it’s after midnight. all our bags are stuffed and zipped up, waiting to be rolled down our hill and loaded into a taxi cab in about 3 short hours. from the cab to the bus terminal, from the bus to the airplane, to another plane, to another plane… sigh. and then, home. it’s worth every step of the process to be surrounded by the ones we love. the ones that help us make a little more sense. everyone does better with some context. and i’ve had no context for a year. i’ve also had very few hugs (from people other than david). i realized that tonight while i hugged our aussie friends tight, saying goodbye as they wrap up their year teaching here and head off to europe. we are so grateful for our expat friends in korea. they’ve become quite a lovely stand-in family.
i walked home today from my last day of english camp. i couldn’t believe that in a day (or so) i’d be back on america soil. i made note of the korean scenery and all the things that have become completely normal to me in the past year. ancient, sinewy old women crouched on the ground selling vegetables, their floral visors hiding their crinkly eyes. hunched over old men pulling carts piled high with cardboard boxes, broken down flat and tied with string. trendy young women in unbelievable heels with perfect make-up, punching their cellphones purposefully. kids gawking at me, even the occasional “breeann teacher!!” from a nearby academy where some of my students study. trash-lined streets. a rotting watermelon rind in the sewer. cars parked haphazardly on all the side streets leading me home. the hills, the mountains, the white-hot sun and the smells of korean grills and rotten fish mingling together. power lines above power lines. neon signs with mishmashed hanguel and korean. high-rises casting long shadows. parasols and sideways glances and motorcycles weaving on the sidewalks. this has been our backdrop for the past year, and will be for awhile longer.
i am amazed at all the ways humans adapt. i am amazed at all the ways we have adapted to this place, and carved out a niche for ourselves in the midst of it all. i am so ready to go home, to take some deep breaths of sweet iowa air. nothing comes close to des moines in my heart, but i am always grateful for everything we’ve been given, and i will try my best to come back to korea with a heart full and ready for the next season. the adventure isn’t over yet, and so we will make home wherever we are.