“i’m coming home, via chicago”July 31, 2007
“dreamed about killing you again last night, and it felt alright to me”
Coming home, via Chicago, so, I might as well play the song that says the same, even if it’s opening stanza isn’t the most uplifting.
Woke up at 5.30 am and decided to head out for a little stroll up to Seongmi-san to say goodbye. Saw lots and lots of old men and women getting their workout on. It was a rather joyful way to go through an otherwise sad experience.
The roads were almost empty….
but the mountain was not…
I shed a tear or two as I made my final ascent up the natural sanctuary that made Seogyo-dong a bit more tender space to live in.
The mountain spirit was undisturbed and told me to get a move on.
The ajumma was certainly getting on with her business…
Some grass and a flower in the wind…
The way home…
and the path back, for whenever I want to return.
My last stroll made me really miss my neighborhood. Just seeing things that are so normal that will again become so foreign: the cab driver who accepted my offering of orange juice immediately, without suspicion and instead only a smile and “thank you!”; the ajummas having their kaffee klatch on the mountain at 5.45 am.; the ajeossis bringing up their transistor radios to listen to trot music and clatter on about the ajummas below who are clattering on about them as well; the lovely grandma who huffs on by, but not without saying “Good morning!” to me in English as she passes; the strange looking ajeossi who sings to himself so loud and profoundly, oblivious to whomever may pass.
I saw more people at 5.30 am in my ‘hood than I may see at 12 noon in my home to be. I’m starting to think that in some ways, the culture shock of going from Korea to the US may pale in comparison to going from “huge city” to “small town.” Here, if you want things to happen to you, you just go for a walk, but back home, I think it’s going to take a lot more effort on my part to get the pot stirred up. It’s a recipe for a bit of loneliness if I don’t take care. Will there be a grandma in Appleton to wish me “Good Morning”? A cabbie who joyfully accepts a gift from an unknown stranger? I’ll find out soon enough. In just few hours, I’ll be coming home, via Chicago.