The Soul Behind Beauty & Seoul

A little bit of a different blog this time. It’s been a year since I ventured to Seoul in search of my birth family. Many of you followed me as I documented my search and life in Korea on social media and on my previous blog and I was left feeling completely overwhelmed by all the new lovely people I met along the way who wished me words of encouragement, luck and above all, support, when the search proved unsuccessful.

During my time in Korea, blogging about K-Beauty products became a welcome distraction from the emotional rollercoaster that a birth family search brings with it. I threw myself in setting up Beauty & Seoul, very much a project from the heart, spurred on by a desire to connect with my birth country. Whilst my previous blog documented my birth story in full, I decided when setting up this new site that I would keep the two separate. But now when I consider the double meaning behind Beauty & Seoul, I wanted to share my story on here as well. So for those that didn’t get a chance to read my previous blog, here is a little piece of my story and the story behind this venture. 

Me and my foster mother, Mrs Yoon

I was born 6th June, 1987 in a small town called Geumsan, just outside Daejeon in Chungcheongnam-do province. My birth mother as I know it, was 17 years old and had run away to her brother in Daejeon when she found out she was pregnant. Back then, and even now, it is considered shameful to be a young, unwed mother in Korea. She had broken up with her boyfriend, my birth father, under pressure from her parents. They were from different societal classes; my father, the son of a farmer and my mother from a middle class family. My records say my birth mother was a top student, whereas my birth father would often skip class. She was ‘shy, gentle with a sympathetic disposition’, whereas he was ‘popular, tall and handsome’. Both parents were very sporty with my birth father playing basketball and my birth mother representing her district in track and field.

United with my parents

I was transferred to Seoul soon after I was born to my adoption agency, where I was fostered by a lady called Mrs Yoon up until October when my parents collected me from Australia. I had a very happy childhood but hated being an only child; every Christmas top of my wish list was a little brother. We lived in Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Tokyo, Amsterdam until I moved to Manchester for uni, then Birmingham for my Masters, Cardiff and finally London. As a result of this, no one can ever place my accent.

My parents always made me remember where I came from

My parents were always very open about my adoption and ultimately, it was them who encouraged me to go back to Seoul and attempt to fill in the missing pieces of my puzzle. During my time there when I was met with many frustrations, they were the ones on Skype encouraging me to keep at it. When the idea of starting Beauty & Seoul came about, they were excited about the prospect of me carving out this link to my motherland.

This October, I will be returning to Seoul and already I am feeling excited, anxious and overwhelmed. I will be dropping in on my adoption agency and orphanage, attending Seoul Fashion Week, meeting up with friends, fellow adoptees, suppliers and manufacturers. I will also be eating my way through Seoul at all my favourite restaurants, and of course, shopping all my favourite brands!

My plan is to document this series (maybe even vlog!) so you can follow me around Seoul. My goal is to open up this blog to include not only skincare reviews and blogs but also Korean culture, discussions, Q&A’s and more. I can’t wait to share my motherland with you and hope you’ll follow my series.

Maree x

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