Myung-joo, I had mentioned earlier about in the performance in Songnae with Sul, and I think that’s the first time I mentioned her name in this blog. But this was not the first mention of her. Remember back when I told you about the woman who played Arirang for me during my first week there? That was Myung-joo. And her story is one that Hollywood couldn’t even write.
There was a story on BBC several years back about the North Korean refugee crisis. In it, they focus on her (under a pseudonym because she couldn’t use her real name at that time), and her life. She was living in China, working hard at a good paying job, while trying to maintain her secret about being an illegal resident there. She had been caught and sent back to North Korea once. She was pregnant at the time, and when she returned to NK, they forced her to have an abortion.
After escaping and returning to China again, she got pregnant again. When she gave birth, there were complications. Her son had cerebral palsy. Being stateless himself, and illegal herself, she couldn’t provide for him the treatment needed for his defects, and had to make a tough decision: to leave him behind in China, and escape to South Korea, earn money to bring him there, and then get him treated there.
Every parent that reads this: think about that for a second. In order to save your child, you have to leave them, and risk them being caught, or you being caught and killed yourself. How many of you have the heart to do this?
Since that story aired, both had made it to Seoul. Both were at Durihana. And Myung-joo had found a man that loved her, and cared for and treated her son like he was his own. And on that Saturday, they were married. I had the opportunity to witness it.
Now it was done at a wedding hall, and while I have a certain problem with wedding halls after witnessing a wedding there now (It’s like a conveyor belt for weddings, almost takes the personality out of the entire ceremony, and they played ABBA in the middle of the wedding), to see them so happy, after such a life to get to that point, was a blessing in itself.