Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Updates: Me!


According to my cellphone organizer's "D-Day" function, I have 28 more days to spend in the "Land of the Morning Calm". After spending 507 days in Korea, I could make a good argument that this is not the most appropriate nickname for the country. I will refrain from doing so right now, however, because I am focusing my energy on anticipating my return to America.

July 4th

Celebrating a distinctly national holiday in a foreign country is challenging and often inspires ambivalence about one's own country. One is expected to show dedication to and enthusiasm for the same country that one deliberately left. Any trouble one has in adjusting to the foreign country only accentuates the awkwardness.

My troubled relationship with Korea and impending return to America made this July 4th no easier. Although I am excited- okay, practically giddy- about being back in America, anxiety about the economy and political issues is casting a shadow over my return. From afar, America seems broken. What is it going to be like for me when I'm back? My impatience to return is based on more personal concerns, like family, friends, open communication, and food. (I anticipate that my blog will become a showcase for all my cooking and baking exploits.) But just as much as I am eager to return to America, I'm also eager to leave Korea. I've had enough. I find the continued protests against American beef in Seoul aggravating; they compound my feelings of alienation and disconnect. A holiday like July 4th is supposed to promote unity and counter feelings of disconnect by emphasizing shared values. This Independence Day highlighted my ambivalence towards both America and Korea, but it made me think that I'll find satisfaction in working on a way to connect with America and American society once I return.


I managed to find an "apple pie" for July 4th. It was actually more of a galette and I bought it at a French pastry shop, but it served its symbolic purpose.

On Saturday, we went to a baseball game in Daejeon. For some reason, all the tickets were free and the stadium was packed, so we had to sit on some stairs in the outfield. The 3rd base coach was blocking our view of the batter and it was an incredibly humid day, but we still had fun!

On Sunday, we went to Hwayang Valley to go swimming at a river. Koreans don't wear bathing suits. They go into the water fully clothed. Only a couple of men took off their shirts. It's very strange. The water was lukewarm, but we were just happy to have access to water on such a hot and humid day.


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