Stories to tell, Stories to be told

“The night when I landed in England with my husband and my two-year old daughter at midnight, it was cold and daunting. It broke my boundaries. However, the strong belief that my husband will protect me and the courage I had as a mother sustained me.

When we finally arrived to the hotel, and my husband left to work early in the morning the next day, there was a wave of pressure telling me to stay strong and be independent.

In this unfamiliar foreign land, I constantly felt as if I were under a spotlight.I was the very opposite of a brave girl, but I found myself transformed by motherhood.It was the responsibility of being a mother that kept me courageous. I didn’t want to, no I refused to, let the uncertainties and pressures  to break me.”

- Mother

I captured these photographs of my mom and older sister during the evening at a hotel when my family finally came to visit me in Atlanta, GA. This night holds special significance as it had been nearly five years since we were all together in one place. My parents, originally from South Korea, raised my sister and I first in the U.K. and then China, where they sill reside today. Growing up as a child of expatriates, the concept of belonging and defining "home" has always been a challenge for me. Feelings of displacement and isolation is still tough but familiar, just like hotel rooms.  

My mother once shared with me the emotional weight she associates with hotel rooms, because it vividly reminds her of the time when she first arrived in England late at night with my two-year-old sister, feeling completely out of her element as a young mother in a foreign country. This photograph encapsulates a candid moment that echoes her journey—a portrayal of resilience and a deep-rooted sense of belonging.

This photograph is a reflection of our family’s resilient bond, for which I am grateful to my parents. They instilled in my sister and me the unwavering assurance of safety and belonging, regardless of our location. They taught me that genuine human connections foster a profound sense of belonging, even in the face of isolation.