Home: Where the Heart… and Hate is

“So much love and hate.” Words from my father at dinner two nights ago.

 

I couldn’t help but laugh because that’s exactly what I felt I needed to write about next.

 

We all have our issues with our hometowns. Too small, too big, too indifferent, too intimate. And the relationship between Seoul and me is no different.

 

For example, LOVES:

The food. All of it. Now. [차이 팥빙수 / Chai Paht-bing-soo]

The food. All of it. Now. [차이 팥빙수 / Chai Paht-bing-soo]

Transportability

Transportability

ddukboki

More food. [떡복이/ddukboki]

Cafes: perfect for hours of conversation

Cafes: perfect for hours of conversation

Did I mention food?

There are so many reasons why being home = happiness.

 

At the same time, there are moments where being home can bring about a sense of lowness.

 

Here’s where I get real (welcome to the new-and-improved blog?)

 

A few things make S. Korea less palatable. Hard to believe with some of those photos I just showed, I know.

 

1. The land of couples

Don’t believe me? In 10 seconds, I snapped these four photos.

They're everywhere.

They’re everywhere.

 

With the Westernization of its culture, Koreans began to embrace romance wholeheartedly. A little obsessively so. Now, wherever you go, you will find yourself surrounded by couples, arm-in-arm. For a single lady, it’s a bit trying. I may sound bitter, and you can judge me for that, but I do enjoy being alone right now. That gets shaken when I realize I’m the only solo person on the street.

2. The image paradigm

Even after years of being in a career where one’s physical image is scrutinized, I feel the most insecure when I’m in Seoul. Women here are just naturally tiny, and somehow I didn’t get those genes. I grew up in a city that didn’t carry my size in clothing. I was taller than most. While those two facts are now false with the passage of time, the warped self-image still takes hold: I need to diet. Why am I so large? How do I look like her? I can’t possibly be attractive in this country.

 

While I was reflecting on this, thankfully, another fact came to mind.

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.

– Psalm 139:13-14

 

This home is not my home forever. I don’t write that because I know I’m returning to the States. I write this knowing that I have faith in a God who gives me a greater purpose than looking like the elevated example of beauty. He sees me as beautiful, born to belong to Him, and better for that.

 

 

——————————————————————————————

It’s time to enjoy the city and all I love.

 

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4 thoughts on “Home: Where the Heart… and Hate is

  1. I know what you mean about size. It’s interesting how size is relative to different culture.
    My cousin is slimmer than I am, and when she went to HK some retailers would just tell her to leave bc they didn’t carry her size. As-is I’m at a small-for-me size which means I can squeeze into a Chinese XL. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to grow up in HK or China at my size. It’s got to be tough growing up being the “big” person in your own society, though to me as an American I’d consider you “small”.

  2. It’s quite bizarre, isn’t it? beauty is in the eye of the culture you’re in. Thankfully I’ve regained self-esteem after living in the U.S., but it’s still a flashback to these feelings I don’t want to experience whenever I come home.

  3. Loved the pictures of food, they look so good.
    I am glad you enjoy being single. There is plenty to like about it too. And plus making it alone means you’re going to be a stronger person for the time you find someone or feel ready to date. Relationships are only as good as the strength of character of the people in them.

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