From 1984-87, I lived and worked as a journalist in Seoul, though I returned to Wisconsin from May 1985 to February 1986. When I returned to Korea, I took on two jobs in journalism-related work, both arranged by the same publisher. I also met some women that would play key roles in my life.
Before I’d left Yonhap in Spring 1985, I assisted in application processes for two International Desk reporters – Mr. Kim Chang-Hoe (who soon interned for the Baltimore Sun), and Jo Jae-Pil (who’d taught Korean to David Johns and me, and who soon attended graduate school at the University of Michigan). I wrote and/or re-wrote their letters and statements of purpose; and I wrote my own letter of recommendation for each, too.
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I returned to Wisconsin in May 1985, to recharge my energy, and get feeling better. After my health had improved later that year, while I interned for the La Crosse County Historical Society, I sent two letters to Mr. Kim Kyong-Hoe, publisher of Business Korea in Seoul, in the hope of landing a job with his organization. Mr. Kim was one of the top English-language publishers in Korea; he’d graduated several years before from Korea’s Sogang University, Korea’s top Catholic school. He’d been a sponsor of Ms. Kim Young-Im’s Pine Hill photo-show, and she’d introduced me to him in that spring. Both my letters were returned to me, marked undeliverable.
I wrote Ms. Kim next, and she sent me the correct address for Mr. Kim. I wrote him, and he wrote a letter to me, stating he had not one job for me, but two. I would work for him 30 hours a week at Business Korea; and I would work three 3-hour shifts each week for the Korea Trade Promotion Corporation (KOTRA). Both jobs would entail copy-editing, and the KOTRA job also involved speech-memo writing, while the Business Korea job would also include reporting. In fact, I was named chief copy editor and reporter for Mr. Kim’s magazine.
I prepared my passport and visa, but four days before I was scheduled to board my plane, my back went out royally. I’d never been to a chiropractor before, but my mom had. She arranged an appointment; I went, and felt better almost immediately. I boarded my plane on-time, and arrived in Seoul in decent shape.
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