Sunday, June 25, 2006

"But it's some free times!"

It's true. I am home.

"Home." A word that says so much with so little. I have thought before about how traveling makes home seem all the more like home, and this has definitely happened with returning to the U.S. from Korea.

I have spent the last two weeks in a whirlwind of traveling back and forth between Massachusetts and Virginia, traveling to family, friends, relationship, back and forth, drive in to Boston, suitcases not unpacked yet, then off to the doctor to diagnose pneumonia, throw in a trip to D.C., old friends, new faces, lingering issues, good times, hard times, emotional contemplation, sometimes driving, sometimes flying Southwest, sometimes on a Greyhound bus, rediscovering the U.S.A., and always always always rediscovering myself.

The time has been passing very strangely. I feel very very far away from my friends in Korea and my little world there. I have heard from a couple of them but have really been so busy and so sporadic in my e-mail access. I've mostly been communicating face to face with people on the ground wherever I happen to be. It feels very connected to do that, in this hyper-modernized world. Just to sit and talk with someone I haven't seen in two years over a cool refreshing beverage is very good.

Don't you write it down,
remember this in your head.
Don't take a picture,
remember this in your heart.
Don't leave a message,
when everything comes apart.
Talk to me face to face...
- indigo girls, 'dead man's hill'

I totally understand the loss, bewilderment, sadness, and rage she feels in that song. And funny, I barely took any pictures the entire time I was in Korea... On the other hand it hasn't all been emotionally grueling these past two weeks. There have been so many beautiful moments, from sitting on a Virginia Beach oceanfront balcony watching the sun glisten on the water to sitting cross-legged on the bed upstairs in grandma's house playing a "duet" on the guitar with my two-year-old nephew. I frankly think driving across Massachusetts, spending time in D.C., and visiting colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown settlement were great ways to reacquaint myself with being back in the U.S. Not to mention connecting with people. Oh, people. Thank you thank thank you to all you people who've been subjected to me over the last two weeks. This has been quite a time of transition. It's been really hard. But sometimes hard is good for us.

It was one of my eleven-year-old advanced students who wrote the line in a composition about travel...wow, those classes feel so far away right now! As if it were in another lifetime that I was teaching in Korea! Well, anyway, this was early in May. The subject was travel and "how do you like to travel? By car, bus, train, or plane? Stay in hotels or with friends and relatives?" etc. One student wrote about his family taking car trips and staying with cousins. It's busy and they do a lot of things and so on, he wrote, "but it's some free times." I absolutely loved it. I showed it to my co-worker Paul who sat next to me and he appreciated it too. I wrote "But it's some free times!" across the top of my calendar, and it became our kind of mantra, our theme, my beacon for that awaited departure date. It hardly seemed real then, and now it hardly seems it could have been any other way, that on June 10 I would leave Korea and indeed find some free times.

1 comment:

Catherine_G said...

Yay! So glad you made it back to the U.S. safe and sound. Hope to see you if not soon then when schedules permit, and that my gift made it to you in time! :)