Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Short Memory of a Bored Fish Swimming Through Gravel.

With the semester almost done, I'm looking forward to the trip back to the US for a few weeks. Although I don't particularly enjoy the stress of the holidays, it will be nice to get away from work after a long semester, and it'll be nice to see people who I haven't seen in a year or more. It's hard for me imagine that I had a life before Korea sometimes. A lot of the people back home seem like a distant memory, and frankly, some are. In that sense, visiting home always seems a little like stepping into my own mind and having a little walk around my memory. I suppose that's what makes the changes that have happened since I've left all the more jarring. As much as it's easy to tell yourself that life goes on, it's sometimes hard to really see it up close. Part of me wishes I could just put Fort Wayne on pause when I leave and step back into it whenever I'd like. I do miss getting together with my little group of friends, most of whom are scattered now, and it's always sad for me to think that that'll probably never be possible again.

Conversely, Korea still feels like a vacation to me at times, a time away from my life. Whenever I go home, that feeling is always amplified, like somehow I've stepped back into reality from this extended dream. Korea is a dream at times, albeit one of those hyper-realistic dreams that's a bit off. Four years ago, I'd have never imagined having dinner conversation in three languages. Four years ago, I'd have never dreamed of the kind-hearted struggles I have conversing with my father-in-law. Four years ago, I couldn't have guessed the love--and at times the frustration--I feel toward my wife. Korea still is a world that defies explanation even for those of you who have actually been here. I'm not just a fish out of water here. No, I'm a fish out of water who's trying his best to swim through the gravel.

Whereas I'm looking forward to seeing folks back home, I'm not looking forward to the boredom. There's the long flight, of course, which I never look forward to, but that's not the boredom I'm talking about. I'm also not talking about the boredom of the long days with all my friends and family off at their day jobs, although that's not all peach cobbler, either. I'm not even talking about the boredom of being pushed back into a city of a couple hundred thousand after getting used to living in cities of millions. No, what I'm talking about is the boredom of being back in an easy world, a world where I don't struggle to chat with friends or express my opinion or even simply not look like a fool whenever I open my mouth; a world where I'm only an ass when I want to be and not by accident; a world where when I tell a joke, people don't wonder if the joke was on purpose; a world where I get the cultural nuance, the subtlety, the finesse. No, I'm not looking forward to the boredom of a world that I mostly understand and that mostly understands me. It's like being strapped with heavy weights for months and then suddenly snapping them off: it's freeing, but it's easy, unchallenging, boring.

Then there's the fact that I keep all my stuff in Korea now: my computer, my wii, my wife, although that last one I don't keep so much as just try to get not to leave.

Those of you waiting on the other side of the world, see you soon. Those of you staying behind on this side, I'll bring you back a postcard.

Cheers,

R

PS I was feeling multi-lingual today, so the next two posts are in Korean and French respectively. They don't say the same thing as this one, and I've used each language for a reason: the post in Korean talks about my past semester and next semester on this side of the world, and the post in French talks about my possible trip to Montreal for a few days. The languages match the content. If you want to get the whole post experience, I've posted the translations of the posts in each post's "comments" section. I'm not nearly as eloquent in Korean or French, so they're rather boring.

For shits and giggles, feel free to throw the posts into an online translator and get more literal translations. They're far funnier than the ones I did.

Also don't forget I posted a rather big update back in November that I never sent an email out about. Feel free to peruse and see what you've missed.

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At 2:44 PM, Anonymous CresceNet said...

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