7 Questions

“You should have been born a boy.”

I heard this countless times growing up, mostly from the women in my family. It was a shitty thing for them to say then, and it’s still a pretty shitty thing for them to say now. It seemed especially wrong when my brother was within earshot, because it implied that he should have been born a girl. But it wasn’t that at all. It was more about me.

It meant…

I was a risk taker, even at a very young age. And Korean girls aren’t bred to take risks. This seemed wholly unfair to me then, and it still does now.

***

It’s been months since I last blogged, months since I felt safe and at peace enough to sit and write anything outside of email correspondences here and there. When life throws me curveballs I usually let them hit me and then go around picking the balls up, collecting them for future use. And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing since the New Year.

I thought maybe I was just going through some pre-midlife crisis. I thought maybe I just needed to suck it up and keep going. But my days were excruciatingly long, for too long, and most of my time was being sucked up by my little Korean takeaway Rice House. So in June I first started having thoughts of maybe closing up shop and doing something else. But what was that something else, exactly?

I found what I thought might be the perfect job for me, at a private school here in Ghent. I applied and made it to final round interviews, but didn’t get it. Ultimately, everything happens for a reason and this was just not the time and place for me. I was disappointed but I moved on. I applied for another job that popped up on my radar. It was filled already. Bummer.

As the weeks passed me by, I grew more physically drained and emotionally exhausted. Personal life, or lack thereof, aside, my life seemed to revolve around Rice House instead of the other way around. My son Noah grew taller and smarter, had more questions, needed more answers, and I desperately wished for more hours in my day to spend with him.

I had to choose: my business or my family.

I’m oversimplifying it for the purposes of this blog, but really that’s what it boiled down to. So I did some soul searching, and ran circles around my head. I cried and I cried some more. And when I couldn’t cry anymore, I sat down and asked myself these 7 questions, and in this order:

  1. What happened exactly that I want to do something else? A LOT.
  2. Do I truly want to stop what I’m doing now? Yes.
  3. Do I truly want to start a job hunt and work for someone else 9-to-5? Maybe. Maybe not.
  4. What do I truly want to do? Write.
  5. Where do I want to do it? At home.
  6. Am I good enough at it to make an actual living off of it? I don’t know, but I’ve been paid to do it before.
  7. Do I believe in myself despite all odds? Yes.

The next week, last Wednesday to be exact, I announced that I’d be closing Rice House on September 24th. It sent a ripple into my community in Evergem, and surprised most people who follow me on social media. Only a handful of people weren’t surprised because I’d kept my cards very close to my chest, sharing with only those closest to me.

Rice House

The photo I used is an old one, from a 2015 Libelle Magazine article printed about me and my family, and Rice House.

As of last Wednesday, I have listed Rice House up for sale online. I have returned to school in the evenings, to improve my Dutch even further, should I ultimately decide to seek employment here at a Belgian firm. I registered myself on some freelance writing platforms and have snagged three writing projects to date. I’m in the process of winding down my small business, all the while telling myself to breathe, drink more water, sleep, and cry if and when I need to. They’re not necessarily sad tears because I’m very excited about this next phase in my life.

Rice House has been good to me and for me in so many ways, since it opened its doors in 2014. Moving here in 2011 was still one of the best decisions I made in my life, but it was not easy…always being the outsider trying to make her way into society. There will be clients, my employees and things I may miss once I close the doors to Rice House, but I’m not going anywhere. I’m staying right where I am.

But public reaction has been varied. Some are happy for me. Some think I’m crazy. I’d recommend to the people who think I’m crazy: Ask yourself those 7 questions above. And then come talk to me again.

***

Noah is happy if I’m happy, and I am happy. That’s all that matters. And maybe I should have been born a boy, but I love very much being a Korean girl who takes risks to achieve happiness. This will never change.

So I look forward to getting back to writing, and being able to grow my nails and paint them pretty colors again now that I don’t have to worry about passing food safety inspections, and not smelling like fried dumplings at the end of every night, and chaperoning Noah’s school trips from time to time…and spending time here with you all.

Always dishing,

Jun

 

124 Comments

  1. Deano Brown

    OF COURSE you’re going to make a success of this. There isn’t anything you haven’t succeeded at… You’re an incredibly engaging writer who has an openess and honesty that many paid authors would kill for!!

    You’re also one of the most relentless, determined people I have ever known. This venture CAN’T fail, because there’s no way you’d let is fail!!

    I wish you all the luck in the world with your new direction in life. And I can’t wait to have a lot more to read from you!! 🙂

    Reply
  2. I send you all good thoughts and prayers for your new chapter. I love the way you write. As this post suggested in the “You might also like…” section, I went back and read “Dandelion Seeds” again. If you need to remind yourself that you can write, you should go read that again too. Here’s to pretty nails and more mommy time.

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    I’m so happy for you and your family. I admire your attitude and ability to believe in yourself. I’m sure you will be successful with whatever you decide to do next. Please keep your many fans included. Can’t wait to see what’s to come!

    Reply
  4. You are my favorite writer – all your tweets since landing in Belgium could be turned into a book! You’re beyond talented and as Helen Keller said… “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – glad you’re off on another adventure! Keep dishing lovely Jun!

    Reply
  5. amys_bus

    Follow your dreams, my girl.
    Follow your dreams. 💋

    And while you do, remember this…

    “Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.” –Nelson Mandela

    “Followed rules, not dreams. Never again. – Margaret Hellerstein”
    ― Rachel Fershleiser, Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure

    Reply
  6. Katherine

    Best of luck, Jun. I have no doubt that you have made a good decision for your life, but I find it unfortunate that you had to choose between your successful business and your family. It’s very clear that you have not shortchanged Noah at all! I have no doubt that you will excel in whatever you move on to.

    Reply
      1. Katherine

        Your personal comments to all who have replied to support you show what a thoughtful, quality person you are. I wish the best for you in all things. Was a fan back in your BB season but I have stuck around because your life and your writing is fascinating. Look forward to hearing more!

  7. Jennerific713

    I love your writing. This seems like a natural progression and I’m sure it will feed your soul in so many ways. The other more personal details you’ve shared are bittersweet and undoubtedly, you’ve heard every cliche under the sun so I won’t be repetitive. 😁

    Always wishing you and your family the best. XO 🌷🌷

    Reply
  8. I love your writing style. So conversational. I wondered how you were able to keep up the pace you were working at. Good luck in all future endeavors. You will no doubt slay anything to do. I just hope that whoever takes up the space that was known as Rice House has as diverse a menu but for that one old man, has at least one sandwich. 😀

    Reply
  9. Anonymous

    Beautifully stated, poignant, self reflective and inspiring to those who have a dream but are afraid to take the leap of faith. The one line that stood out to me the most is ” if I am happy Noah is happy ” !
    Children sense our contentment and our despair. It is better he sees his Mom always striving and happy.
    As always you are so honest and open as you can be .

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    You know Jun when I read your blog I feel like I’m dishing with an old friend, feels like I’ve known you forever (since your season lol) and we’re catching up on life….. That’s how good writers touch their readers and you are a very good writer. I’m rooting you on and saving you a spot on the couch to come by and update me, your old friend 💗😉…. Go get ’em…..Sleuth Queen Bee 😘

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      Awww I have my strong moments and I have my brave moments and I have my fierce moments. But I’m also a mess half the time. Ha. Thanks for the love Stefanie!

      Reply
  11. Melissa K

    I think you made the right decision. I’m starting to struggle with some of the same issues now and your post has made me think. So thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  12. Jennerific713

    PS and off-topic, I saw a recent pic of Noah on twitter. He was wearing a suit or a tux – just the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. I was scrolling quickly and let out a very audible, “awwwwww!” ❤️

    Reply
  13. Pamela

    Wishing you all the very best and I am sure,that you will succeed with whatever you do…had you are not giving up writing…much love from fabulous Las Vegas. .

    Reply
  14. Eric Ferm

    Always love reading your thoughts when I see them. You did what you needed to do for yourself & that is most important! Best of luck in your endeavors & I look forward to the next Jundishes read. 👍😉💖

    Reply
  15. Gayla Benton

    If you had been born a Boy, you wouldn’t have Noah or experienced all your wonderful achievements, God had and does have a plan for you and your family, That’s Why he chose to create a Beautiful Baby Girl, to Grow into being a Beautiful Special, Strong,Wise, Woman, Daughter, Sister, Wife, And Amazing Loving Mom 🤗❤️Praying You Reach Your Goals & Your Dreams Come True 🙏👍🏻

    Reply
  16. Jennifer

    We all know you are a very strong woman, Jun. Not everything happens for a “reason” per se. Luck comes into play more often than one might think. I am sure if things don’t work out in Belgium, you will have the option to move back to the USA if you feel that is the right thing to do.

    I sincerely hope you eventually work things out with Davy, if not, “everything happens for a reason” 🙂

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      But I DO believe everything happens for a reason. That doesn’t mean we should sit back and let things just happen. I don’t see any circumstances leading to my moving back to America. But I’m always open to whatever comes my way!

      Reply
  17. Emily

    If after you announced your decision you felt relieved, excited, happy or any combo of those states, you made the right decision. And, of all the things you look forward to, probably the least important but the one that stick with me, is nolonger smelling of food prep! You are such a worker! Always impressed. Remember that full year you wrote a blog Every Single Day! Amazing. Only thing is when you write in Dutch have to provide English translation 😂 Best. Regards!

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      After I announced I’d be closing Rice House I felt relieved and excited, but then I did have a short mourning period because it’s what I knew for the last three years. I won’t miss all the cuts and burns though haha. Thanks for getting it Emily!

      Reply
  18. Shannon

    I’ve always said you should be a writer – well you ARE a writer! You write so well & I’ve always dreamed of you writing a book. I know if you write full time or join a firm & write part time – you will do amazing at it! I’m so happy to see you blogging & excited to hear more about your new adventures! Best wishes to you & Noah!!

    Reply
  19. Pattik53@aol.com

    Awww I wish you all the luck in the world with your writing. You really don’t need LUCK because you are a wonderful writer. I love reading everything you write…even if it’s a tweet. LOL
    I’m sorry about you and Davy. Most important thing is that Noah adjusts well with it. You being able to stay home or a job that you aren’t working 24/7, which is what you do when you own your business.
    I said I’m sorry about you and Davy….I am divorced and I hated when people said that they were sorry, and then I said it to you. 🙃When I divorced was when I finally started loving ME! I know you are going to do well. You’ll have bumps in the road, I pray they are few and far between.
    So glad you are going to continue dishing.
    Much love!

    Reply
  20. Vallery

    Looking forward to hearing about your next chapter Jun. Have always enjoyed your dishes. I know you will be successful with whatever the universe showers upon you. Stay positive and carry on 🙂 My best wishes to you and Noah.

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      Thank you Vallery. I’m throwing everything out their into the universe to let her know I’m all-in on this new chapter in my life. She seems to be responding well. I’m thankful for your well wishes and positivity!

      Reply
  21. Bonnie Flynn

    It says a great deal about your strength to stick with it so long as single owner single mother. I found in the end the older my kids got the more they need you around. And you have much more to give the world than food. Can’t wait for more words from Jun. Best of everything.

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      It’s so true! One of my long time clients, and a fellow mom, said something similar to me the other day when she heard of Rice House’s impending closing. She said she thought once her kids were in grade school that she could let go and free up some time for herself but she realized they needed her even MORE what with homework and guidance overall. I am thinking ahead for next year when Noah starts the first grade and starts coming home with homework and needs my help learning to read and write. I feel good about my decision. Thanks always for your support.

      Reply
  22. Shermaine Riehl

    Yes! Back to writing. Your confidence is something I’ve always admired about you (among many MANY other things). I’ve been thinking of making myself accountable in my own writing and need a buddy. Who better than thou. The days are long but the years fast. I don’t mourn Rice House because I have the taste of your culinary prowess embedded in my buds. On those days long ago when we were still searching. I love you from afar and think of you up close. Congratulations!! We are all in for another, albeit different, sensory treat.

    Reply
  23. Dee Dee

    Listen. You live your life fearlessly and always lands on you feet. I have no reservations about you changing your career. You are smart enough to suceed at anything you chose and adventurous enough to be open to any exciting opportunity that may cross your path.
    I like that although you are a wife and mom and business owner, you are putting YOURSELF and your needs back on the list as a priority.

    Reply
  24. You have a gift and I’m so happy you haven’t let any social or cultural boundaries back you down. I adore you and your writing and wish nothing but the best for you, don’t think of this as the end, but as a new beginning. Love you Jun!

    Reply
  25. Deb K

    I am sad for your family, divorce is never easy. I know, I have been thru it when my children were young. I worried about their well being, but they actually adjusted better than I did. You are strong and putting Noah center front, I admire that you are standing and facing the next chapter in your life, Noah is watching and learning. Miss your blogs, was happy to see you are back at it. Good luck with all you wish to accomplish!

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      Kids are pretty amazing. Noah is quite intuitive and so loving. I know that he’ll be okay in the end. Thank you for your support and kind words Deb. See you around here soon.

      Reply
  26. Rosalind Love

    Hi Jun, you have been on my mind a lot of late. Just today I took the time to catch up on your blogs. I was so hurt to hear that you and Dave were having the 7 year itch trouble. However, I weren’t to surprise. As you grew, Dave wanted things to stay the same–the great breakfast, the awesome lunch, and all that sex. Not sure which he missed the most lol.
    Had a feeling the Rice House would go along the way also. I didn’t do what caring family and friends do when they want couple to work things out. So I kept my 2¢ to myself. I know you know I’m team Jun; so you and Noah will always be a part of my prayers, yet, my heart is very sad. I’m sure that you did all you could to make things work. Much love for you, and may the God of happiness smile on you! 💓💕💝

    Reply
    1. Jun Song Author

      Actually, our marriage is going through something way bigger than some seven year itch. I never stopped cooking and still cook haha. But there is a big pink elephant in every room that needs to be addressed and I’m doing my best to take my time addressing it. I appreciate your good wishes and support.

      Reply

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