Monday, 9 April 2012

Home at last. Kind of.

I had a lot of quiet time on the train from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania, hence the sudden flurry of posting!

Lacey and I started planning our post-Korea life soon after my arrival in Busan last winter. It was clear from the beginning of the year that Korea wasn't going to offer the life we wanted, so to help keep ourselves sane, we daydreamed about our end-of-contract trip, and where we would live 'one day'. We did a lot of research, and found a lot of dead-ends, and we finally decided on two months in South East Asia, and then settling, for a year or so at least, in the U.S. (The cat made it rather too difficult to include a stop in the U.K., but a cat that can do forward rolls is worth keeping around, so she's forgiven.)

So here we are, a month into our 'return' to the good ole U.S. of A. Obviously it is less of a 'return' for me: I haven't actually lived here since I was 9 years old. I don't have a driver's license, a credit rating, or a mobile phone, but I do have an American accent (we can all thank my school's strict policy on American English for that one.) This last one is probably the one that causes me the most consternation. Because I look and sound, and indeed am American, my 'foreignness' is in many ways stranger than it was in Korea. In Asia, I knew where I fit: it was clear that I was a foreigner, and if I couldn't count out my money at the till, no-one found it strange.

I'm sure all this is much more awkward for me than anyone I encounter: I can, mostly, speak the local language and know the basic customs after all. I guess it's just a case of getting used to not being strange anymore. In Korea, your 'foreigner card' allows certain freedoms, because society already has you pegged as an outsider. And after two years of that, being 'normal' is actually kind of weird.

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