Saturday, February 07, 2009


Jo: "It seems like the city just pisses you off."
Michah: "Nah, I love the city. I hate the city but I love the city."
- Medicine for Melencholy

Bruce Wayne: "Gotham isn't beyond saving."
- Batman Begins

"Hello city,
You've found an enemy in me
Hello city, hello city."
- Barenaked Ladies, Hello City

I dig my toes into the cool sand of Chuam Beach, South Korea. It is my birthday. I am 25 years old. I took this weekend trip, by myself, because I felt, at 25, there was no one on the planet that could celebrate my quarter-century milestone better than myself. And Jesus. I packed, took a train, to a bus, hailed a taxi, and rented a minbok by the shore.

The pre-summer weather isn't conducive to sunbathing but, then, I'm not here for a tan. I'm looking for a sign. While my year teaching ESL has been marked with singlehood, footloose and fancy freedom, I'm digging into the future with as much focus as my toes dig the sand.

A Korean family - uppa, umma, harboji, halmoni*, and the prescribed two children - dawdle along the shoreline in front of where I sit. The father and mother snap multiple digital photos. The grandma helps one of the children find and collect shells. The other child runs in front of the pack marking a crazed path of small footprints.

"Don't you want a home?" Jesus, my birthday buddy, asks me. "Don't you want to know the people, the streets, the weather, the language? Don't you want to raise your children next to your parents?"

And right then, in June 2005, I knew I did. I went home to virtually nothing. No assets, no romantic prospects, and hardly any friendships that had sustained my global wanderlust. I went home because, "it's not good to go far from your native village; then you you forget who you are". (A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry)

* "father, mother, grandpa, grandma"


Andrew G said...

and I'm so very glad you did come home, La.

A very honest and revealing post. Well done, my love.

Seth Kimberley Graham Hunter said...

I like