I was absorbed in a few videos on the Youtube tonight, two of which I have linked in this post. For a long time, I just heard things about North Korea – news occasionally filtered through from my South Korean-born parents, snappy snippets from media outlets, and word spread off-handedly from others, just enough to get the gist. A few years ago in college, when my curiosity about the world was gushing and my college reading and research assignments were absolutely not enough (yeah right), I went out of my way to educate myself about the stories of North Korea. I watched documentaries with my eyes glued to the screen balling, I listened intently to interviews, and I read stories shaking with fear for the people of this nation; then it all became so unbelievably real and it was heartbreaking to say the least. Yet, there is still so much I don’t know. I feel helpless and saddened every time. However, through all of those strong and confusing emotions, I think that sharing stories like Yeon-Mi Park’s (below) is progress and it is creating awareness to spark empowerment and compassion in hopes that one day there will come a dramatic change.

On a side note, this really, really makes me wonder about our world and the information we are unwittingly provided versus the vast world of events and stories that go unnoticed or never told.

“I don’t want her to live with self-pity. I want her to be confident, to embrace other people.”

Yeon-Mi has experienced so much pain and things you can’t even begin to imagine, yet she is radiant and unwaveringly courageous. Her story is incredibly empowering and worth your watch. Here, she opens up more about her struggle:

Our curiosity to know about celebrity gossip is relentless, yet we learn about stories, such as Yeon-Mi’s a year later or even several years after. Shit’s hard to grasp aka goes beyond your emotional capacity to handle, and takes up a bit of your time. So what? If we don’t have human compassion, then how are we supposed to understand or how do we even begin to live among others?

I truly think it is a privilege to grow up and live in this melting pot of a country (U.S.A.) – especially the Bay Area, y’all. I go to my neighboring grocery store, and I hear 4 different languages and that’s SO normal. And even if you’re not from the states, social media and technology (Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat, and etc.) has opened us up to a world outside we wouldn’t have dreamed of a few decades ago. That’s pretty f*cking amazing.

I want to learn about people who grew up in a different part of the world from me. I want to hear their raw and personal stories that range from evoking emotions such as happiness and honor to treachery and terror. I believe that stories connect us. That is why I wanted to share the stories I watched today.

Thank you for reading my spontaneous late-night post.