Yeonmi Park experienced the life of a roller coaster while living in North Korea. She didn’t know what freedom was or what it could even be like. On March 31, 2007, after feeling the necessary need to get out of North Korea, her mother and herself crossed the frozen Yalu River in the dead of the night.Yeonmi Park was only thirteen years old when her and her mother decided to cross over into China. She didn’t know for sure what China would be like, but she knew from commercials she saw that it had to be better than North Korea where she had endured abuse, neglect and starvation. Her father worked odd jobs when he could in the black market selling whatever he could, but at times it wasn’t enough to feed his family. Her father attempted to make it out of North Korea and into China, and when he finally did, he passed away of cancer.
Yeonmi Park was able to make it through the Gobi desert and all the way to the Mongolian border. She was finally able to reach South Korea by plane after many days of escaping the law and living in disguise. She mentions that her father had no idea how much food was available in the world because that’s all that they knew. Once she was able to get out of North Korea, she was able to see the amenities that are available and the different ways of life. She couldn’t believe that people were able to live that way.
She has experienced some of the terrible things she shares on the Reason TV that a lot of civilians in North Korea are experiencing today and every day. She was able to take the risk and get out of the terror, and increase her quality of life. It was a very risky jump on her part, but Park knew there had to be something more for her an her family out there. She eventually was able to reunite with her sister, whom she was very happy to see. It had been too long to be apart, and she was glad that she was safe.