This is beautiful. I'm not going to lie. But I do spend some time wondering when the bottom is going to fall out, when the end will arrive. I wonder when the day will come that things won't just "happen" for me anymore. My life won't feel wonderfully in order and I will lose the security I feel about the future, not because I am certain what happens in the future, but because I always feel that whatever happens will work out. But until that day comes, I'm going to appreciate the amazing path that is stretching out before me.
All that to say, I got a new job. And it's in Wonju. We are really excited about moving to Wonju because we are both a bit weary of Seoul and ready for a change. I scored an awesome two-bedroom apartment WITH A BATHTUB WOOT which will cost us approximately 70 bucks after our housing allowance. So we have the homemaking bug, talking about what will go into our home, how our styles will mesh (we'll basically be leaving my style at the front door and letting Kenny's do all the talking), and how we'll order our household. It's fun.
We went on a date here after eating dinner with my family. I had ice cream and Kenny had a beer and we listened to some live music and watched all the senior citizens trying to salsa. On the way home, I told Kenny I was toying with Wonju Wife as the new title for the blog since we're moving there. And oh, yeah, I'm a wife. (Still not over that one yet!) And he told me that in Korean, many times the women of the household are addressed in a certain way that combines the name of their town and a word that means something close to Mrs. or woman of the house. So, I would be referred to as 원주댁 (pronounced Wonju daek). And when Kenny's mom calls her mother, who lives in the countryside outside of Seoul, his mom says, "Hello, this is Seoul calling." And I was struck by this identification with location. It seems that it's enough to say where you're from for the other person to be able to know who you are.
I have been sad and disappointed here. I have found myself frustrated in trying to explain things to Kenny. Things that sometimes don't even make sense to me, like why we leave the air conditioning on when we go out of town for a week, or how the pool at my grandmother's house is heated, and why the Super Target is so big and zucchini is so expensive. And I'm not frustrated with him at all. I know he is simply trying to understand this place called The South, this state called Tennessee, and these people called my family. I can sympathize, too. I remember trying to process my experiences in Korea and not understanding so many things and writing angrily here on my blog and ranting angrily in his face about things that confused or baffled or upset me. So, I get it. He's discovering America. And there's no easy way around it. So many things are too big, too wasteful, too convenient. But so many of those big, wasteful, and convenient things have made me who I am.
I believe my expectations were somewhat exaggerated. I wasn't seeing clearly how America would confront Kenny. Or confront me after a year in Korea. And so I've been sad because I wanted him to feel at home here. I wanted us to both feel comfortable here. But this is not his home. And I cannot be comfortable when my husband is not. I do believe that Kenny is enjoying his time here. He has just as many great things to say about America as criticisms, if not more. And I think I was just taking it all personally. As if the things he couldn't comprehend about America were things he couldn't comprehend about me. But it's not like that at all. Kenny is one of the few people in my life who do fully understand me. And when he doesn't, he is patient and listens and tries his best to give whatever it is I need from him.
So I think it's time to be done with this small but heavy sadness that has been dogging me since we've arrived. Because I'm an American girl married to a Korean boy. And it's a beautiful but difficult thing to come from different places, to be made up of such varying material.
And sometimes all you can do is keep asking questions.
And sometimes all you can do is accept that the answer might simply be:
"Hello. This is America calling."