Living in a different country has its positives and negatives. One of the downsides for me is not getting my newspaper delivered to my door every morning. It was how I started every morning in Asheville. I would read it front to back while I ate my Cheerios and toast, then would have to rush like a mad woman to get to work at a decent hour.
There are two English-version newspapers here, but Whit and I decided we didn’t want to deal with recycling all the papers, so we have turned to the Internet and CNN International for our daily news.
In case you haven’t heard, today was a big day in Korea. The future of the last divided country in the world is on the brink of resolution. For the first time in seven years, the two Koreas are meeting to discuss their future. It’s becoming obvious to everyone involved that the two countries need to reconnect. It would boost both economies, open up transportation, travel and trade routes to China, Russia and the rest of the world, and reconnect a group of people who are technically still at war with each other.
Of course nothing will happen overnight, or in the three scheduled days of meetings, but it’s an exciting time to be in Korea. There is some negativity associated with the meetings, especially since South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun is considered a lame duck president, hugely unpopular with his people. (Sound familiar?) So some people here see this move as strictly political.
My kids at school knew all about what was happening today. Some said, “It’s good! It’s good!” Others said “Bad, bad!” I love asking them what they think. I know this might be my only glimpse of what average Koreans think since they are simply mimicking their parents’ opinions.
While today was an interesting day to be in Korea, it was also a day where I missed the small things from home. I looked at pictures this morning from our friends Natalie and Dave’s trip to the beach with their cute little son, Little Dave.
The normalcy of the photos put me in a funk all morning.
I would have given anything to see an American scene. A cookie-cutter shopping complex, an Applebees sitting outside it, signs for Old Navy or The Gap, and people on the sidewalk who look like me, speak like me. I missed my old job, where I used to laugh and joke with co-workers who spoke English–not kids who sometimes bring me to the brink of insanity. (“ARE YOU LISTENING? LISTEN!!! LISTEN!! LISTEN!!)
We think it’s normal to have moments where we miss home. After all, it is home. Our current residence is simply a journey to understand another culture. We know, if we were still at home shopping at Target and eating French fries instead of squid and kimchi, we’d still be craving to see something different.
And we would have never had the joy of being “Miss Lindsay Teacher” and “Mr. White Teacher,” (who, by the way, is also known as “Mr. Handsome Teacher.”)
And of course, it doesn’t hurt that we have the day off tomorrow to celebrate the 5,000-year history of Korea!