The closer we got to arriving in Korea, the more surreal it all felt. The moment we stepped inside the airport in Incheon, the strange surroundings and an unfamiliar country across the globe felt oddly familiar. It's hard to explain and even harder for me to understand the reasons why myself.
As we zigzagged through Seoul rush hour in the tax if from the Incheon airport to our hotel in the financial district area of Seoul, the sights, sounds, and people felt comforting, exhiliirating and frightening all at the same time.
We arrived at our hotel around the same time as everyone else and room assignments were being provided and dinner plans debated. My family decided to get settled in and explore the area nearby on our own in search of dinner. It felt empowering to be exploring "my city" despite having no idea where we were and my Korean and ability to read Hanguel is considered a beginner's beginner at best. Again, I can't explain it nor can I understand this feeling myself.
I'm not sure if it is the fact that I'm in the majority as far as other individuals who look like me versus generally be the "other" in places such as Minnesota. Maybe it's because "home"ecompassses not only state of mind and space, but also a sense of belonging even in a country where I didn't belong when I was born and sent halfway across the world.
We spent some time wandering around after dinner and absorbing the sights, sounds, and smells all the while wondering, "I wonder how different life would have been if I had grown up here."