the new world

December 12, 2006

When I first came to Korea in 1994, I was one of like 3 non-Koreans on a huge airliner. I arrived to a smallish international airport and proceeded to live with very little interaction with foreigners or friends and family back home. Now here I am 12 years later and there are foreigners everywhere. The airport is chock full. Moreover, i’m in direct contact with friends and family daily, not just emailing but talking with them (virtual) face to face. Back in ’94, we blew over 1000$ on phone charges trying to keep the ties of romance tight during our first long-term, long-distance separation. Now it’s more or less free.

And then there’s the fact of this blogpost. I’m sitting here at Incheon International using computers they provide in a free internet lounge.  Unreal.

And so, my last hours in Korea for a while. I’ll miss kimchi, and my new friends, and maybe most of all… speaking and hearing Korean. I’ve been working on this language for so dang long, and only now do I finally feel like I’m starting to get a grasp of it in situations that aren’t totally under my control. That is, I can be thrown into the midst of a crazy scene (like this past sunday when a drunken ajeossi came up and kicked the street cat i was petting… woah. goodbye buddhist calm, hello madmatty) and still talk (or shout) my way out. Whereas I used to have to bring friends along to get complicated things done, I do it on my own now. One other change, I can now actually discern a lot of the jabbering that goes on around me. What used to be a din is now separating out into distinct converstations about boyfriends, bosses, and bitchy next-door-neighbors who’d get a perm and lose 5 pounds if they knew what was good for them. Hmm… maybe the din was better?

In short, even as I’m overjoyed to be going home, I’m going to miss this place a lot, even for only three weeks. And reflecting on this fact, I think this is the best thing I could have possibly hoped for as I set out on this journey a few months back.

So far, so good. Korea Annyoung!



  1. Oh, Matty, you remind me of myself so many times in my life when we would be stationed overseas. Especially, France. It was so hard at first, but one came to love the people, the language, the situations that come up and yes, miss them when they’re gone. It’s such a wonderful life-enriching experience to have. You are very lucky. And I am so glad for you. Safe journey! Much love, Mom

  2. Tick, tock, tick. We’ll see you guys Thursday. See you then, Love, Dad

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