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80 years old and undecdided: “Too much contamination”

Updated: Dec 14, 2018



AZUSA, California – This guy is 80 years and eight months old and incredibly fit.


A few minutes after this picture was taken he went on several hours of hiking in the rugged area around Crystal Lake in Angeles National Forest north of Los Angeles. Last year he and his wife walked for one and a half months on El Camino de Santiago in Spain and this winter he will go skiing in Idaho.


Our conversation on top of the mountain began with him telling me that he moved to the United States in 1974 after living for 39 years in the much poorer Korea. In search of a better life.


All this before introducing ourselves. I went first, then him.


“My name is Steve.”


“Steve?! So is that your American name?”


“Yes.”


“What is your Korean name then?”


“Suk. But my last name is Yoo. Yoo Suk!”


And then he laughed out loud. I joined him.



Suk is an American citizen. He has a distinct Asian accent (leaving out the ending of words) but that is not rare in the US and as a sign of devotion, he wears socks in his sandals.


Coming to America and starting everything from scratch is hard work, Suk says. For three decades he basically worked non stop, most of that in his own dental clinic in Los Angeles. Today he is retired but still owns the valuable property in the city (the latter part of that sentences was delivered with a big grin).


One of his daughters followed his path and is now a dentist in San Francisco, while the other one is a lawyer, who votes for Donald Trump.


Suk is not convinced.


“I don’t know about that guy. I don’t really like any of them. Too much contamination.”


Last time he voted for Barack Obama but Hillary Clinton’s email affair and general relationship with ‘truth’ is hard for Suk to deal with, though politics didn’t seem like his favorite topic.


“I like honesty. So I am still undecided.”


This sign led me to Suk Yoo, which I am grateful for. But if you choose to go to Crystal Lake, I better tell you that the cafe is not open.

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