An Open Letter to Everyone


I’m Jungho. Though you may have known me for just a few months, a couple years, or even a quarter-century plus by another name, I’d like to explain a bit about why I’ve made this change.

In 2006 I embarked on what I thought was a 5-month trip to study abroad in Japan… as it turns out, it was the beginning of a long-term journey in search of my own self-identity; the search for answers to questions like “How is that I can be comfortable with who I am but not how I fit in with the rest of the world?” or “What is this significance of origin?”, even “How does the way that other perceive me affect my own understanding of myself?”

In my temporary exodus from America on that fabled trip to the land of the Rising Sun I unexpectedly discovered that when the known world is pulled out from beneath your feet all you are left with is you. That’s an uncomfortable situation by most measures, but for me the real struggle stemmed from instinctively grasping for the life I had back in the states and coming up empty handed while realizing that the nugget I wanted to help define who I was had gone missing, or perhaps it had never even been there.

The past couple years living abroad have only help strengthen this sentiment. Despite a few visits back stateside for several months at a time during that period, I’ve only found myself relating less and less to what I grew up with in America and gravitating heavily towards Korea as a logical starting ground for my own personal quest. Interestingly, when in Korea I’ve found even more out of place but somehow more comfortable.

So what does this even mean? To me it says that I’ve got an inherent level of discomfort in distilling my being down into one pot or the other. In other words, I’ve got a squirrely identity. My prediction would be that this will be a case of evolution by experience and that I’m in this state of being for the long run. I’m okay with that.

What has had me chomping at the proverbial bit is that my unknown future is, to me, quite disconnected from my past in ways that are both tangible and intangible.

I want to be able to navigate freely through the future with my own personal knowledge of my upbringing in my back pocket, but have a new way for me to present myself to the world. If this seems superficial, that’s because it is. The name you present to other people immediately forms certain prejudices, expectations, and presumptions in their minds. It’s something you have to work to defy since it is rare that we are as simple as who (or what) we at first appear to be.

My choice is simply to swing the odds towards what I consider my favor, a name that is undeniably my own (by birth) but in most ways truly fails to describe who I am. It’s my blank slate.


p.s. — Yes, this means that I’m requesting everybody call me by my name, Jungho, from here on out.