Twenty-five years ago today, I was on a plane descending through thick, gray clouds into a torrential downpour. It was early in the morning, and I hadn’t slept well on the overnight flight, so I was groggy and grouchy. My first day in Korea ended up being a very long one, and I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of relief when it was finally over.
I woke up this morning at about the same time as that plane descended those twenty-five years ago. I looked out the window of our apartment to see gray skies, but no rain. I guess we’ve had our fair share of that already this year, although there’s another typhoon on the way. I guess somethings never change.
I still remember those early days here, full of strangeness and uncertainty. If you had asked me then if I would still be here twenty-five years later, I would have just laughed. I had not even been on this earth twenty-five years yet, so it would have been little more than an abstract concept to me. Yet here I am. Sometimes the intervening years seem like a lifetime; sometimes they seem like a flash of lightning.
I have spent almost the entirety of my adult life in Korea, and most of my life overall. It’s weird, because in spite of all of that I often still feel like a stranger here. And when I go back to visit friends and family in the States, or for whatever reason, I feel like a stranger there as well. But I suppose we are all wanderers on this earth in the end.
I’m not sure what I really want to say here. It just felt like I should mark the occasion. In truth, though, it is just a day like any other day. There are other transitions that are far more important—or at least more immediate—such as the end of the summer break and the beginning of the fall semester tomorrow. Or the fact that HJ is off crutches and now walking around, albeit gingerly.
I guess I don’t have any profound words for the twenty-five-year mark; I can only marvel once again at how swiftly flies the arrow of time. Even if I could somehow recount everything that has happened over those years, it would all still be greater than the sum of its parts. There have been ups and there have been downs, but all things considered I think the former outweigh the latter by a good amount. I suppose you can’t ask for more than that.