Land of the not-so-calm. That’s the title of another Korean adoptee blog. It’s so descriptive in so many ways.
Land of stress is more like it. Land of internal conflict.
Here I know what I look like. So now I can paint a self portrait. But what about a life?
Several times over the years I have been asked for a photo and been hard pressed to find any. That is because it takes other people to take a photo of you. And there has never been anyone on the other side of a camera. That is because I don’t bond with anyone. That is because I am not fun. I am plagued by / weighed down by a deep mistrust of people, a deep disappointment in people.
And so I always wanted to be a hermit. And worked all my life to be one. And I almost was for a few months, in my cabin in the woods. I miss that cabin!
Here I am a hermit, but not by choice. I’ve never longed for company so much in my entire life. But there is none to be found. I don’t know how to bond with the culture I’ve been raised with my entire life, and I don’t have the money to participate in the activities of my fellow English teachers, even if they can tolerate my serious presence. I am rejected by the foreigners in my building, because they already have their own circle of foreigner friends and I can’t show them anything about this culture. I certainly don’ t know how to bond with a new culture. I am a social misfit, relegated to my high-tech, efficient box. To not be able to communicate AT ALL is new. To not be able to understand ANYTHING is also new. I seem to only be able to understand “sorry.” Oh that’s right – that’s because that’s one of the few words Koreans seem to be able to say in my language.
Well, I knew this would happen ahead of time. I was aware of this concept, and mistakenly thought it would not be a problem, as I have traveled alone before. But living and traveling are two different things, and I have only traveled to places where I could communicate in some limited fashion.
Don’t get me wrong – this is an incredible experience, in an incredible country that will be blooming soon. But the impact of being uprooted and transplanted but never taking root is even greater here. It is as if the concrete of this new city is impenetrable, and I will always have a shallow foothold wherever my fickle wounded heart takes me.
And so I write. I write to the few bodies that have put up with me and my gloom. Who understand that I did not ask for this dark cloud nor have it seeded with salt.
In my closet is a new umbrella, the first one I have purchased in twelve years. In Seattle, we don’t want to admit the rain affects us. In Korea, the closet has a special tray to catch the umbrella run-off. In Korea, we are resigned to the rain.