Ill Yong opens Google Maps, trying to find a satellite image of his childhood house. This always makes him homesick. When he zooms in on his house, a blurry gray square surrounded by snow, he remembers the nearby waterfall and the summer days he spent playing there. But he also remembers how hard it was living in North Korea.
His family listened to illegal South Korean radio every night but had to keep it hidden from friends and neighbors. If caught, they could have been sent to a political prison camp or even executed.
Ill Yong resettled to South Korea in 2009 and, even though his family was with him, starting over in a new country was challenging. The everyday moments took adjusting to.
His first time at a buffet, Ill Yong was so overwhelmed by the massive amount of food that he just took a small bowl of rice.
The first time he tried to use an escalator he was so confused about what to do that he jumped on at the bottom and then jumped off at the top.
Ill Yong is studying to become a Human Rights lawyer. A lot has changed since he first arrived (he now knows how to get on an escalator) but he still thinks about his old home in North Korea and hopes to see it again in person one day.