Thursday, March 31, 2011

Homesick


Really, I am. And I think the homesickness I am experiencing is of a different breed than the other ones I've experienced in my life. I think the core of my homesickness ironically stems from being in a country where I was born. It's funny because I speak the language, I can read the signs and everyone around me looks like me. But I don't feel like I quite belong here--I feel like a foreigner. Korean people who know me like my co-workers don't regard me as a "real" Korean even though we are good friends. And I don't completely understand the way they think or even if I do, I don't necessarily agree with those thoughts that are deeply entrenched in Confucian philosophy. I feel more like a minority here than when I was in the States. Even though I was a racial minority, I understood the culture and the American way of thinking. In Korea, I am part of the racial hegemony, but I feel like a small Korean island with a half-mast American flag pathetically mounted by my side.

Trying to belong in Korea has been like trying to match a square piece of wood into the indent of a triangle. Being ethnically Korean, I feel like I should feel at home here but since I don't, I feel a bit betrayed by the reality. I have learned a lot about the Korean culture, history and people and I am very grateful and delighted to have the opportunity to learn but I didn't expect to feel this way. Maybe I should just stop running my square piece into the triangle hole hoping it would fit someday. I think I just need to be okay with me being me and accept my reality. Just wish it could that easy.

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