Friday, September 5, 2014

Trying not to "make the best of things."

These days, I've been having more "Missing Korea" moments than I had before in the hustle and bustle of friends and fun events. One CD I've been listening to is a Korean worship album that Yoonseo helped Josiah pick out for my Dad, and which I have been borrowing for a week or so. My favorite track is this one: 소원 (Hope). I really love the melody, and have been trying slowly to work out the meaning of the lyrics. From what I can figure out, it talks about the desire to live like Jesus, walking a road that is narrow, deep and high.

My title seems a little bit of a downer, but it's a description of my deep-down wish that I could get past the ever-clinging feeling that I'm just slogging in the trenches towards some unnamed and unidentified goal or life landmark or something fantastic--the "making the best of things" while you're waiting for something to happen. I really have a tendency to gravitate toward that feeling...the trouble of course is that I never can really figure out what it is I'm waiting for. And that is when melancholy likes to reel you into yourself, making you a navel gazer and a false martyr...something that I have felt happening to myself every now and again.

Part of it has to do with the stress of moving, I know (very glad to be just about finished with that and settled in with darling friends!) but I have a feeling I'm still dealing with some reverse culture shock too. Some of that is that America isn't like Korea. I never thought I would admit it, but I got so use to the 'hurry hurry' culture in Korea, that now I bothers me when problems  or projects can't be taken care of in a day or two. I miss eating rice and eating spicy food. I  miss teaching. I miss being able to get places without a car.

Boy did I really miss that last one this morning, when I locked my keys in the car. I found myself in tears not because I was going to be late, but because I realized that suddenly, needing help was kind of an inconvenience to other people. In my community in Korea, I never once felt that way. We all lived together, it was no problem to ask someone to bring your backpack home from work, or pick up something at Lotte. Now asking for a favor usually means someone has to get into their car, or rearrange their schedule or something like that. I regret not thanking people more for their daily love that way. Thank you my family in Korea (now some of them in America and Canada!) for never letting me be an inconvenience to you! (or at least never letting me know it, hehe) I hope to be able to make others feel that way too. I want to learn to be as generous with my time and money and care as you all were; to not do anything begrudgingly.

So though this morning left me feeling, to quote Anne of Ingleside, "about as brilliant as a piece of grey flannel," it got me thinking about readjustment and things to help in on it's course a little more. Of course, since my brain only seems to start working after I jump start it with some reading, I read some blogs and came away with some good tidbits.

1. I need to find ways to tell stories, and to let people be a part of what I experienced, not just what I "did." It's harder than it sounds, because stories don't bubble out of me like they might have if I was an extrovert. I feel almost connected myself to Evi's trip to Chile, because she let us know all about it, and described "her people" there until I felt like I met them myself. I need to talk about those things
And not just the "captain's log details" please. I've told the 'how long I was there-what I did-how did I like the food-what am I doing now-do I think I'll go back" shpeal enough. 14 months. Taught English to the best students on the planet. Korean Food is magic. I am an administrative assistant. Yes. There are all the answers, for you. Instead, as Nacho once wisely said, "Let's get down to the neety greety."

2. I need to find ways to hear others stories and be a part of what they experienced. I read that on one blog and felt a little sheepish. It's easy to feel like since you were away in a new place that you're the one who had all the adventures and stories, but that's a little big headed and very untrue. In order to feel like you belong again somewhere, you have to learn about your home again, just like you did when you went to a new place. And try not to ask the same sort of not-captain's-log boring questions you don't want to be asked either.

So here's to having a good cry every once and a while, and to not "making the best of things." Most of the best things are here already, if you're willing to look.

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