Seeking a better life, my mother immigrated to the U.S. in 1985 with her family and a bamboo bed mat in tow. Before beds were common in South Korea, the Koreans used bamboo bed mats to line the floor beneath their blankets. These bed mats are rigid to support one's back and ease tense muscles while sleeping, as well as cooling to lower body temperature during the summer months. I remember one sweltering-hot summer day as my mom was laying out the bamboo mat for herself to lie down on (she still uses the bamboo mat occasionally), she stated "Joyce, when I first came to America, I did not have a bed. I did not speak English and I had no air conditioning. But I brought a piece of Korea with me and both my bed mat and I have come a long way from then." And she started to tell me stories of her life in Korea. My mom has been in the country for over 30 years now, yet whenever she pulls out her bamboo bed mat, memories are stirred and she draws one out to share with me. I am grateful that she brings up her past in Korea through the simple act of laying out a bamboo mat.
– Joyce Han