I Am KoreAm: Soo Jin Lee
Name: Soo Jin Lee
Location: Austin, TX
Occupation: Adoption/Foster Recruitment for Dept. of Family Protective Services
Where did you grow up? I grew up in Denton, Tex., a city an hour away from Dallas.
What do you do for fun? Kayaking, rock climbing, gardening, hanging out with friends and family.
What does your typical day consist of? Work, cooking food for my hard-working husband, and playing “mom” to my four cats.
Tell us a little bit more about your job. I strive to find “permanent” loving homes for the children in Texas. I have found that there is a market for Korean-speaking social workers. I have been using my knowledge of my Korean heritage and helping Korean families get accustomed to adopting.
I think that Koreans in general are not for adoption, but since I have taken over the Asian demographics, I have helped to get eight Korean children, five Chinese, five Vietnamese, and 10 Japanese children adopted out to families that speak the language.
I think it’s important for these children to understand and learn about their history.
What is a good thing happening in your life fight now? What makes it good? I am finally at a stable place in my life where I can pay back my parents for all the years of support they gave me. I just gifted them with Cirque du Soleil tickets, which they love.
Tell us about the worst moment from last week. My neighbor’s cat got killed and I witnessed it, so I offered to bury the cat and clean it up … you can’t expect a fellow cat owner to scrape your own cat off the road and bury it.
Tell us about something that makes you different from anyone in the world. I am different than anyone else, because I make it a priority to call my parents and emos and samchuns [aunts and uncles] every day… people call me crazy, but I am just as close to my emo as my parents.
Do you believe in ghosts? Totally.
What did you like best about your hometown? My mom and dad live there. I miss living with my mom and smelling all her yummy Korean food.
What is one thing that worries you the most? Mortality and not living to see an Asian president.
What would you like be said at your funeral? That I was fun, a loyal friend, a faithful daughter and sister and a jam-tastic wife.
If you had to describe yourself using three words … It would be committed, fun, loyal.
If someone made a movie of your life, what genre would it be? I would definitely be a comedy.
Name one of your favorite things about someone in your family. I like my cousin, Young Suk. He is so funny and honest. He is always looking for the best in everyone.
If you were an animal, what would you be and why? I would be a flying squirrel. I harvest and hoard all kinds of silly things. Chopsticks, marbles, troll dolls.
What are your pet peeves or things about you that you dislike? I don’t like the fact that I second-guess myself all the time.
What are your favorite hobbies? Kayaking, gardening, and watching movies.
What’s your favorite thing to do in the summer besides kayaking? Swimming and tennis.
What is the ideal job for you? I would LOVE to be a rockstar … however I couldn’t carry a tune if I tried.
Tell us about a unique or quirky habit of yours. I can type faster than anyone … freakishly fast. I also can flip pancakes so high and not drop them.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? I would like to see myself opening up my own adoption/foster care agency for minorities or a counseling center for at-risk youth.
What do you do when you are feeling very sad or depressed? I try to listen to fun funk music or I’ll watch the sappiest Korean drama possible so I can feel better about not having a brain tumor and finding my true love only to lose them in a freak train accident or something.
What is the craziest thing you have ever done? I partook in a race called the Mud Run last year. It was a giant dirty disaster that was fun and exhilarating.
I Am KoreAm and proud because… My parents brought me up to respect and love my Korean culture but to also embrace my American heritage as well.