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The Life of Jin Kim

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S: The Life of Jin Kim

FC: The Life of Jin Kim | By: Jin Kim

1: The Life of Jin Kim | By: Jin Kim

2: Penguin Publications Copyright 2011 by Jin Kim No part of these documents may be reproduced without the permission of the author.

3: Preface | This is an autobiography describing the life and times of Jin Kim from when I was born April 10th, 1995 in Korea, to now in America as a 16 year old. A lot of the autobiography is things that affect me greatly over my 16 years of life. From the joy of playing guitar, and playing games, to the despair of losing a friend. It shows my dreams of the future and the goal of my life.

4: Forward from James Park | This is the autobiography of my beloved friend whom I have known for four years, Jin Kim. He's loving and humble; his personality truly shows in all that he does, and he is also very gregarious. This autobiography shows much of what shaped the friend that I hold dearly, from where he's met me in the sixth grade to the path he wants to pursue in the future. I am sure he is going to be one of my lifelong friends.

5: Dedication Page | This autobiography is dedicated to my Mother who has never given up on me and works hard everyday to raise my sister and I.

6: Chapter One: Trip to America | I was born in Seoul, Korea on April 10th, 1995. In Korea, I spoke Korean, learned Korean, and was fully aware of only Korean culture. I lived for 9 years before coming to America. In Korea, I learned to respect older people, and how to make friends. I was a crazy child that was full of energy.I was excited for everything. In Korea, I loved to be with my cousins and extensive family. They were a big part of my life in Korea because I got to see them almost every week in Seoul. They taught me the bond of family, and that family should always be together. In 2004, I was making a big transition. I was 5 years old living as a kindergartener in Seoul, Korea. At the time, I only cared for dinosaurs and toys. One day, my parents were packing up all our cloths. I had no idea what was going on. My mother told me in Korean, “Jin Sung, we’re going to move to America. It’ll be a big change for us. You’ll have a new language, and friends okay?” I asked my mother if my cousins, uncles, aunts, and grandparents were coming with us. With that, mom got teary eyed as she told me they were going to stay in Korea. I started screaming out complaints and putting a fit, like the little kid I was, and said we should stay in Korea. My efforts were futile, as two weeks later we were in Seoul airport.

7: All our extensive family members, from my father and mother's side, were there. 46 people were there to see us off. There were many hugs and kisses as we said our last goodbyes. We got on board the plane and I was extremely curious and scared of the huge machine. It was my first time on a plane, and it would be a long 16 hour trip. The engines roared, the plane sped up, and it took off into the air. By then I was dumbstruck, frightened, and most of all curious. How could such a huge piece of machinery fly? I could not continue my thoughts as I slowly drifted asleep. I had used up all my energy being excited about the plane. After about 3 hours, my mother woke me up. She told me to look outside to see the water. “Water,” I thought, “wait, how?” I was very confused about what was going on. I quickly looked outside to see the blue mass below. I was simply amazed in the combination of hydrogen and oxygen creating the blue substance. Another spectacle was found in the trip. I checked off all the new information in my head. Airplane, check, ocean, check. I had a good feeling about the rest of the trip. What other amazing things would I find that I’ve never seen before? Where is this place that we have to go across an ocean to get to? I was desperately bored on the airplane for about an hour, but I had finally found entertainment. “Shrek” was the movie on the big screen in the airplane. I put on my earphones as I expected to hear Korean speaking cartoon characters.

8: I was surprised to hear random gibberish of sounds in my ear, otherwise known as English. It was my first encounter with the language as I watched the cartoon green monster and donkey dance around on the screen. After 9 more hours of sleep and looking out to see the landscape, we finally arrived in America. We landed in the Los Angeles airport in California and got out the see our new home. I was extremely afraid. People were speaking some kind of strange language, and words written on signs were incomprehensible. What was going on? I had clearly not listened to my mother when she explained in detail of the trip. I clung on to my mother’s leg as we went through inspection to go through to the baggage return. We got our bags and were about to leave the airport, when I noticed one particular sign. The sign said “Hot Dogs” and even though I was not very good at English, I could read some of it. I saw people eating some kind of long bread with meat in it. “Gross! Americans eat dogs?” I thought as I went out the door and entered America.

11: Chapter 2: Jin's Mandala | My mandala is a direct visual representation of who I am. The big headphones around the circle, and the guitars show my everlasting love for the musical arts. The ying-yang, strips, and red, blue, and white colors represents my pride for my birthplace, Korea. These also show the Korean flag. The clock, telescope, stars, and chemical substances show my love and curiosity for science and thirst for knowledge. The sports equipment to the right, show my dedication to sports and exercise. The cross is my faith in the Christian God. The four hearts around it stand for my love for my family, Jesus, friends, and animals. These are all metaphorical representations of who I am.

12: Chapter Three: First Day of Torture (American School) | In 2001 I was living in a small apartment home in Springfield, Virginia. I was still quite new to America having only moved here a year ago. I couldn't speak or understand English very well. I was a small, Asian kid with no idea what was going on around me, and I was about to start my first year in an American school. At first, I was extremely excited and curious about Rolling Valley Elementary School. My mother had bought me a backpack, pencils, paper, notebooks, and binders. It was all the materials I saw my older sister, Helen, buy ever September. Everyday I would ask mom when school would start. I'd get up early in the morning, put on my backpack and walk on the sidewalk pretending to go to school. Finally, after a week of waiting, the first day of school arrived. I awoke early, like I practiced, and put all my school materials into my backpack. I quickly went to the kitchen, gobbled up toast into my tiny mouth, and then ran out the door. "It's not time yet Jin Sung," my mother shouted after me. However I didn't want to wait any longer. I ran to the bus stop where no one else was waiting, and waited in uncontrollable excitement.

13: Other students finally came out to the bus stop after about 10 minutes. "New people!" I thought. I could hardly contain my excitement when I saw a skinny, and small Hispanic kid my age, come and stand next to me. "Hi," he said, "I'm Pedro. What's your name?" It took me a full 3 seconds to think about what he said. It took another 3 seconds to think of a response. "Oh! I'm Jin. Are you in first grade too?" I asked in broken English. He told me he was in first grade and asked me what cartoons I liked. I told him I liked "Pokemon," and he told me he loved "Batman." We talked about cartoons all the way to school. I had made my first friend in America! When we arrived to school, Pedro went to his class and I went to mine. He told me he'd see me on the bus later. I read my slip of paper telling me to go to room 412. I walked down the hallway thinking that the school was big. I met my teacher at the doorway. "Hello there! I'm Miss Martha your teacher. What's your name?" asked Miss Martha. I told her my name was Jin and sat down. There were 15 other kids in the class. We started by introducing ourselves. Miss Martha asked us for our names and hobbies. Afterwards, we did some math. Two plus two equals four. It was easy for me. However, we then started English. I was very slow at learning the language and read extremely slow. I was too shy to ask for help and too shy to make friends unlike Pedro. However, Miss Martha was a benevolent teacher and was patient with me.

14: After running around in recess, the first day of school was finally over. I took the bus home. I was quite disappointed in school. I thought it would be more fun than being confused about what a noun was. Pedro talked to me about how his day was on the bus. He said he made tons of friends, school was awesome, and that learning English was too easy. I said the day went the same for me. It was going be a long year, I thought, at least I have Pedro. | Miss Martha and Jin

15: This is a wordle I created to show words that describe me artistically and creatively. The bigger words show what I am like the most. This a an art showing what I want to be like in the future, and aspects of personality I believe I have right now. | Chapter 4: Wordle

16: Chapter 5: Grandfather | I was 10 years-old and living in Springfield, Virginia, when tragedy struck. My grandfather, my mother's father, passed away in Seoul, Korea. He had died of a heart attack after living for 75 years. Before the incident, my mother had called him and told him to go to the hospital because she knew he was ill. However, my grandfather was a stubborn and prideful man. He told my mother he was fine, and that he didn't require attention. I have very good memories of my grandfather. He took care of me when my mother and father were working. We'd roam the streets of Seoul, eating KFC as he told me old memories of Korea. I remember stealing sips of his sweetened coffee as he slept. I was curious of what he was drinking all the time. As a kid, he was like a hero to me. His entertaining stories of Korea and his knack of knowing where to go and what to do in the city of Seoul delighted me. When I heard the news of his death, I was looking upon the collapsed, and devastated figure of my mother, crying upon her knees. All my memories of him flashed back and hit me like a tidal wave. Soon, I was on the ground crying with my mother. I has lost a precious person in my life, that I had always taken for granted. This drastic, and dramatic event changed me even though I was only ten years old. I began thinking about death and why a person had to die. I wondered what happened to a person after death. At first, I was extremely confused and searched for answers. However, I realized the answers were right in front of me. My Sunday school teacher had told me about God, and life after death in heaven. I became more serious

17: about church and this mysterious figure named God. Who was this person that controlled everyone's lives and deaths? I was then extremely curious about God. I read the bible almost everyday. I learned about Jesus Christ and the perfect life he'd led to save me from sin. From Christianity I learned good morals, how to love others, and the reason humanity was given life. I now know that people go to heaven or hell after death. I wanted to live my life to worship my God. It felt like a weight had been lifted off my chest knowing my grandfather was in heaven. From his death, it led to me finding my purpose in life. As I lived more years on the earth, my faith in the Lord would sometimes dwindle and sometimes grow. However, like the love I had for my grandfather, I knew my faith in God would never fade.

18: Chapter 6: Family Tree

19: My family is the biggest support in my life. They help me get through everything, from when I get angry and when I get sad over something. Even if my friends aren't there to support me, my family always will. Living with my mother, father, and sister has taught me that family unity is one the most important things in the world and that one family member should always support another.

20: Chapter 7: Music | When I was very small, and just a baby, my mother used to put on classical music for me to listen. All kinds of master orchestrators, such as, Bach, Mozart, and Chopin, flooded my ears. When I asked my mother why she used to play classical music, she told me it calmed me down, and sometime I would just fall asleep. Music, even though I was just a baby, would influence me from most of my life to the present, as a fifteen year old. As I grew up into my childhood years of five to eight years old, I didn't appreciate music as much, because all the music I listened to was classical music from my parents. I thought all music was extremely boring. It was just good for calming you down and sometimes giving you a headache. I hated music. I just thought it was annoying. When I became nine years old, I heard my first rock music, Jimi Hendrix's Voodoo Child. I loved the song. The fast rhythm, insane guitar solos. and Hendrix's scraggy voice fit perfectly with my hyper attitude. This was my first time hearing anything other than classical music. I was surprised that music could sound so different and fun. I always was used to the dramatic slurs of a violin and the deep thrums of the brass section. The shrill, fast, and amplified guitar sounds caught me by surprise. This is when I decided I would learn how to play the guitar someday.

21: At twelve years old, I asked my father what his favorite band was. He told me the "Beatles." I had never heard of that band before. I went online to Youtube to listen to one of their songs. The first "Beatles" song I listened to was "Hey Jude." I was immediately smitten with every amazing song I listened to. Soon, like my father before me, the "Beatles" became my favorite band. The "Beatles" taught me that music can carry emotion, such as, love, sadnees, happiness, and anger. When I was thirteen years old in seventh grade, I kept my promise and took guitar class with Mr. Ikner. I thought I could just pick up the guitar and start jamming. I was completely wrong. Guitar was difficult for me to learn. Coordinating my right hand fingers to my left hand fingers to play the correct notes took time. However, after three years of practicing, I finally got to be proficient at the guitar. Now, as a fifteen year old, I can quickly read and play notes and even write my own music. Music, and especially guitar songs, became a way for me to display emotion, in wonderful sounds and rhythm.

22: Chapter 8: Jin's Top 10 List | 1. Read fantasy and science fiction novels on a warm day under a tree. 2. Play and jam on the guitar 3. Play League of Legends, Starcraft, Minecraft, and other computer games with my friends. 4. Go to the beach with my family 5. Go skiing with my best friends, James Park and John Hwang. 6. Play basketball with friends. 7.Cook gourmet foods from scratch at home. 8.Search the internet for useful, and interesting information. 9. Sing Christian songs and all other kinds of songs. 10. Mountain bike and regular bike riding.

23: The top ten list shows all the stuff I love doing in my free time. A lot of it shows what kind of person I am, such as the fact that I love my friends. It shows my love for nature, the sea, family, games, and music. These are the things in life that truly make me happy.

24: Chapter 9: Mountains | When I was little, about five years old, and my father was younger, we would hike every Saturday up the mountain behind our apartment in Seoul, Korea. the mountain called Dobongsan, it's over 600 meters high. It took over two and a half hours to climb or hike all the way up the hike back down. I remember the crisp, ware, spring air and the rustling of the green leaves on the hiking trips. Animals, such as deer, owls, squirrels, snakes, and wild boars would occasionally pass by. It was one the greatest experiences of my childhood. In America, my father stopped hiking altogether. He worked twenty-four seven to earn money to support the family. However, one day he told the family that we were going hiking. On that Saturday, we traveled to the Shenandoah Valley to trek across it's mountains. As I got out of the car, I took a deep breath. It was there. The sweet and warm spring air embraced me like it did on Mt. Dobongsan. I looked around seeing all kinds of trees, squirrels, blue petunias blooming, and a start of a trail leading towards the top of the mountain. I was in a felicitous mood. We started up the trail slowly, step by step, over the rocks and tree roots. It was harder than I remembered, as I started panting for breath. It was only fifteen minutes into the hike and I was already tired. The sun, which seems warm before, was blazing hot, burning the back of my neck. We rested every thirty minutes, drinking water and Gatorade.

25: After an hour and 30 minutes of hiking, I finally saw the peak of one part of the blue ride mountain. "Ahhhh," I screamed as I ran my way up, jumping over rocks, shrubbery, and tree roots. The brilliant, white, hot sunlight bathed over me as I ran past the shade of the trees. The view was magnificent. Trees covered the landscape of miles. The leaves of the trees gave off their famous blue hue. It was pure wilderness. We stayed on the of the mountain top for ten minutes, relaxing on the hot cliff rocks and just enjoying the scenery. The hour and thirty minutes of tough hiking had been worth it. The mountains have been a huge connection of nature and me since I was five years old. It taught me to love nature and the whatever was natural, was beautiful. The mountains were where I learned that hard work produces exceptional rewards. The mountains were where I was part of nature as another organism of the world.

26: Chapter 10: Acrostic Poem | Joyful Interesting Nerdy Klutzy Intelligent Mellow

27: Even though my name is quite short, the letters can easily represent who I am. The first letter J represents joyful because that's the word that describes me the best. I am always joyful, even in hard times. I would consider myself interesting because unlike most average teens, I like to read. I am nerdy because I get straight A's.I am quite the klutzy person, making simple mistakes and tripping over my own shoe laces at times. I am intelligent considering I am not bias and learn from my mistakes. I am mellow because I tend to not stress out about big tests or projects from school.

28: Chapter 11: Exploding the Water (Exploding the Moment Essay) | The hot sun beat across my back, and the birds flew up ahead. I was in a comfortable position, but my muscles were tense. I was breathing fast and heavy. All over my body, I could feel cold dripping water. The trees on the shore, their leaves were rustling. As the freezing water hit my face, adrenaline pumped through my veins like wild fire. My back and bicep muscles were straining, working hard to get the paddle cutting swiftly into the water, making tiny tornadoes in the lake. The canoe was approaching the finish line faster than ever. My canoe partner in front of me was also piercing the water with his paddle, splashing the light, blue water into my face. He was sweating from every pore of his body. His back muscles tightened as he lifted the paddle, and thrust it into the lake. Unlike my mini tornadoes, Nick's strokes created huge waves of water exploding on towards the back of our canoe. Near the end of the finish line, people shouted and cheered. Their screams echoed across the water and flooded our ears. All we could hear was the exploding water and cheers. The canoe splashed and sped up. Suddenly, like a tsunami hitting the coastline, another canoe rammed ours. Bam! Our canoe groaned and creaked in complaint as it tipped to the left. Water rushed in the canoe

29: like a dam had broke, and soaked everything as the canoe merged with the water. The other canoe was luckier. It tipped to one side but the quickly rebalanced. It had gone in the wrong direction however. Our canoe, however, sank slowly down by it's left side. the side dipped into the water as the canoe flipped over. In the background I heard Nick cry out, "so close," as I got my one last look at the finish line. I smelled the water before hitting it. It smelled like fresh, green plants and fish. My left shoulder hit the cold water, like a thousand needles pricking my skin. It knocked me back to my senses. The adrenaline was completely gone and my tense muscles were loosened. As my head hit the water, the cold rushed into my brain and lungs. However, I only had one single thought echoing through my head, "so close."

30: Chapter 12: Recipe for Jin Kim | Ingredients: 500 cups of love 1065 cups of Asian culture 150 cups of smartness 75 cups of manliness 250 cups of niceness 60 cups of weirdness 100 cups of awesomeness 200 cups of music 50 cups of nerdiness | Instructions: Put smartness, manliness, niceness, and weirdness into a bowl and mix together well. Then add love and Asian culture slowly, drop by drop. Smooth it out by stirring. Put into oven at 450 degrees. Wait 2 hours. Take out of oven and you have Jin Kim.

31: This recipe for Jin Kim shows a creative way to show my personality in a cooking recipe. It also shows that I have multiple ways to show my emotions. I mix my emotions together to show myself as a smart, but weird person. I want to show people that I can be a loving person and that everything I am is everything I love.

32: Chapter 13: Meeting my Best Friends | I was walking into Mercer Middle School on my first day as a sixth grader. My first class was physical education, so I walked down a long hallway to the gym. The gym was twice as big as the elementary school's and I was amazed at it's size. Twenty five kids were in Mr. Price's sixth grade physical education class. I looked around to find anyone I knew from fifth grade. The kids were from all the elementary schools near Mercer, but there was no one I knew too well. "Great, no cool people I know," I thought as I sat on the bleachers with the rest of the kids. I would take back my words, later that year, as I met my best friends in that class. I sat down with other Asians feeling I could relate and feel more comfortable with them. There were two kids that caught my eye. They were talking to each other enthusiastically. I leaned in closer because I was so curious about what they were so excited about. They were talking about "Starcraft" and online, real time strategy game. "Nerds! People I can talk to," I thought. "Starcraft" was one of the games I had learned to play over the summer in Korea. Therefore, I tried to join in the conversation. "Hey guys, I overheard you talking about Starcraft. I love that game," I told them. At first they looked at me with wide eyes in surprise, but then they both smiled at me. "Oh really! I'm glad someone plays games like us. What's your name?" asked the slender, kid with glasses.

33: "I'm Jin," I told him, "I learned how to play Starcraft in Korea." "Cool," said the other, darker skinned boy, "I'm John and this is James. We like to play Zerg!" Our conversation continued on as we joked about games and our Korean parents pressuring us on getting straight A's. The more I talked to James, and John, the more I could relate to them. James loved music and guitar just like I did. John wanted to be a dentist, while I wanted to be a surgeon. Everyday in gym class, James, John and I would goof off, talk about games, and play basketball. I knew after two weeks that these guys would be my best friends. I talked to my new best friends about everything. I would talk to them about girl issues, problems with my parents, football, guitar, basketball, and games. I would invite them over for sleepovers and go out riding bikes with them. They invited me to movies and ski trips. I spent most of my time just getting to know James and John better. James and John would be my best friends in middle school and hopefully for the rest of my life.

34: Chapter 14: Haiku | When I am joyful, I will show love to others That's how Jin will live.

35: This is Haiku is very short but tells of my life's goal. I want to live a joyful life, but love others the best I can. My Christian God tells me to love all people, and that's what I'll try to do. I want to be joyful, while at the same time, serving the less fortunate.

36: Chapter 15: Hunter Perkins | Hunter Perkins is my friend that committed suicide. I met him in sixth grade on the bus to Mercer Middle School. He was talking to all his friends, Joanna, Ashrit, and Matt. I was sitting in the front of the bus with no one to talk to because I was shy and i didn't know anyone on the bus. For the two first weeks of school, I was lonely on the bus. However, one day, Hunter came up and sat with me. I saw him up close, for the first time, noticing his curly, bright, blond hair, and deep green eyes. He said, "what's up?" and I replied, "nothing much, you?" "I'm doing great," he said, " you should come back and hang with us." "Sure," I said. I was extremely happy that I finally had people to talk to. Hunter was really direct and to the point. He was the "funny guy," and always made the mood happy. Joanna was the girl who argued with everyone, and Ashrit did the same. Matt was just there to listen to the craziness. I then joined in on the conversations and arguments. We talked about if Mrs. Parrot was fair in grading our assignments, if Bush should get out Iraq, and whatever was big news at the time. We called ourselves the "Bus Buddies." One day on the bus, we were all making jokes. I tried to make a "Your Momma," joke to Hunter, but he just shook his head and told me he didn't have a mother. At first, I couldn't tell if he was joking or not. Hunter plainly told me, "she's dead," in his usual, direct way. I then looked at his face and saw the pain and

37: seriousness on his face. I had hit a nerve. It was a side to Hunter I had never seen. He was usually very happy and a joker. I told him I was sorry, but he was silent on the rest of the bus ride. In eighth grade, Hunter had left Mercer Middle School to go to a private school. We still kept in touch over the Internet, but only when he had time. He said it was good at the new school and that he misses us. I wouldn't see Hunter in person for another two years. In ninth grade, things were going downhill for me. I was questioning my faith in God, my parents were fighting everyday over financial problems, and my grades were at an all time low. I questioned my existence and sometimes felt like there was no point in living anymore. I talked to Hunter over the Internet about these issues. He told me to keep hope, and that dying wasn't worth it. He even told me of how he tried to commit suicide before and failed. He gave me hope to live on. In the beginning of tenth grade, I heard grave news from my friend Amir. Hunter was dead. He had committed suicide, and this time, was successful. I had been so concerned about my own issues, and my own problems, that I had completely forgotten about Hunter. He was in pain over the hurdles life had thrown at him. People were picking on him, and sometimes he felt lonely. Hunter was there for me, and I couldn't do the same. I mourned for Hunter and made a promise to live on to love people in need.

38: Rest in peace Hunter I miss you and love you. From your friend, Jin.

39: Chapter 16: Now till Sixty-Five | Now, as a sixteen year old in high school, I have high expectations to what is to happen in the future. I want to live my life as a servant of the Lord. I want to try to change the world, put aside differences, so everyone can live for humanity. I want to become a doctor and heal unfortunate people all around the world. For the rest of high school, I hope to take AP classes and get straight A's to have a outstanding application for college. With the amazing application, I will be accepted to Johns Hopkins University. As an undergraduate, I will study basic medicine. After I graduate, I will apply to Johns Hopkins again for medical school. This all will take about 8 years to earn my MD. In the six years that I'm studying in college, I would meet a cute girl who also studies medicine. We would study together and soon go out on a date. On this date we would fall in love with each other. After another year or two of dating, I would ask her hand in marriage. My new wife and I would then become doctors together. After becoming a doctor, I would try to fulfill my lifelong dream of helping and healing unfortunate, and sick people. I would join the "Doctors without Borders" organization to accomplish my goal. Hopefully, my wife will join me to help the needy and ill people of the world. If she doesn't, I wouldn't mind and she could stay in America doing work as a household doctor.

40: After about months or years of helping the ill, injured, and unfortunate, I would come back to America and settle down with my wife. We would have two kids and live in Virginia. I would still be in the Doctors without Borders organization and help heal people whenever they organization calls me. However, later on, I would quit the organization to raise and be with my children. For the next ten to fifteen years, I would work for a hospital with my wife, curing people of illness. Also in this period, I would study the bible, religion, philosophy, ideology, governmental systems, and social relations. I would do this to become a more intelligent person. With this knowledge I could understand people better to their perspective and their view of the world. When I have gathered enough information about the people of the world, I would try to lead the unification of humanity, and the break down of nationality, racism, and ethnic barriers. This is my greatest dream, to unite people under the banners of humanity, and to destroy barriers. For the next years of the rest of my life, I would raise my children and see them go to college and get married. From medical school, to helping ill people in third world countries, uniting humanity, and seeing my kids grow up, is how I want to live my life.

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