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UCLA에 합격한 수강생 Common Application Essay 최초공개!
One of my earliest memories is of my mother pouring fresh water to the brim into a newly cleaned bowl after having done the dishes and bowing to it. She would bend at the waist mumbling inaudibly with hands pressed together at the palms. Even then, I think I was about five, it stuck in my mind as unusual: I remember being told to bow to grandfather, grandmother, or this or that grownup, but to a bowl of water? I now know her conviction was praying to the Jo-whang-shin, or the kitchen goddess of the fire and the hearth, kind of like Vesta in Western religions. I now know that this is a somewhat common rite among Korean women. Her practice has a great curiosity for me more than some text learning at school since it is so culturally exotic, even for Korea, but logically, it’s, well, a little spooky and weird. But, I realized, who am I to say that there is little truth in her beliefs? I always wondered though how my life would have been different if I had grown up in a “normal Christian home.”
I grew up thinking that praying to a still bowl of water was reasonable if one wanted good auspices of the Jo-whang-shin, although I was told by mother to be Buddhist in public, since it raises the fewest callous questions from people who don’t understand, even among Koreans. Strangely now even with all this occult background, I attend a very Christian school. Only then did I learn that my youth was a little non-standard. Truthfully though, are the distinctly different writing styles of the one Bible the direct voice of God? To me both seemed somewhat unreasonable, the praying to the Jo-whang-shin with an offering of a bowl of water or praying to food from God before we eat it.
Standing on the crosswalk alone in the night, waiting for the green light, I can sense the presence of the numerous people who busily passed through this crosswalk all day in this city of Seoul of millions. Only the lights on the street are there with me. [continued]
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