Thursday, 11 September 2014

Cafe Smorgas, Sanur Bali

Photo credit: Little Bali Love
Cafe Smorgas is on main street in Sanur, Jl Tamblingan  and right next door to a massage spa (Healing Hands). On this trip, Healing Hands was the massage spa that we visited daily, so after a morning massage and seeing that they were popular, we decided to give them a shot for brunch.

Emigrate: to leave one's place of residence or country to live elsewhere

I recently found out my biological Mother emigrated from South Korea in 1999. 

This information was supplied from the adoption agency I was processed through in Korea to the government department in my state who deal with post-adoption.

The email didn't say where she had immigrated to, just that she had left Korea and as a result her Korean registry had been closed. I'm not sure if they know where she immigrated to and couldn't/wouldn't disclose this. They ended the email saying that they had no further plans for the case.

The department that I'm dealing with at home haven't made this process any easier. While the people who are helping with my case are lovely and have been very efficient with their replies, their lack of knowledge and experience gives me very little confidence. I asked them if there is anything that can be done to re-open my case. They don't know. I have requested that they send an email on my behalf (because I have to go through them to communicate with my adoption agency) asking for more information. Where did she immigrate to? Can they provide her name in Hangul and her Korean ID number? (I know that they can't/won't do this but I thought it might be worth asking). Is there any thing else that can be done from here?  I have also contacted two groups in Korea who help adoptees with birth family search with the hopes that they can assist. 

What's really frustrating is knowing that there's information in my file that I can't have access to. When I was in Korea in May, I was told the reason behind this is that they can't guarantee the accuracy of the information. The ironic thing is that it's very unlikely that the information in my Initial Social History that I have copies of in Korean and English is accurate; I've never met anyone whose reality matched their Initial Social History document. I was also told by the Korean Social Worker that there laws in place that prevent identifying information from being shared with me without the consent of a biological parent. It's a catch-22... I can't locate biological family independently from the adoption agency without this information but can't get access to it without permission from my biological Mother or Father.

Family search via email is difficult and people with more complicated searches usually have better success by being in Korea; visiting the hospital they were born in, getting assistance from the police, submitting DNA etc. Knowing this, when I submitted my forms to find out more information about my biological family, I also applied for a 'return home' program run by my adoption agency. They contribute financially towards your airfare and provide accommodation for a week in the adoptee guesthouse they operate. On the same day that I found out about my biological Mother emigrating from Korea, I also found out that my application for the program had been unsuccessful. The program is for adoptees who have communicated with biological family but had not been able to meet them due to financial hardship. The guidelines also said that if there were unoccupied places, adoptees "who are hard to find birth family" were able to apply. I don't know if all the adoptees selected met the first round criteria and even though I didn't, I had thought that I might still get a place. If there are applicants who are still searching who were successful, I can only assume their the rejection of my application came as a result of their decision to have "no further plans" for my case. I am still pretty devastated by this... I wanted to be in Korea in November. 

As I drifted to sleep last night, I wondered why people search for biological family and why I was doing this. Part of me thinks that it makes no sense to want to meet someone who knew me for less than a day but just happens to share my DNA. The other part of me still wants to search...

I've gone from feeling shocked, to curious, to frustrated, to downright angry. Right now, I am feeling despondent by the lack of information about the search process and the fact that there is information available that I can't access. I may never know more than what I know now and this is something that I must accept.

A note from Pia: I have written and deleted this post so many times. Re-writing the post didn't make it any easier to write, nor did it make my writing any better (damn!). I know my friends, colleagues and family read my blog which sometimes makes it hard to write without feeling inhibited. Today is "R U OK?" day and truth be told... no, I'm not OK. It's hard to feel happy at the moment. It's not that I feel sad... I just feel confused, overwhelmed, distracted and not quite myself. I know that I will be OK though. Pia xx

Sunday, 7 September 2014

The Precinct, Victoria Park

For months I'd been seeing a number of blogger friends rave on about The Precinct. "Oh The Precinct, it's so good...", "so and so checked-in at The Precinct for the 100 millionth time" "blah blah blah The Precinct" and on it went.  So when my friend Laurissa and I decided to catchup for a champagne breakfast, I turned to Twitter looking for somewhere near the Vic Park, Como, South Perth area that offered alcohol at breakfast. Of course someone replied "The Precinct!". 

We were to meet at 930am on a Sunday morning. Laurissa is known for being notoriously late for events, so I figured I'd be fine to leave home at 930am and I'd still beat her. Turns out she was running on time and I was the late one. By the time I arrived she was half way through her coffee.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

The Porch at Flashbacks, Sanur Bali

If you want to know about Seminyak and Petitenget, I'm your girl. Sanur? I'm not as familiar with the area but am slowly becoming more knowledgeable.

I've stayed in the Sanur area twice now and am slowly making my way through the cafes. One of my favourite cafes that I've come across on the Jl Tamblingan strip is The Porch Cafe. The Porch sits in front of a small guesthouse called, Flashbacks and is just a few hundred metres from Hardy's.

Friday, 22 August 2014


I was invited to attend a Yelp Elite event at the home of Red Hot Spatula to learn the art of Cambodian cooking.

When I looked up the address and saw 'Toodyay Rd, Middle Swan', I thought "ooooh heck no! That's SOOOO FAR AWAY!". Turns out Middle Swan is about 5 minutes from Midland, which meant only a 20 minutes from my house.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Media: Maylands Market

A few weeks ago, a photo I took at the Maylands Market was featured in the West Australian newspaper.

You can read about my visit to the Maylands Hawkers Markets and see more foodie photos here.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Coreanos, Apgujeong Rodeo (Seoul)


After a particularly stressful morning in Seoul, my friend Steph took me to one of her favourite restaurants, Coreanos in Apgujeong Rodeo. She had mentioned how good it was a few times but I wasn't convinced. I'd had Mexican Korean fusion before in Perth and hadn't thought too much of it. It turns out Steph was right... the food was phenomenal! In fact, my visit to Coreanos was one of my favourite meals in Korea.