A Long-Lost Friendship is Rekindled at The Covington in Aliso Viejo
Life has a way of bringing treasures back to us in unexpected ways. A box of photographs rediscovered in the attic. An old ring unearthed in the garden. And occasionally, dear friends return to our lives. That is the story of two recently arrived Covington residents.
More than 70 years ago, Mr. Yung Mo Kim and Mrs. Yungwha Min were teenagers, growing up in Seoul, during the Korean war. Though they did not know each other, fate would bring them together. As the battle raged, civilians in the city were evacuated and Yung Mo and Yungwha ended up on the same truck, heading south to safety.
Over the next few years as the war continued, they became friends, living in the same temporary housing neighborhood.
In 1954 Yungwha came to the United States at just 18 years old to study at Mount Holyoke College on a full scholarship. Four years later, Yung Mo followed, but by then they had lost touch.
For Yungwha Min, her new country meant new opportunities. She obtained an MA in Philosophy and an MS in Counseling and later worked as Director of the Career Center at College of Saint Rose, in Albany, NY. She also married Kongki Min, Physics professor, and raised two beautiful children; Katherine, a journalist and published author and Kollin, an environmental lawyer. After her children left for college themselves, Yungwha completely changed careers and became an International Banker.
Yung Mo Kim arrived in America already holding a law degree from Korea. Wanting to continue his education, he obtained a Master’s in Public Administration from Syracuse University and an MA in Economics from Clark University. Then, under the Teaching Assistantship program, Yung Mo received a Ph.D. in Economics from the State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY).
Some 15 years after graduating from Clark University, Yung Mo earned a JD degree in Law and opened a practice in Buffalo. Over his career, he was a Professor of Economics for 49 years and practiced law for 27 years, until he retired in 2017.
As their professional careers were winding down, both Yungwha and Yung Mo began to consider what they wanted for the next stage of their lives.
Yungwha came to know about The Covington through a friend. “I was impressed,” she says. “I like that it is a small, nonprofit community, compared to many larger places.” Yungwha and her husband moved in during the fall of 2021 and they appreciate both the dedicated staff and their new neighbors.
One of her favorite spots on the campus is the Koi Pond. “The gardens and walking paths are beautiful, and I love to sit by the pond and relax. It is very peaceful.”
Last year, Yung Mo and his wife Boin, decided it was time to find a new home. They wanted to be near their son Richard, Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Cedars-Sinai, and Betty, their daughter-in-law but were anxious about leaving their friends and life in Buffalo. Betty, a plastic surgeon, suggested they consider living in one of the nearby senior communities. The Kim’s daughter Sandra, an Attorney with a PHD in Neuroscience working at Pfizer came up with a list of nine communities to look at. “The Covington was the eighth one we visited,” Yung Mo says.
In advance of their visit, Yung Mo learned from a mutual friend that Yungwha, who he had not seen since he left Korea, lived at The Covington with her husband. Yung Mo says he was excited and a bit nervous, “we had not seen each other for 70 years.” To mark the special occasion, Mr. and Mrs. Kim brought a bouquet of flowers for Yungwha.
For her part, Yungwha was delighted to learn that Yung Mo and his wife would be visiting. “It was wonderful to see my old friend again,” she says. When the Kims arrived, they were warmly welcomed by the Mins, who showed them around the community. Yung Mo says the Mins hospitality and their enthusiastic recommendation of The Covington was a crucial factor in their decision to make their home here. “Our children, who have legal and medical expertise, also agreed this was the best place,” he says.
That evening, the two couples had dinner together, and enjoyed sharing youthful memories and learning about the road each had travelled in life since then. Yungwha says they also discovered they had something else in common. “We realized that Yung Mo and my husband attended the same high school in Seoul.”
After thousands of miles and many decades, a big world has been brought closer together by one community.
For the Kim and Min families, the choice, creativity, confidence, and connection they now enjoy at The Covington provides them the peace of mind to continue their journey of a life well lived. “We know we made the right decision,” says Yung Mo.
The Art of Possibility
Proudly nonprofit, The Covington is a member of the ECS family of communities for active seniors. Founded on four commitments – choice, creativity, confidence, and connection – ECS has been at the forefront of senior living in California since 1923.
At The Covington, your journey can be as adventurous or easy-going as you want. A maintenance-free lifestyle means freedom to create your future, pursue your passions and enjoy active independence. Our residences, villas, and cottages offer floor plans for all needs, freeing you from the worry of having to move again. With services to ensure your comfort and mobility, and amenities to keep you active and inspire learning, here, life is what you make it.
Our Creative Living philosophy drives lifelong learning, growth, and social and cultural connections. Here, you will find the setting, service, and amenities that support fun, fresh opportunities for self-expression and discovery. Choose from fitness for all levels, theater and singing groups, and art and dance classes – all available on campus. If you need more inspiration, our communities are conveniently located near many of Southern California’s celebrated cultural destinations.
Confidence is everything. As a nonprofit organization, ECS is continually reinvesting to improve infrastructure, services, and programs. No matter which Life Plan community you choose, you will experience relaxed, maintenance-free, sophisticated retirement living. With one of the highest credit ratings in the industry, ECS offers the security, service, and peace-of-mind that allows you to enjoy all life has to offer.
The strength of a community is the strength of its people. Relax over morning coffee with friends, take a class, attend a lecture, and delight in live entertainment. Here, your social life is as vibrant as you are. Contribute by serving on a resident club or leadership committee. Our “Resident Centered, Staff Supported” approach means you enjoy the full spectrum of quality-of-life benefits that comes from calling a Life Plan Community home. It is an environment that allows you to flourish and be your very best.
The Covington offers exceptional continuing care, retirement community living in a secure, gated neighborhood in Aliso Viejo. Our relaxed, maintenance-free, resort-style accommodations and active campus environment offer the perfect place to continue your journey of a life well lived, on your terms. Contact us today to learn more. (949) 209-3829. thecovington.org.