I am Chan Mi, an exotic pizza!

Chan Mi Joo - Ecuador


July 23, 2013

I am not your typical pizza. In fact, you may find my combination of ingredients to be strange, exotic, or just plain ol’ different.

Let me explain: Seoul of South Korea. Nairobi of Kenya. Rhode Island, California, and Alaska of America. All these locational ingredients have each left unique and strong impacts on my life:

Step 1: Pizza dough that can touch your “Seoul”.
Seoul, Korea: the place of my birth, the home for most of my family, and the capital of K-pop. Growing up with a Korean heritage has allowed me to be bilingual from a young age. It has provided me with a sense of pride for Korea’s beautiful and unique culture, food, traditions, and history. No matter where I go or who I become, I will always be a Korean. My heritage is the dough– my foundation– for who I am.

Step 2: Tomato Sauce with an African twist.
When I was a few months old I moved to Kenya because my parents were missionaries. Having missionary parents played a significant role in inspiring me to become a missionary, to grow spiritually in Jesus, and to become more attuned to the political and medical issues taking place in many African countries. But the greatest impact that having missionary parents and living in Africa has left on me is that it has kindled a passion within me to help others spiritually, mentally, and physically… a passion as red and thick as the tomato sauce that represents my life.

Step 3: Cheese that pulls life together.
Each of the three American states I’ve lived in have played critical roles in helping me discover who I am. Rhode Island: Where my father passed away from stomach cancer, kindling my desire to become a doctor. California: Where I realized that God truly loves me and has everything in my life planned out, motivating me to dedicate my life to Him. Alaska: Where I uncovered my love for serving the community and my potential to be a leader. Most importantly, it is where I became certain that I wanted to become a doctor.

The good and the bad experiences I’ve faced while living in the US have brought me to where I am today; it has pulled amazing people into my life and provided me with everlasting memories; it has allowed me to discover who I am as a person, sister, daughter, student, and leader.

Dough: The foundation. Sauce: The passion. Cheese: The discovery. All three of these ingredients– although quite different– complement each other and have made strong impacts on the basic recipe of who I am.

The question now is… what’s next?!

Although a simple cheese pizza can be amazing, additional toppings can make a pizza stand out even more!

 So here’s what we do.

 Step 4: Toppings of adventurous origins.
It is difficult for me to express all the emotions I feel about going to Ecuador in less than two months! I feel so much excitement about going to a foreign country and witnessing its amazing culture. I feel even more excited thinking about the fact that I will be surrounded by such an inspirational group of peers for the next eight months. And honestly, I also feel scared about leaving my family for so long and having to learn a language on my own. In the end, however, I know that my Fellowship in Ecuador– although it may be scary or sad at times– will be a life-changing and positive experience. I know that it will allow me to grow into a stronger, braver, and more adventurous person…

I know that it will leave a unique and memorable experience on my life; a unique and memorable topping to my pizza.

Chan Mi Joo