By Jiae Azad
When my mother, Heewon Azad, left Korea for the California coast at the age of 23, she was going against expectations. Unlike all of her friends, she had no interest in marrying, having children, or settling down in a world she felt was patriarchal and in opposition to many of her beliefs. “Studying,” she said, “was my excuse. Grad school was my ticket out.”
Although she did not know exactly what her path would look like, my mother was determined to dictate its direction. Many Korean women at the time, after attending college and getting their degree, were expected to return home and settle down with an eligible bachelor, as determined by their parents. Instead my mother resolved to stay in America and marry the man she loved: a Muslim immigrant from Bangladesh.
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