A Year Ago

{me, dad, and mom watching fireworks in Tennessee, July 2009}

Last fourth of July, I was with my family in Tennessee, watching fireworks outside while the sky was preparing a huge thunderstorm. It was Kenny's first 4th of July celebration and he seemed to enjoy it. I miss my family more around holidays. It makes me realize how important tradition in our family was, and still is, to me. I am staunchly against any changes made to our holiday traditions, even if I'm not there to witness or experience the changes. Perhaps I feel their continuance is some kind of insurance. Even though I'm not there, I can trust that things will go on the same as they always have, so if and when I do return, I can settle back down into my place there.

I often feel like my family is growing and evolving without me. And that may well be true. Even from this distance, I can see the ways they are holding each other up in love, supporting each other disappointments, and generally rejoicing in each other's existence. My family does all of those things for me, too. But sometimes I feel I'm outside the circle.

I know, I know, I don't have any right to complain. I'm the one who picked up and moved. I'm the one who decided to come back to Korea. I'm the one who is trying to make a life in this country rather than mine. If you said all these things to me, I would have to admit that you're right. No one forced me to make the decisions I've made. And the thing is, I don't regret my choices. Every day I know I'm in the right place. I know that I'm supposed to be with Kenny, wherever in the world that is. That feeling of belonging- of being able to belong anywhere in the world because I'm with the person who helps my life make sense- that's something worth following. I never doubt that I'm in the right place. I just doubt that I'm doing the right thing in this place.

I will always miss my family. I think until I have a family of my own to help me make new traditions, I'll feel like that puzzle piece everyone searched for but couldn't find because it fell between the couch cushions. I know that I'm missed at home. I can't wait to get there and see my sister's new house. I can't wait to just ride around in a car running errands with my mom and make her laugh so hard she can barely drive straight. I can't wait to sit with my dad and try to listen more than I talk. There are so many things I'm excited to do. And I'll get to do them at Christmas for two weeks. I am excited for Kenny to experience Christmas at our house, too.

{bursting with love}

I can't stop thinking that if I were doing the right thing, if I found a way to support myself in a way that nourished and enriched my spirit instead of draining it slowly, that I wouldn't quite wish myself home so much. Not to say that I think I'll stop missing my family. Nope. That ache will always be hanging around, waiting for the right moment to smart so intensely I can't breathe. But that ache is cherished because it means I was and am a part of a family that knows what real, unconditional love is.

This fourth of July, I watched two kind, generous, and loving people get married. As they start their journey together, I hope that I can start another of my own, too. One where I am brave enough to do what I need to do. To dig out my place in Korea, even if the shovel gives me blisters.
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