Myung Sook Whang

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I was born in North Korea and moved to South Korea when I was 7 years old.  Although I was young, I remember it being a very difficult move. I studied home economics at the university where I met my husband. We got married and had 2 children. My side of the family was wealthy- they were pretty well off but I did not like that they thought they were better than others. My husband did not have any relatives and was focused on school and church. He was Christian and also did not agree with the way my family acted

Although my husband had a good job with the government, we both saw better opportunities for our children and our family in the U.S. When he received a student visa to come to the U.S we quickly took that as a way for us to start over. We moved with our children to Los Angeles in 1975. Our children were 6 and 9. My first job was as a seamstress at a shop and my husband went to school and worked at a Japanese restaurant. We were later able to open a small sewing and alterations shop together. We had our shop for 15 years, until my husband passed away.

I moved back to South Korea and studied theology. I came back to the U.S in 2004. My daughter was working at SLAC in Stanford and I helped her take care of my grandchildren. She now lives in New Jersey and has a Ph.D in Physics. My son lives in Santa Clara.

This interview was conducted by Ana Angel of the Palo Alto Housing Corporation.

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