The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

An artist’s rendering of a scene from rapper Lil Nas X’s music video, “J Christ,” that went viral earlier this year. The 24-year-old musician, who announced his gender preference on June 30, 2019, through a tweet on X, formerly known as  Twitter, presents himself on the cross, replicating Jesus.
MUSIC REVIEW: Lil Nas X’s new single goes viral for wrong reasons
Stacy Kim, Feature Editor • February 24, 2024
Juniors Lucas Saab (left) and Eunchong Lee cut out cardboard for their Advanced Placement Environmental Science class in Room 112 on Wednesday, Feb. 14. Students were doing this to examine with a microscope the cardboard and how it catches air particulates.
Photos of the Week (2/12-2/16)
Sue Kang, Asaph Li, and Noah Lee February 22, 2024
Section editors of the 2022-2023 school year work on newspaper layouts in  The Accolade  room after school. This was a recurring daily routine during the week that print issues were released.
Old-style methods just lower my GPA
Faith Jung, Entertainment Editor • February 19, 2024
Girls tennis player junior Daniela Borruel (center) received her certificate of recognition alongside her two Sunny Hills classmates, who were also in attendance to receive their own certificates for being Adopt-A-Park volunteers, from the Fullerton City Council in City Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 16.
GAME BALL: Girls tennis co-captain earns Fullerton City Council award after finishing 58-0 in high school singles matches last fall
Dareen Hagekhalil, Staff Reporter • February 18, 2024

Finding my identity through the pandemic

Image used with permission from Su Kim
Jaimie Chun (left) and her 7-year-old brother make gimbap, a Korean dish with cooked rice, eggs, spam, spinach and pickled radish. During the coronavirus pandemic, the two shared this meal last summer.

A few weeks into the pandemic in May 2020, I woke up to a scent that drifted its way up to my room.

It was different from the bland whiff of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich I had on my walks to school. Instead, it was the wafting smell of savory and wholesome miyeok-guk, a traditional Korean soup. It was the aroma of my cuisine and culture that I had neglected for quite some time.

From this moment, I wondered, Did any good come from the pandemic?

Holistically, I don’t think so. But one thing I learned through the coronavirus pandemic is to appreciate the little things.

The events fueled by COVID-19, specifically social distancing, made me realize how much I took family time for granted and, more importantly, I began to explore more of my identity as a Korean American.

Although Korean was the first language I learned, the growing gap between me and my culture was inevitable as I  tried to keep up with mainstream American lifestyle — at least until the pandemic.

Quarantining with my Korean immigrant parents woke me up to a lifestyle that I had unconsciously avoided. Before the stay-at-home orders, my opportunities to speak Korean were limited to when I came back from school and even then, I did not have a lot of time for long conversations. 

Thus, through the span of the pandemic, I realized that swapping to and from English and Korean had formed a disconnect with the Korean culture. 

For the first few weeks California was in a lockdown, I felt as if every other sentence I spoke to my parents was a tongue twister in which English words in my head got coiled with the Korean that was coming out of my mouth. 

I started using much more Kakao Talk, the most popular messaging platform in South Korea, because my parents were more comfortable using it than iMessages. Moreover, the increased time I spent conversing with my parents refined my Korean speaking and writing skills. 

Of course, it was frustrating at first because I was not as accustomed to the Korean keyboard and always pondered over the complex spelling. Nonetheless, it brings about good memories during the pandemic in which my parents, brother and I laughed at my absurd, yet hilarious mistakes. 

More importantly, I felt a growing sense of pride as I communicated with my family more coherently. I cultivated a better awareness of Korean trends and customs as I spent more time watching Korean variety shows and films. 

Instead of rewatching the “Gilmore Girls” series on my iPad by myself after school while my parents are still at work, I was more drawn to watching Korean shows like “2 Days & 1 Night” that my family was watching on the TV screen, taking a break from their jobs because of the pandemic. Eventually, I transitioned into watching Korean cinema on my own as well to try to make up for the years I had missed out on Korean entertainment.

As a result, I developed an interest in Korean humor (like “dad jokes,” which combine nonsense and humor in a witty way, or the almost cruel but hilarious games like bok bul bok, which means chance) that I previously had to look at subtitles to understand. My movie partner during the pandemic — my mom — would explain what the implied meaning was, and together we would burst into laughter at the joke. 

Furthermore, these reality TV show episodes opened new doors in which the camera took me through the beautiful landscape where skyscrapers co-exist with ancient Buddhist temples, and members of the show like Kim Seonho and Kim Jongmin soon became my favorite comedians alongside NBC’s Jimmy Fallon. 

All in all, the pandemic was a getaway in which I had the time and opportunity to explore a part of my identity that I was not familiar with. 

Hopefully, I do not start mixing my English with Korean when I return to school though.

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About the Contributor
Jaimie Chun, Editor-in-Chief
Senior Jaimie Chun returns excited and grateful to lead The Accolade as the editor-in-chief. Since her first year on staff two years ago, The Accolade newsroom has become a home away from home. She looks forward to each issue, story, audio and video reaching the biggest audience possible and bringing the community together. Chun will continue honing her skills as a journalist to ensure that her storytelling is informative and empathetic. Because of her love for print journalism, she hopes that The Accolade's publications will be read by many people and equally appreciated. When Chun isn't in the newsroom, you can find her searching to try new food, exploring new music or reading in the nook of her room.
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