Today I flew across the Pacific ocean toward the USA.
16 months ago, I sat on an Asiana flight flying the other direction. I knew I was in for an adventure. Sixteen months since this. And this. And this.
Look at that girl. Did she realize how much she’d change? How much she would come alive overseas?
She has darker hair now, no bangs, she speaks a little Korean, she has a couple new piercings. I might not be able to recognize her if I hadn't seen her change in the mirror, a little at a time.
How much more has she changed inside? That change is immeasurable... I’ve said that it’s like I’ve always been this girl inside, but I allowed myself to hide behind what I *thought* I was supposed to be, what people expected me to be. Living overseas has let me slough off things that were holding me back, things I didn’t even realize were there. I’ve learned so much. Grown up in so many ways. God has slowly, patiently, tenderly been peeling off layers of my self-imposed façade, allowing the real me to step out from her hiding place. I’m more myself now than ever before. More confident. I’ve never been so comfortable in my own skin. This ‘real me,’ ...I like her a lot.
What else has changed in a year and a half?
I can tell you that friendships have changed. Friendships have helped me change. Being uprooted from every friendship I’d ever spent time and energy on was hard, but that vacuum opened the door to so many valuable, challenging friendships in my new adventure. You learn a lot about friendship that way... you see how people react to change, you learn how you react to the changes, you find out who will make an effort to maintain friendships, and you recognize that some friendships will sorta get put on hold until you’re together again. I really, really value my friends who have made an effort to talk pretty regularly. It means a lot to me, my darlings. You know who you are. You have made me feel very loved!
I haven’t been in my home country, let alone my hometown, in 16 months. How much has changed there? What am I going to see when I land? What is fashion going to be like? Lord knows Korea has a uniquely different standard of cute. What do people even wear these days? I need to keep up with Pinterest more. What about my parents’ neighborhood? What new construction am I going to see on the drive from the airport? The longest I was ever gone before was maybe 2 months and I was blown away by some of the changes in that short time! What’s a year and a half going to be like?
Coming back to my first home is going to be, well, strange to say the least. Friends who have done it before have warned me. I know I’m in for a lot of reverse culture shock. Am I going to mumble “anyahseyo” (안녕하세요) and bob my head in a small bow when I meet people? How many times am I going to hand people my debit card with the opposite hand resting on my extended arm? I wonder how creeped out people will be when I stand too close behind them in line at the grocery store? I’m not used to giving people much personal space anymore! I wonder what I will be surprised by, that I don’t expect?
Time will tell! And time’s gonna tell pretty quickly because I’m currently sitting in San Francisco waiting for my next flight to Houston!
See y’all soon!
PS. I've been in Monday for 30-some-odd hours now and it isn't gonna be Tuesday til I'm another couple of time zones over. I love time travel. I landed at SFO "before" I took off from ICN. ㅋㅋㅋ
PPS. I have been in San Fran for an hour and I’ve already
-tried to say “kinchanayo” to a guy who was passing out luggage carts
-seen Giants t-shirts and hats and been surprised that they aren’t Lotte Giants... they’re San Francisco Giants memorabilia (same exact design, I’m just not used to SF!)
-overheard a family talking in Afrikaans and got super excited (might have been Dutch, but either way I grinned)
-realized I don’t like overhearing English everywhere, so I put my earbuds in. Baby steps.
Anyeong, America. What's up?