Hanako and Jiro in Japan: CH 13 Fortune Cookie Wisdom​ (Jiro)

When the older gentleman enters the room, everyone stands and bows deeply. Jiro follows suit, but Mr. Saito quickly reaches for his hand. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Jiro-san,” he says. And there is something at once elegant and sharp about the slender man’s eyes, a hint of humor, at the corners of his mouth that Jiro likes instantly.

Read more about Hanako and Jiro’s adventures in Japan at HanaHawley.com



Photo by Ana Grave for Unsplash



Searching for Seoul- Foreigner


Stepped onto Korean soil for the first time in thirty-years this week. The last time I was in Korea, I was just seven years-old.

Excerpt from my post:

I study the quiet and sleepy faces around me in the “foreigner” immigration line. We shuffle along as the “resident” line across the way from us empties. It feels a little strange to be in the line with foreigners because technically, I am coming home…Read the Full Story at http://www.hanahawley.com on Searching for Seoul. 


Photo by Sean Kong

Searching for Seoul Post 9


From left to right: my sister, me, my brother

I’m meeting my birth dad in June. Let me say that again–imagine uncoordinated little me jumping up and down and running spastically around when you read this–I’M MEETING MY BIRTH DAD IN JUNE! Guys! Guys!!! Can you believe this? Did anyone really think this day would come? Did I?

Because my birth dad’s name is difficult for my siblings and me to pronounce, and because my autocorrect changed “b dad” to “brad” while I was texting my siblings, and our family last name is Park, we’re calling our birth dad, Brad Pitt, for now (I know it’s a stretch, but so is this sentence).

It’s been just shy of 48 hours and the old, nearly abandoned and cracked road ahead is blooming with hundreds of bright, cheerful flowers. There is no cautionary sign amidst the buds. There is no gray sky. So pending death or incapacitating dismemberment, in what feels like an eternity from now, three orphans will be standing in the same room with a man they haven’t known since 1984.

Even after Sister Theresa located our birth dad, even after he said he’d meet us if we came to Korea, the idea of it was tenuous. Sister Theresa would email him for details and she’d get no response for weeks. I thought maybe he liked the idea of a reunion but didn’t want to face the cold, potentially gut-wrenching facts of it.

But yesterday, Brad booked a flight to the United States. And today, in a gesture that felt very much like a comforting pat on the back, an act of goodwill, of good intention, he sent a picture he has of the three of us–regaled in traditional Korean attire–and a picture of his office building where he works as an architect.

And I realize that I’m proud of this man I do not know for stepping into a story that holds so much pain.


Afraid to Live…

I lean back in the passenger side of the car as the traffic lights flash through the windshield.  We’re  almost home.  The time glows digital green from the dashboard of the car.  We’ll make it back just in time to watch our new must-see Sunday night show, “Believe.”

I want to say something a loud to J but I hesitate.  If I say it, that implied meaning it.  Did I mean it or was I compelled because I always felt inspired when I left Mosaic?  Well, mostly inspired, sometimes discouraged by the comparisons I drew between the lives I heard about and my own.

“I feel like I’m trying to preserve my life” I say a loud, like I mean it.  “What am I saving myself for? ”

If I were a pre-recorded message my themes would consist of these phrases:

“Be. SAFE.”

“That. Is. Full. Of. Germs.”

“That. Could. Kill. You.”

“Do. Ing. That. Is. Sue.I.Cide.”

I am apparently saving myself for some great cause and it’s a necessity for me to be without a physical or emotional scratch when the cause reveals itself.

When I ask my questions a loud, I realize that I’ve been aware of the cause most of my life.  I may not have always been old enough, independent enough, or resourceful enough…but those are not excuses I can lean on now.

I connect the dots that have led to it- my cause; my birth in a foreign land, my adoption into a forever family, what I’ve seen as random skill sets accumulated over a decade of careers that just didn’t stick and the people who did.

As we pull up to our house and bring the car to a stop, my cause light goes from yellow to green.

I’ve been afraid to live.  Afraid to get hurt, get dirty, or be unable to find myself home again, safe and sound.

I’d still like to avoid getting hurt and getting dirty but not at the cost of losing my life because I focused so hard on saving it.