“Everywhere I go, people always ask me, ‘Where are you from?’ It’s such a simple question, right? But for me, it’s a very perplexing one and I’m always at a loss for words. Context is always needed to understand my background better.
So my dad is Korean-Japanese and my mom is Paraguayan. They met in Paraguay when my dad moved there for business. I grew up with two different cultures in Paraguay. At times I’d be talking to my dad in Korean and my mom in Spanish in a single conversation.
When I was 14, my life took a new turn. I was shoved abruptly into a whole new world – Japan! Comfort zone became non-existent and adapting to this new reality was a daily struggle because I didn’t speak or write Japanese. I worked hard to learn the language.
Because of that experience, I ended up working at a Korean NGO that serves the Korean community living in Japan. Paraguay, however, was always on my mind. It’s still a developing country and it’s very common to see kids begging for money on the streets.
I remember being in bed one rainy night and praying to God that those homeless kids in Paraguay had a roof over their heads. However, I never dreamt I’d end up in Singapore and working for a housing charity called Habitat for Humanity one day.
Living in this beautiful country for the past three years has broadened my horizons and I’ve really enjoyed its multicultural environment. But things started to get too comfortable and I felt like I was no longer growing. Whenever I feel that way, it’s a sign for me to move on.
All my life, I’ve found myself constantly travelling and relocating in search of a sense of purpose and identity. Chasing money has never been my motivation. I simply follow my heart, even if it seems like I’m making stupid and impulsive decisions, sometimes.
Now, I’ll be relocating to Korea to pursue my Masters degree in Education. Everything I have is thanks to my parents, and I believe everyone deserves access to quality education so that they can someday unlock their full potential.
In five or 10 years’ time, I want to go back to Paraguay and maybe start my own academy or institution. I want to adopt those kids from the streets, teach them basic skills and groom them to be somebody.
I strongly believe there is a reason for everything. There has to be a reason why I went through so many challenging times.
To me, life is like a jigsaw puzzle and you put all the pieces together to create one big picture that makes sense to you. At 30 years old, I have all these random pieces I collected from all over the world and now, I feel like it’s finally coming together.” – Euna
Interview by: Arman Shah