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Post Trip : I am in fact Home

July 9, 2008 Leave a comment

Sorry for not writing sooner. But I’ve been home since early June. Part of the issue has been that I’m lazy. Part has been that I miss Korea and don’t really want to write a wrap up. And part has been adapting to the US.
I’ve got a large, overview style paper in the works, meant to cover my general assessment of my feelings about living in Korea. This will just be a few comments on my trip home, and being back:

  • The trip home was painful. It took me about 30 hours of traveling to get home. The plane from Japan to Detroit was the worst offender. I don’t much care for Northwestern Airlines after that. But they are cheap, I suppose that’s a good point. On the flight was an American basketball team (I don’t know if they were professional or college or what). They were much more uncomfortable than me. I talked to the man seated beside me about his stay in Japan. That was interesting. There are many unexpected differences between his stay and mine. I won’t quote them here because I don’t know enough details to support them.
  • Time zone changes are killer, but only coming back. I have no problems adapting to Korean time from America. But going to America, it takes about a week just to get used to the time again. It doesn’t help that I can’t sleep on airplanes.
  • I catch myself telling people cultural facts about Korea in conversation. A lot. I’m not sure if this makes for good conversation or not. Many of my sentences now start with “In Korea…”.
  • I find the prospects of going back to normal studying unfulfilling. Studying in Korea was part of my spiritual and intellectual goal. I don’t consider that part of my life “done”, but I also don’t expect to return to Korea for at least a few years (after graduation). To this, college has become even more a block to get past, rather than an experience to enjoy. I should make efforts to see it otherwise.
  • I miss a lot of people in Korea. I have friends, a church, roommates, teachers and a girlfriend over there.
  • So far, the plane ride home is the only chance I’ve had to really use my ability to (poorly) speak (limited) Korean. I could translate a bit for the Korean grandmother next to me, who was on her way to LA. Koreans seem fascinated with going to LA, San Fransisco, New York and maybe Texas. I find that sad, as I don’t really want those places to define our culture to theirs.
  • On the whole, this was an awesome experience. For any grousing or griping I did, if anyone asks how it was, I’ll always say it was great. It was a growing experience mentally and spiritually. It helped me appreciate other people and cultures more. It gave me a whole mess of new things to have opinions about. I met wonderful new people and saw cool new things. I would suggest Study Abroad or some sort of extended trip to anyone who is of the right mindset to enjoy it. What that mindset might be is debatable.

I’ll try to write more on some later day.

Categories: Wrap Up