Most of my friends and family have been asking me that for the last few days. It’s so awesome to see how excited everyone is for my trip, it makes me feel really loved and provides me with the opportunity to reflect upon my upcoming trip…which is right around the corner!
Truth be told, I’m somewhat terrified. I’ve never been to a country that was as opposite of western culture as Korea. I’ve never really explored a country where even the characters in their alphabet were alien to me. Yes, I’ve done Europe and Latin America, some far off places like Kirabati and Alaska (I know it’s part of the US…but wow, remote). But nothing quite as “foreign” as South Korea. Which is terrifying because it’s suppose to be my “home country” and I probably won’t feel very much at home there. I think that’s such a unique, interesting and yet sad experience that I’m sure most adoptees endure when they return.
Most Korean adoptees were just babies and toddlers when they left and sent overseas via FedEx (an adoptee joke, don’t be offended). And I imagine that when they finally made it back they were optimistic, like me, to feel some sort of internal bond to this culture that everyone identifies us with- even if we ourselves don’t identify with it. But we’ve been told repeatedly we are Korean by teachers, friends, census papers, passports, and stupid college admission forms in a bid for the affirmative action gods to have mercy on our minority souls. But do most of us adoptees actually feel Korean?
I don’t really know.
So, yeah, I’m slightly terrified about my trip because I’ve got this gut feeling that I’m about to enter a tornado of emotions and the anticipation of no control is horrifying to me.
But I’m also excited. I’m so excited that I’ve been dreaming about Korean food all week. I’m looking forward to spending time with my husband and parents and meeting new friends. I’m pumped to finally introduce myself in-person to the Korean support groups I’ve been emailing relentlessly for the last year. I’m nervous about the unknowns. I’m anxious about our planned trips to the orphanages. But I can’t wait to explore Jeju and eat kimchi.
I’ve come to accept that I’ve already entered this tornado of emotions and I’m ready to see where I land.