Paige – Korea

Contributor on ‘2020 – A Year’s Worth of Ruminations’

January 31, 2020

1. Today was relieving. 

It’s 10AM on a Friday morning and Incheon Airport is bustling already. Rolling off an overnight plane from the warm weather of Vietnam back to a chilly (not quite cold) South Korea seems like it wouldn’t be as inviting as it felt, but being once again surrounded by the tinkle of familiar language that I could understand, knowing that my bed (my own personal bed surrounded by kpop posters) was only an hour and a half subway ride away, once again paying for my 삼각김밥 with my credit card rather than a handful of bills I barely understood – I was home once again. After spending a whirlwind ten days consuming mass amounts of new foods, climbing a waterfall, feeding elephants bananas, reading a vampire novel in the sun on the beach, and buzzing through Saigon on the back of a moped, I had felt the excited energy drain out and felt myself internally aching for the comfort of home. I’m not usually like this – I love to go out and explore. As the winters in Korea tick by, the more comforted I get by my small apartment and having a space that is really my own in a country that has been another ‘home’. Most of this day (after dragging my tired but happy body through the subway ride back into Seoul proper) was spent sleeping horizontally – I never sleep well sitting up and babies scream cried the whole night, and I had lost my earplugs during vacation… but it felt deserved. I deserved to be lazy after all the running and chaos of flights and taxis and unknowns that came my way in Thailand and Vietnam. So I suppose this day, the final day of January, wasn’t a wasted day in bed, but a realization that I am allowed to be still, and a reaffirmation that Korea will always have the title of ‘home’ in my heart, no matter how many places are also ‘home’ and no matter how many places become ‘home’ after. 

2. Today was comforting. I just got back from a ten day vacation in Thailand and Vietnam so it was really nice to be back somewhere familiar – and somewhere where I can understand the mother tongue again! Basically I slept all day but I was happy to be back living at home and not out of a suitcase.