AOP: What country did you move from and why?
SL: My husband and I are from Korea. Right after our first son, Brandon, was born, my husband was assigned to work in the United States.
AOP: What type of work does your husband do?
SL: My husband’s name is Junho Lee. He is working in the automobile-related industry located in this area. He overlooks selling and leasing of expandable and reusable logistics containers to transport auto parts for Hyundai-Kia Motors’ production plants, affiliates, and partner companies.
AOP: Are you working outside the home or do you stay home?
SL: I have a bachelor’s degree in Visual Design from Korea and worked as a magazine designer for nine years. During my maternity leave, my husband was assigned to work in America, so I resigned to come to America. Currently, I am a stay-at-home mom taking care of our two children.
AOP: What has been the most challenging part of moving to the U.S.?
SL: The first thing is language. The English used in everyday life in U.S. is different from the English I studied in Korea. The expressions might be different.
The second thing is the healthcare system. The medical system is very good in Korea. It’s a national health insurance system, not private insurance like the U.S., so hospital bills are cheaper. It is easier to make appointments than in the United States. Walk-in is available in almost every hospital.
And the most challenging thing for us is that there is no family to help with caring for my children. In Korea, I could get help from my parents or in-laws, but in the U.S., I am physically tired because I have to do everything with my husband. So sometimes I am envious of my friends in Korea when they leave their children with their parents to go out for dinner with their spouses.
AOP: What has been the most rewarding thing about the move?
SL: I can take care of my family more. Because my family is the only family we have in the U.S., my husband and I rely on each other a lot. That has made our relationship stronger.
AOP: Tell me about your children.
SL: My first son Brandon is five years old and was born in Korea. He first came to the U.S. when he was eight months old. He is a very active, talkative, and pleasant boy with a warm heart. He likes Roblox and Minecraft games like other five-year-old boys. He wants to be a banker in the future. When I asked him why he said he likes money.
Our daughter, Irene, was born in the United States and is three years old. She has big brown eyes, and her behavior is cute. Her favorite is Peppa Pig, and her future dream is to be a princess.
AOP: How has living here been beneficial for your children?
SL: I think bilingualism is the most significant benefit of living in the U.S.. My husband and I speak Korean to our children at home, and they speak English at school. I teach them Korean and English together. I think being bilingual will give our children more opportunities in the future.
AOP: What are some things your family likes to do together?
SL: My family likes to have a barbecue together. My husband and I like to spend time with our children, buying ingredients for the barbecue, and then grilling and eating in the backyard. Our children like to sing, so we always spend time listening to children’s songs and singing karaoke when we eat barbecue.
AOP: What are some ways you are making friends, and what do you enjoy doing with them?
SL: The friends I’ve made in the U.S. are usually the mothers of my son’s friends. I met these friends during his activities. Luckily, two friends I went to middle and high school with in Korea also moved to Auburn. When my kids go to school, we work out together, grab a coffee, and chat. We share a lot of information, share the hardships of immigration life and support each other.
Sunju Lee and her husband Junho have been married for eight years. Together they have two children – Brandon (5) and Irene (3). For fun, Sunju enjoys working out and listening to music. She also really loves a clean home!