Ah, I’ve got the warm-fuzzies for Korea this morning. Fuck knows where it comes from.
Actually, scratch that. I know where it comes from. It comes from:
1. The weather finally being warm and sunny and (rare for Korea) unhazy.
2. The only people being out at this time on a Sunday morning being lovely small-townish ajummani/ajeosshi shop owners, milling about chatting with each other, and with you, in cool easy Korean. Because they don’t give a fuck that you’re American (other than your pretty blue eyes) and they certainly don’t give a fuck about trying to speak English.
3. The only other people being out at this time on a Sunday morning being your very sweetest, shiest students going to the shops with their lovely, gentle mothers. The way they grin from ear to ear when you recognize them out of their uniforms, and the way their mothers will hide behind them, until you bow and greet them in Korean.
5. Cherry blossoms.
6. Buying coffee, donuts and flowers!
7. Although the donuts are now giving me a stomach ache.
8. The ajummani selling the flowers talking you into also buying the pot because a. it’s pretty, b. there is no flower pot in your house, c. you can’t have flowers without a flower pot, d. she’ll give you a special speaking-Korean-as-a-foreigner discount.
I really do love this country. I always think about how, because it was so foreign to me to begin with, I think I flipped some switch in my mind that I can’t really explain in words, that changed everything to “familiar” instead. And now, if I ever leave, I’ll feel in a way like I left another home. Even Smalltown, my most whimsical of compatriots, can’t understand this when I try to explain it. He’s got a soft spot for Korea the size of Texas, but when I talk about this, he always eventually ends up with a cold, hard face, telling me that he’s happy I’ve managed whatever this is, but he’s sorry, no, Korea will never feel like a home to him.
It's (not) funny, because this is pretty much a mock-up example of numerous conversations I've had with my nearest-and-dearest, re: the extremely few people I've ever "cared about". My loved ones appreciate these people on some sort of external level, but can't ever really seem to understand why I feel the need to take it to the extreme of almost even using that L word. To them, the person in question is usually fundamentally un-L-able, in that way, in some sense.
Maybe me and Korea just jive. And that’s all there is to it. Which is usually the answer I end up giving up and just giving in the latter example, as well.