"When I think of home, I think of a place where there's love overflowing."
During the first week of January, a week where I taught no classes, I spent a few days sitting at my desk, basking in the rose colored glasses of nostaligia. Specifically, I was watching a video in which a group of tourists ride through my hometown, while Michael Jackson songs play througout. I was a crying, emotional disaster.
Fast foward three weeks later! I was actually riding though the same city, in the backseat of my parents car. Hallelujah, for winter vacation!
I think the fact that it had been nearly a year and a half since I had been home that made this trip so special and necessary. I felt truly free! Free from stares, free from language barrier, free from unsolicited questions! Free indeed.
The funny thing is, while watching that video I was getting teary-eyed over seeing abandonded houses, pot holes, and blinking stop lights. But when I got home I was most relieved to be among people who felt grateful to have me around. For the first time in a long time, I felt overwhelemed with love and not curiosity.
Although my family had lots of questions, most of them were about if I still loved living in Korea and what I wanted to do while I was home. They just wanted to be in my presence. Talk with me, laugh with me, eat with me, spend the little time we had together.
The moments I spent riding around the city were actually a lot less dramatic than the video I watched. However, the actual footage catured in the vido looked the same. Abandoned houses, pot holes, blinking street lights. Maybe the abandoned buildings are less in number thanks to the new mayor, but still same general ghost town-nesss nonetheless.
Something else I noticed, that's worth noting here, is my level of anxiety. Whenever I was just sitting in the car, walking from the car to a building, and vice versa, I was super anxious. Almost to a fault. I would be very cautious of my surroundings and nervous about the strangers around me.
For instance, one night I went to the phramacy with my mother. As we pulled into the parking lot, she told me that a woman was assaulted while walking out of the building. Probably not the best thing to say as we're about to enter said building. But I just feigned confidence. I got out of the car and walked towards the door. When I looked back my mom was walking back towards the car. Another car pulled up beside ours. I watched my mom from the door. On the inside, I was thinking of all the possible ways this could go wrong.
But we were fine. We went inside, got our items, and went back home. All while I was home, the possiblity of being robbed, shot, or killed in anyway plagued my mind. And I said to myself, "This is why you left."
But the reality is, there is no corner of the earth that is 100% safe from danger and harm.
"Suddenly my world's gone and changed its face, but I still know where I'm going. I have had my mind spun around in space, and yet I've watched it growing."
Although South Korea is physically safe (most days), living here is an emotional minefield.
So...Do I stay close to home where I am physically at risk, but surrounded by loved ones? Or in a place where I feel safe, but emotionally unsupported?
The absolute best thing about being home was getting to see my nephews. I cried when I saw my eldest nephew (of the two). We cried together. He's six years old now, and when I picked hime up his feet touched my calves. Time is stopping for no one, and that slapped me in the face at that moment.
And I met the youngest boy, fifteen months old, for the fist time. And we were playing and laughing like he's known me forever. His laugh will ring in my heart always.
Being with them, it crossed me mind to cancel my return flight and break my contract. F*ck it all!! I need to be home!
But I have too much integrity to do such a thing.
I did make an announcement that I would be home in 2021. Although I was already turning the idea over in my head, being with my family pushed me over the edge. I want to go home...and stay home.
Even still, there is a question that lingers in my mind:
Is it God's will for me to go home next year ? What if it isn't?
I despise the thought.
"If you're listening God, please don't make it hard to know if we should believe the things that we see. Tell us, should we run away? Should we try and stay? Or would it be better just to let things be?"
I want to share a documentary I happened upon on Youtube about my hometown, Gary, Indiana. It gave me hope and I hope you'll find it worth the watch!