Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Missing Korea

It's happened.

We've passed the six-month mark. We've now been back in the US for more than half-a-year.

And I'm really starting to miss Korea.

I was listening to music today, while doing some house chores, and a song came up on shuffle that I hadn't listened to in a while. The driving beat excited my mind, and as the poppy chorus dropped, I was mentally teleported to the last time I heard the song. We had just left the home of some close friends. It was a 15-20 minute drive from their home to ours, and Ferial and I loved listening to music on those short trips. I made a right hand turn and sped down the by-way as that same chorus hit. Together, we laughed about how both catchy and silly the song was, and how much we both loved it. We danced and sang along, headed home to our comfortable little billa.

There are a plethora of websites out there to help the expat adjust to life in a foreign country.

I've yet to find one to help him readjust when moving back to his own.

When living overseas, you can learn how to speak the language, order food for delivery, how to navigate both city streets and social protocols, and even how to flirt appropriately in a foreign land.

I could use some advice about how to find a job after working in a foreign market for years, how to make decisions in the grocery store, where you suddenly have seemingly unlimited choices of stewed tomatoes, how to reconnect with old friends, after living in such a close-knit community for so long or how to find good Korean food in the suburbs...

For Ferial and I, living in South Korea was the longest either of us have lived in one place consecutively since leaving for college. Our tiny apartment in Pyeongtaek became home to us in a very real and profound sense. We made friends so close and so deep, that they're irreplaceable.

When we left Korea, we left part of our hearts there.

Don't get me wrong. We're thrilled to be back. We love the lives we have here, and are so thankful for the ways in which we've been provided for.

Just try and understand that even here at home, we're very homesick.

We miss the restaurants, the music, the landscapes, the smells, the friends, the faces, the language. We miss our routines, and our little apartment. Even the taste of Korean Coca-Cola.

We were at the San Francisco Zoo on Saturday with some of my best friends from college. Standing by the brown bear enclosure, we found ourselves distracted. Not by the massive bears standing just a few feet away, but by the small family of Koreans who were passing by behind us. We turned and watched them pass, straining our ears to hear the melodious sound of their conversation. The grandfather wore powder blue slacks and stood tall and proud. He kept his hands clasped behind his back and walked with a slow and deliberate stride. No one thought of hurrying him. They waited for him with the patience they'd show royalty. The children played. The mother cooed.

Ferial turned to me and pouted slightly.

Just across a small pond from the bear paddock, an eagle - majestic and solitary - perched on a small island. I suddenly realized that the bear is a traditional symbol in Korea. The eagle, the national bird of the United States. And that we, probably not unlike that Korean family, were living somewhere in between.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...