As a child, Jung Sook received lots of love and care as the youngest of the family. She excelled at school and had dreams of studying business. However, she was automatically denied entrance to university because of her family’s low social status.
Jung Sook was widowed when she was 8 months pregnant. After her daughter was born, she had to leave her with family while she traveled around North Korea working odd jobs to send money back. This was the most difficult time of her life. She even attempted suicide, but was saved in nick of time by a friend. At this low point, she realized there was nothing left for her in North Korea and that she had to leave.
Once she got to China, Jung Sook tried to help her good friends get out of North Korea. She was caught several times, forcibly repatriated, and thrown in a prison camp. She said, “It’s a place not fit for animals, let alone humans. Animals would freak out if they had to live there.”
Through her determination and tenacity, she was able to escape the prison camp more than once, eventually walking for three days in frigid weather to make her final escape from North Korea.
While trying to lay low in China, she worked at a Korean restaurant. It was there that she met a kind man who courted her and brought her gifts. Today, they are happily married and she looks forward to bringing him to South Korea.
Jung Sook has many goals for her life in South Korea, including rekindling her lifelong dream of running her own business. She has a particular talent for working with her hands and she takes pride in her cooking, so she’s considering opening a rice cake soup restaurant.