Archive | March, 2012

Leaving Home for Home

1 Mar

I’m leaving, again.  The writing is on the wall, and I’ve got to go.  When I came back to Korea, I thought I’d be here for a while, continuing on as long as I wanted.  But I didn’t expect to reach a limit like this.  I now know I can push and push against that wall, but will, discipline, and perseverance can only move it so much.

What limits?  Korea limits.  Every place does.  Everyone learns to cope with them, wherever they are.  But coping with limits is very different from thriving within them.  When I first came here, I thrived.  I could go in the direction I wanted, for the limits allowed that.  Not any more.  Where I’m trying to get in life is not possible within the confines of this place.  If I was willing to change that existential destination, then I could make this physical destination I’m in work.

But I can’t.  Can’t change that part about myself.  Some value their environment, station in life, aesthetic surroundings the most.  I have always appreciated those things; in fact, it’s what made me come back to Korea.  But there was always a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I’d have to leave it eventually.  To stay doesn’t fit with me, who I am.  I want it to, to some degree.  I talk big about the importance of place, tradition, family — if you’ve read this blog, you know.  All those things should by right tie me do somewhere.  And they do, in spirit and values.  But I have difficulty matching that up seamlessly with the choices I have to make to live.  I am a contemplator and a doer.  I think about things and then act on them.  If I can’t act, can’t do what I find to be valuable, important, then my thoughts stagnate.  I start to lose my bearings.  I lose appreciation for the things around me, for they become just background instead of living part of this reality I’m looking at and acting in.

Ironic, isn’t it?  Appreciating a place is to know that you must be able to act in it, yet maybe move beyond it.  It’s not just being there.

But even when you leave a place, it can still stay with you.  It’s in your blood.  Korea got in mine.  I felt enormous frustrations and impatience for the past two months, knowing that this moment was coming.  But I also knew that I would miss this land greatly.

That’s what makes any place a home.  Maybe not one’s original home, but a home all the same.  It takes people to make a home, though.  Family and friends both.  I’ve had both this year, all of the native variety, not outlander transients like myself.  The knowledge that they are here and I will leave makes the departure more complicated.  Because even though I’m going back to where I know I’m from, the place I know in my head is me, there’s still a deep feeling that I’m leaving where I’m supposed to be.

Leaving home for home.  That’s the only way I can think about it.

So I wander, once again, from one home to another.  The road does not always end where we expect it to.  All we can do is hope to find virtue in it if there are but a few more miles to go before we sleep.