Lee So-won, Achieved Her Dream of Becoming a Writer

Lee So-won | Lonely but Not Unfortunate | Hanyang University Erica Graduated

It's a very old memory, but I have a happy one with my dad, mom, and younger sister. Thanks to my father, who was a police officer at the time, we were rich enough to have everything we wanted, but soon, my family started struggling because of the continued requests for help from my relatives. When he heard somewhere he could make a lot of money by getting on a boat, my father asked my mother if she could lend him money to buy a boat. My mom went around the town and started borrowing money to fulfil my dad's dream.

Then one day, my mother did not come back home. We thought she would return home in a day or two, but that became a month and then a whole year. I was nine years old at the time, but I had to welcome my stepmother without any time to accept my mom’s absence. Because she was missing, my father was also advised to resign from the police. My father, who lost his job and his wife, soon remarried because he had to feed me and my younger brother. Not so long after his re-marriage, he was able to ride the boat he had wanted for a long time, but a big wave swallowed the boat my dad was in. He never returned home.

At the age of 10, my sister and I became orphans all of a sudden. To make things worse, we even lost our last hope, the house. We had nowhere to go, so I went to my grandmother's house and my sister went to my aunt's house. During this time, I was hurt by my grandmother's dementia and ended up moving to my aunt's house.

I was happy that I could stay with my sister after a long time. Then I got a call from my mother. My aunt said that my mom misses me very much and asked me if I wanted to go to the place where my mom was. This is how I went to China (Qingwen), to see my mother who I deeply missed over the years.

I learned that my mom was remarried in China, and that I even have a half-sister. I was happy to meet my mom after almost 10 years. After spending quite some time, mom wanted to see my sister as well. She went with my stepfather to Jangbaek Mountain, the border area of North Korea, to pick up my sister. But a few days later, only my stepfather returned home. According to him, my mother was sent back to North Korea because she had no Chinese identification.

It broke my heart that we are separated again. I persuaded my stepfather to save my mother by sending money to North Korea, but we got frauded twice. My relationship with my stepfather got worse day by day, and I had to leave his place at one point to survive.

I could come over to South Korea in 2012 through a broker introduced by my acquaintance. At the time of my arrival, I was still a teenager without any affiliations, so I stayed in an alternative school and prepared for the qualification exam, as well as the university entrance exam, and as a result, I was admitted to the university. While attending school, I made a living by continuously working part-time jobs and working on campus at the same time. After graduating college, I got a job and now I am an everyday office worker.

I achieved my dream of becoming a writer by publishing an essay titled "Lonely, but Not Unfortunate." The message I want to convey through this book is that there is no one in this world without a story nor a pain. Perhaps, the only differences we have would be the personal depth of the pain and the story. I have always lived a loner's life since I was young, and I once thought there was no one in the world who could help me. But in retrospect, I always had someone's help in the past. In other words, I may have been lonely, but not unfortunate.

My next work will be a novel. In the future, I will take a step further as a writer to communicate with more readers and become a writer who can empathize with someone's mind, if not comfort them.

  • Hobbies: Traveling, watching movies, listening to music, and eating
  • Favorite Figure: Haemin Sunim
  • Favorite Quote: Our greatest teacher is learning from relationships.
  • Favorite Places: the sea, glamorous cities, and the vintage architecture.
  • Favorite color: yellow, green, purple
  • Collection: Collecting letters, photographs, collecting novels

Buy Sowon's book here. 

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