Saturday, April 20, 2013

Out of place, but completely at home

Celebrating Chuseok with the Heo family. You can read more about our fun Korean holiday, here.

Today I wanted to share a little realization that bonked me on the head since I have started to get things in line for returning to America for graduate school.

I don't want to leave South Korea.


Say, what? 

Yea, that was my reaction, my friend's reaction back home, and my even my husband's reaction. Somewhere along the way South Korea stopped being where I live and turned into my home. I don't even know when it happened. I love the city, country, culture, and people of South Korea so much that when I sat down and thought of leaving everything in just a few short months I couldn't imagine my life after South Korea.
When I saw this picture of Julia Childs cooking in her Paris apartment I burst out laughing because this is how I feel in Korea. I have bumped my head on more than one door way, mistaken my gym towel for a tea towel, and have nearly fallen out of a changing room with my pants down more times that I can count. Oh, Julia you know my plight, and like this woman I fell in love with my host country.

When I first moved to South Korea, I had no idea how happy I would come to be while living in the peninsula. In those first couple months I remember being so frustrated with the language barrier and cultural differences that I felt isolated and alone, which is an easy thing to feel in such a homogenous country. Little-by-little and day-by-day the city and country charmed me. I learned the language, made friends, and ate everything at least twice. I stopped looking at Seoul as a pit stop before I was allowed to resume my normal life in America, and that was the key to loving South Korea.

Even though I am out of place I feel completely at home. Even the too small bathrooms and changing rooms have become dear to me. Although, I will never get over the fact that there are never any shoes to fit my feet and it is a grudge that I will bear until my death. A GRUDGE.

Anyhow, back on track! I love this country and I am saddened to have to leave it. I hope that I will be able to come back and show my future children the country that won my heart.

Rich and I at the lantern festival on the Cheonggyecheon stream.

한국은 나는 사랑 해요!
(My best attempt at saying Korea, I love you)