dwehji chungook (piggie heaven)
1 AM, leaving for the airport in a couple of hours, and I think it’s the first time I’ve been left alone in the three weeks I’ve been here (minus the bathroom breaks). Even then, it took a lot of insisting and shaking people off. Needless to say, hospitality here has been incredible. Also, my mom has been smothering me. But it’s been a good trip.
“Jang SoYun must find her bboori.”
Favorite Uncle: Do you smoke?
Uncle. That’s right. *points to sky* Because God is watching. *blows puff of smoke into the air.*
Everybody: Do you have a boyfriend?
If there’s no kimchi, bap, and gook on the table, then it’s not a meal. It’s a snack.
Me: It’s supposed to be better if you nurse the baby.
Mom: I didn’t nurse either of you. I had small bap-tong (rice box). *points to breasts*
Dad: lies lies lies lies delusion
Seeing my 3 aunties in Korea + my mom. What a BEAUTIFUL sisterhood. UGH.
every meal i’ve eaten here
Auntie 3 (kinda my favorite—SHE IS ME BUT GENEROUS, EASY-GOING, AND FORGIVING): *falls asleep on the couch*
Me: *getting up to leave*
Auntie 3: *barely raising her eyes* You’re gonna be fine. You and your brother. You guys are gonna do well.
Me: I guess that’s a relief, haha.
Auntie 3: No, really. We pray for you guys everyday. You guys are gonna do well.
Seeing my childhood home, seeing my mom’s childhood home, seeing my mom’s highschool, seeing the hospital my grandmother practically lived at.
Mom: When your grandfather died, I thought that meant I didn’t have to go to college anymore.
Me: HA. What happened?
Mom: Your uncle wouldn’t let me off the hook.
Me: Ahahaha. You know, mom, there are people out there who would love to go to college, but can’t.
Mom: Hey, I had a plan. I wanted to use that money to buy a pick up truck so I could go around selling stuff.
Me: What did you want to sell?
Favorite Uncle: She’s my daughter. She wanted to see the boat.
Mom: You look too young. You must put on more BB cream.
Auntie 2: She looks too young. You must take her to get pahmah.
My uncle teaching me how to feed the seagulls shrimp crackers off of my bare hands.
“You’re in pain because you’re tensing up. You’re panicking. You HAVE to relax. Breathe.”
-End snapshots because I could go on for a long time-
If I had to summarize the trip, I’d say it was weird. Weird because the past two years have been constant breaking down and building up—new places, new people, bam bam—and then…back to my “roots.” Back to language barriers, family problems, insecurities that I thought I had conquered. The past semester was so good. This trip was like the buffer period into the summer. A bizarre limbo. Like the (seemingly) constant movement forward was interrupted to ground me in ways I didn’t expect or ask for. But it was good. I’m so glad I came here and that I came here when I did.
As for my father, I spent quite a bit of time with him, but I only needed to spend 15 minutes to know for sure now what I knew then. I felt the same as I did when I was 4. The steady calm. Thrown off by nothing. In fact, I am crazy proud of toddler-me because she knew how to conduct herself instinctively. Thank you for staying far far away from me. I now remember exactly who you are to me.
And I now know exactly where I come from. I come from a family that loves, and loves hard. And lives life as selflessly as I’ve ever seen anyone. I am inspired by them, and so proud to know that I come from these people.