Si Yeon often dreamed of living a happy life—a life she said was impossible in North Korea. To survive, she had to engage in market activities like selling MSG, animal skins, and other goods. At one point, she was captured by the authorities and was held for a short time. They tried to get her to confess and tell them who she was trading with, even making her sit still in uncomfortable positions and holding her by the hair. The treatment infuriated her—she had only been doing what she had to do to get by.
Si Yeon escaped to China to look for work. Once there, she fell ill and had to be taken to a hospital, where she was abandoned by the man who had been her guide. She was left to fend for herself in a foreign country, but thankfully, she found people willing to help her. They told her the “guide” had likely been planning to sell her as a wife. Si Yeon considers herself extremely fortunate to have escaped this fate. Eventually, she connected with LiNK and made the journey to safety through our modern-day, underground railroad.
Now, Si Yeon looks forward to life in South Korea and has dreams of becoming a singer. At the least, she would like to become a beautician and own her own beauty salon. She also wants to learn Chinese and English, and is looking forward to learning other subjects once she has time to explore her options.