In a few months, we are moving to Seoul, Korea.
My partner Tenzin and I both arrived in the United States as international students. A stateless Tibetan born and raised in India, Tenzin came to the States in 2009 to earn his bachelors at MIT, began graduate work in physics at Michigan State University, and conducted research for his PhD in a national lab in Chicagoland. A daughter of the South Korean mainstream whose memories of sexual abuse in childhood led to feminist consciousness, I came to the States in 2014 to study feminist jurisprudence with Professor Catharine A. MacKinnon at the University of Michigan Law School, passed the Illinois bar, and have been involved in feminist activism and creative writing, as well as some research and legal practice.
Along the way, we welcomed two little ones to our family, a boy and a girl. They each have a Tibetan name and a Korean name, and the State of Illinois permitted us to give them the last name Jung, which is the last name of my maternal grandmother. We shall see whether the Republic of Korea will permit the same. The current law requires that children be given the father’s last name, unless there is a premarital agreement to give the mother’s last name. No mention as to whether it is possible to give the mother’s maternal grandmother’s last name…
The last four years in Trump’s Amerika have been enlightening, to say the least. Recent political events promise hope. However, for a young family without any relatives close by, this global pandemic is simply too much to live through on our own. And so, onwards we go. Almost seven years after leaving Seoul for Ann Arbor, I will return to my motherland, bringing loved ones and several transnational feminist projects with me.