim of this tragic situation and I totally understand the frustration. Getting sick before a vacation and (even worse) carrying that sickness to your vacation is just not ideal.

My boyfriend and I have this thing when we reach around 2 weeks countdown until our next reunion, we really push each other to stay healthy and not get sick. We really don’t like waiting months to see each other and end up one of us being sick, because who does??? Read More

How to spend a productive long weekend

How to spend a productive long weekend

Long weekends are amazing, without a doubt, and one is fast approaching here in Korea (tomorrow to be exact). Unless you have a getaway planned (lucky you), chances are you’ll be spending it as you would on a regular weekend. I, for one, don’t want to feel like “where the hell did the long weekend go?” next Monday, and I’m sure you don’t either. Therefore, I’ve committed myself to making sure this long weekend is as productive as possible. This doesn’t mean full-on work mode like the weekdays – this is a break, after all – but making sure the following Monday, you’ll feel like you just absolutely killed it. Here are some things to keep in mind: Read More

TCK Goes to Oahu 2017

TCK Goes to Oahu 2017

Ahh… another dream vacation has passed. I kicked off the month of April with a week in the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii. This was my 4th time going to Oahu, yet each visit always feels fresh, like there’s something new to be offered. I love that Hawaii has something for everybody. There’s the beach, hiking, shopping, restaurants… And anywhere you go will feel like you’re in paradise, thanks to the crystal clear blue sky, the sun, and the ocean breeze. I was super lucky to have my boyfriend, who is originally from Hawaii, plan the majority of the week. It’s always great to have a local show you around! Read More

Cafe Sapoon Sapoon

Last weekend, Soyoon and I decided to take advantage of the warmer weather and spend our “blogging day” out. I conducted a quick Naver search to find a cafe nearby and there was one particular place that seemed promising. Read More

The Best and Worst Things About Being Back Home

After relocating back “home” (the country that I have a passport from), I experienced reverse culture shock. It wasn’t all smooth sailing so here I present to you the five best and worst things about being back “home.”   Read More

What’s in my carry-on pouch

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I’ve been really obsessed with minimalism and multi-tasking lately, especially when it comes to beauty items. I’m scheduled to go to Beijing (for work) then Hawaii within a few weeks, and I thought I would share some of my must-have beauty items to carry on with me on the plane!

Read More

11 things that always happen when you’re Skyping

I love Skype. It has made my life so much more convenient because I can literally talk to anyone wherever and whenever. As a dedicated Skype user of 10+ years, I’ve come to label certain things as “Skype things,” meaning, these “things” always or almost always happen when you’re Skyping. If you’re an avid Skype user (or dependant) like me, you’ve probably familiar with some of these. Here are just a few: Read More