Czech Republic – The Low Down Adventure
After 30+ years of the nonstop grind of owning restaurants, my parents finally retired. The last time my parents were able to vacation was 12 years ago, when I took them on a trip to celebrate my father’s 60th birthday. So once their retirement date was confirmed, I made plans to bring them along on a RAD AND HUNGRY sourcing trip – which happened to be for our 60th STMT Kit!! On their 47th wedding anniversary, my parents and I set off for Prague.
60 is a big f'in deal in the Korean culture. Celebrating your 60th birthday is huge – way back in the day, if you reached 60 you were golden. You’d throw a huge birthday bash and the entire town would come and celebrate the day with you.
After my father served in the military, he worked as a suitcase salesman. One afternoon he called on a shop where my mother worked. I don’t know if my father ever sold any suitcases to my mother but he did land a big win – a date. That chance meeting led to marriage during a time when arranged marriages were the only option (especially in my father’s family).
The suitcases that brought my parents together represent something so sacred and core to my identity. My family of five moved to America with two suitcases and $40. It blows my mind that my entire family’s worth and possessions fit into two suitcases. I’m talkin’ all our clothes, pots and pans, photos, everything and anything that held any value. Like so many immigrants, our family moved to America to chase the dream.
And now what do I do? I travel the world with two suitcases huntin’ down office supplies, chasing the American Dream. (Ok, now it’s a lot more than two suitcases, but our first year was all about how much could I fit in two!) On the Czech Republic sourcing trip, my parents got to witness the hustle firsthand. It brought back so many memories of their life in Korea and what chasing the American Dream means to them.
This trip was some Hollywood shit where people come of age or something. We were like high schoolers havin’ slumber parties, breakin’ night every night, sharing stories while watching the sun come up. I would look over at my parents and for the first time in my life I saw a sense of peace that I’d never witnessed in them before. The three of us would walk arm-in-arm and be those annoying people that force others to walk around them. I hate when people do that, I do – but I couldn’t let go of my parents.
During one of our long conversations at night, my father mentioned that I was lucky that they could afford my semester abroad in Greece and all the travel I did during that time. I replied yes. Isn’t it amazing to see how this part of my life has come full circle? My love of travel, born in Greece, led to the birth of RAH – and RAH is the reason my parents are travelin’ with me now. Turns out chasin’ dreams is a family affair.