the familiar and the not so familiar

It’s wonderful to not be in Korea. It’s wonderful to see cheap, healthy food I know what to do with. We’re talking TRADER JOE’s here. Just drinking in the sight of the aisles of food without Korean signage makes my heart jump with joy. It’s wonderful to have friendly chit-chat with the cashier. It’s wonderful to be able to understand what everyone is saying. And we went to Olympia’s Old School Pizza and I had a salad with artichokes in it, and pizza with sun dried tomatoes…and we watched movies and I ate fists-full of kettle corn. And for one meal my daughter made pasta and grated fresh parmesan cheese over it. Heaven.

It’s wonderful to be in free-standing houses not hidden behind solid masonry walls, shut behind gates, or soul-less apartment buildings filled with people who don’t talk to each other. It’s wonderful to see real woodwork and walk on carpet and see furnishings and household items that have unique character. It’s comforting to see some of my old belongings being used, that didn’t get liquidated in the move to Korea. It’s wonderful to see my daughter’s face and see her do things that are all my fault, and to see that yes, there is some continuity to llife, even my life, even if indirectly.


Kim Sook Ja called about 10 pm! Says she’s been working crazy hours and it’s been the hoidays, and there is also the newborn grand-daughter to attend to. I am feeling silly for being insecure, but then again 9 days can do that to a person.

She has a Northwest accent! I have a mid-west accent. (I’m sooooo glad we both speak English!) Said it was good to finally hear my voice. I laughed and said, “Yes! We HAVE voices! We are more than texts and emails!”

So we meet on the 9th. Me, my two kids, my daughter’s boyfriend, and her and probably two of her three kids, their spouses, and two of her four grand-kids, both babies.


Tomorrow we probably go to Seattle, and the following day to Kirkland/Redmond to stay with my son for a few days. Then back to Olympia because my daughter starts school. Then my son will join us and then we’ll head to Eastern Washington to meet Kim Sook Ja, and then back to Kirkland because my son starts school, and then back to Korea. The schedule is actually more complicated than that because of my daughter’s job and my daughter’s boyfriend has a friend also visiting from out of town.


Everything’s going great now, except my first experience conquering jet-lag. So I must succumb to that, and I’ll keep you up-dated when I can.

6 thoughts on “the familiar and the not so familiar

  1. Welcome back home. I can only imagine how it feels to see your family after such long absence. There is something about the uniqueness of living here versus Korea. I remember the feeling that the city was so big and packed, yet no one wanted to actually make human contact in public places unless they already knew each other.

  2. Great news!! I hope your your meeting with KSJ is wonderful. And oh I’m so jealous about the wonderful food you are eating and Trader Joe’s!! And YOU CAN BEAT THE JETLAG! (Benadryl with a warm cup of milk before bed? Or a hot girlie drink with all the wonderful Western alcohol now available to you at what seems like rock-bottom prices?)

  3. Missed you but don’t worry about your friends…about shittiness…don’t worry. We understand.

  4. Hello! I am so excited for you to be able to meet KSJ! I hope it goes well. We so enjoyed meeting you this summer. We’ll be back 12/20/11 – 1/1/11. The jet lag sucks and is much worse returning to the states in my opinion – it always takes me a week to totally get my brain back. Best of luck!
    Toni (다훈 & 승희 어마)

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