Getting to Know: Su Kim

Continuing our series of “Getting to Know” with our team, where team members answer a few questions. Check out previous post on James if haven’t.

This week, we have Su.

1. Do you collect anything? 

Closest thing I have to a collection is 100+ vintage mystery paperbacks, the ones that sold for 25¢ back in the day.  I like the feel of wear, but also the smaller font, questionable/interesting/sometimes confusing cover art, and travel-friendly size.  Also, I enjoy the hunt in used bookstores and rummage sales. The downside is that sometimes, they do fall apart while I’m reading.

2. What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleep?

52 hours.  After a bout of insomnia, I cut out all caffeine. Then, didn’t have any caffeine for years, developing a sensitivity to it. The 52 hours was the unfortunate outcome of a cup of coffee drunk without thinking. That second day at work was rough. 

3. What did you want to be when you were younger?

From age 11-17, I wanted to be an astronomer. First thing I bought with my own money (that cost more than $20) when I was 13 was a hardcover edition of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos.  Still a favorite pastime to go stargazing or following discoveries. Over time, shifted studies/careers several times as I found people and cultures just as fascinating as pulsars and black holes.

4. Got any favorite quotes? 

Depends on the season of life. One that’s resonating as of late is:

The exercise of the imagination is dangerous to those who profit from the way things are because it has the power to show that the way things are is not permanent, not universal, not necessary.  Having that real though limited power to put established institutions into questions, imaginative literature has also the responsibility of power.  The storyteller is the truthteller.

Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Wave in the Mind (on the Writer, Reader, and the Imagination)

Creating meaningful optionality in people’s (my and other’s) lives is important to me I think about the impact I want to have in the world.   And sometimes, that means creating and supporting spaces where people can imagine something different.

5. Does your family have a “motto” – spoken or unspoken?

Growing up, as immigrants, our family had its share of moments staring out into the unknown and stumbling through. Our rallying cry was “밑져야 본전!” which roughly translates to “Trying doesn’t hurt/I’ve nothing to lose”. Risks are harder to take as I’ve gotten older and increasingly have something to lose. But, it’s still an encouragement and reminder to keep moving and trying.

Tune in next week for more “Getting to Know”!