Utter Stranger

Sophomore, Economics Major

In Korea, 생면부지 (pronounced “Ssaeng-myun-boo-jee”) is a word that literally means “wet noodle land,” but that’s not what it means at all. I learned the true meaning of the word from my grandfather, Park Byung Soo, who escaped from North Korea in the winter of 1947. He told me that the word really means “utter stranger.” The word has resonated with me during different times in my life. Separated from all my friends and family who were on the other side of the country, I’ve felt like I was in exile. Not only do I look and act differently than others, but many of my passions often did not resonate with my peers. I have been that wet noodle, that utter stranger, but there is beauty in that.

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