so I've made it back from a sweet vaca and am in the full swing of things back in Korea. The trip home was perfect ... yes it could have been much longer but I found it was just the right amount of time to see everyone, almost everyone, and do what I needed to do to recharge my batteries.
I did experience a little reverse culture shock arriving in Atlanta ... after a long flight no less ... it wasn't really the language that was overwhelming but more so the various shapes, sizes, and looks of people. America is so, so diverse. I loved it. I loved seeing that. Like it was a fresh view of my home, this is what it is ... it's messy and people are everywhere but it's beautiful in it's own way.
Jetlag wasn't too bad traveling to the west. A couple of hours of sleep lost at night but overall a rather smooth transition. Coming back to Korea was a different story. Probably a combo of things: jetlag, the culture, the new apartment. All of it.
It was nearly like I was never gone. Like one year didn't even happen. Much was the same except for new marriages and new babies. It made me miss that comfortable pocket I lived in back in the US. I love that pocket. Here it feels like a constant, not abrasive but constant struggle and fight to adjust. I've read in cross-cultural adjustment that the Asian culture is the most difficult to adjust to, it would take at least 5 years. Going home it took all of 20 mins to fall into line again.
So ... what did I learn from my first year in Korea? I learned how to fight. And I'm not talking about taekwondo ... which I test for back belt in October by the way ... I speak of simply being aggressive with people. I usually a laid back person but here if you are laid back, from work to the grocery store ... you'll get pushed around a bit. So you've got to learn to push back, get pissed, if only inwardly ... and speak your mind.
I learned how important my family is. How much I love them. How much I love my friends. And, oddly enough how much in all my traveling and globe trotting ... how much I do want to settle down and start my own thing with a girl and start a family. I would like to think I'm becoming a better and stronger man by being here ... maybe I am maybe I'm not ... I guess time will judge. But I do believe that "oppositions can either break or solidify a man." Perhaps it's both for a time but in the end a more solid and strong man emerges.