Friday, October 12, 2007

Happy New Year 2006

Original Post Date: December 30, 2005

Dear Friends and Family,

Over the Christmas break, I went to my brothers’ house and went through my boxes. It was the first time I had opened some of them for 10 years, from before I left for Korea . As I went through them, I had this strange feeling of looking at someone else’s life, someone else who was close enough to be familiar, but not me. The pictures and letters and gifts reminded me of all the people from my past, some of whom I haven’t thought about for years (no, none of you on this list are in this category).

This is the feeling that I’ve been having for the last year while being back. I am reconnecting with my past life, the life that I had before I went to Korea and started a new one. At each step of rediscovery, I have this disconnected feeling that I’ve been here before, but the memory is hazy. When I go to LA, for example, I find that I don’t know places and streets that I should know. I went to Echo Park , where I haven’t been to for 10 years, and then I am in dream world again. My friend asks me to tell him Bible stories, and I struggle to remember the ending to the story of Samson. My friends say things like, remember when…? And I can’t remember. Things like that.

So I see this period of being back in the US as my time to get to know my other self again. I feel somewhat schizophrenic, but I’m starting to get used to it. The time has come to meld the two into one, so to speak.

In this process, I have to admit to myself that there were a lot of things I never really knew that well. I didn’t know LA enough to be able to recall all the freeways and streets. I never really knew the Bible well enough to answer my friend’s questions about God’s will and what happened to Delilah. I don’t know that much about California geography, history of the United States , or anything else. So I have been rediscovering but also exploring for the first time, and it has been eye-opening. I guess it also means that I don’t know myself that well either.

I never knew the central coast was so breath-taking, all the way down. That monarch butterflies come to San Luis Obispo every winter and settle on the trees. I didn’t know that the ski resorts at Lake Tahoe were really different from the ones at Big Bear – the biggest difference being the views of the endless mountains and the lake. I forgot about the existence of happy hour, one of the best things about drinking in the US , and that some happy hours are incredibly cheap ($1 drinks, for example), and how do they make any money? And that sunsets can be as incredible here as they were in Korea , or that mountains without trees have a naked beauty all their own. I enjoy family gatherings here just as much as I did in Korea, and maybe more since I’ve been gone so long and there is more catching up to do. Most of all, I learned that fate (or God’s will or whatever you want to call it), has a strange way of making things work out if you just pay attention to the signs.

What does this mean? After a somewhat painful adjustment period, I am glad I am here and happy to be among old and new friends. I miss Korea a lot, and I sometimes wish I were there, but I know that I am meant to be here now. I am applying to graduate school now, and will be hopefully studying women workers in Korea in the fall of next year.
I hope this finds you healthy and happy. Happy New Year!

Sarah Eunkyung
PS. For those who do not have my current contact information:
XXXX - if I haven’t connected with you in a while, please call me!

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