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Obligations and Aspirations
A Memoir of Growing up in Korea and An Unexpected New Life in Canada
Kim Jai Sook Martin entered the world in 1935, during the Japanese occupation of her native Korea. She was the second daughter of an ordinary family, born to parents who had hoped for a boy; they dressed her as one until she was three, when her brother was born. By the age of six, she had already learned the price of her fierce independence: refusing to acknowledge the Japanese flag as the Korean national flag, she was denied entrance to her first year of school. This early conflict set Kim Jai Sook on a lifetime quest to understand her obligations to her family, her culture, her country, herself, and, ultimately, to God. Hers is a story of perseverance, turmoil, and love, as she fought to maintain balance between duty and her own desires. She set her goals high. As the survivor of Japanese subjugation and two wars, she committed herself to living as a responsible and worthy person. As an adult, in pursuit of her deep desire to become a teacher, she left Korea and built a new life in Canada, where her father's advice on dealing with people became her guiding principles. This is her story.