Were I a tourist used to hopping from country to country and not an American immigrant invested in establishing roots in my new homeland, I would have been more well-equipped for Japan. Not that I’m all that ill-equipped or anything. It’s just that for about 55 minutes, as I navigated my way from the customs desk at the airport to the seat on the train that I am currently occupying, I experienced a flutter of the vertigo that comes from being F.O.B. I can only imagine the wide-eyed-ness of my stare as I hunted my way through the Fukuoka Prefecture Subway Station. I must have looked permanently baffled. Read more
Posts tagged ‘immigrating’
Week one of learning Korean kicked my ass. It wasn’t an all-out brawl exactly, but I’m certainly going to wake up tomorrow with an extensive collection of psychic bruises. Right now, I think it’ll be better to distract myself from—rather than dwell in—the trauma, so I’m not going to get into all the gory details. Suffice it to say that Korean is a tough language made tougher by the various gifts and curses specific to my brain. I am not, what you would call, mentally spry. I can think my way through a problem well enough, but when it comes to speed, I am at a great disadvantage. Unfortunately, an intensive language class is a kind of long-distance sprint. And I’m feelin’ it, yo. Not to play the age card, but boy, 27 is awfully late to be learning a whole new alphabet. Somehow, I’m actually worse at Korean today than I was three classes ago. Even very simple things are getting frustratingly jumbled and I’m starting to second-guess myself. Since I speak Spanish more smoothly when a little drunk, maybe I should enjoy a pre-class cocktail or two? I’m sure that would solve all my problems. Read more
One of the more difficult parts of immigrating to Korea has been the struggle to replace expectation with reality while maintaining the ability to leave the house. Before getting on the plane, there was really no way for the two of us to accurately picture what living in Korea would be like. The best we could do was stitch our combined life experience into a tissue of cultural quotations, a rough approximation, a roadmap missing its key. When moving, this usually gets you close enough. What I think neither of us realized is that we didn’t move to Korea. We immigrated. Read more
I don’t really know how to start this post. We’re here in the airport eating $12 breakfast sandwiches. HCB is sitting across from me, babbling from delirium. All of our earthly possessions are either on our persons, on their way to the belly of a pale blue 777 or waiting in a warehouse in the port of Oakland. In the past five weeks, we have managed to plan and implement an international move. The blog-blackout of late was a necessity. I could either write about moving to Korea, or I could move to Korea. The relentless compulsion to talktalktalk for the first couple weeks of this blog’s life was inflected with more than a little neurotic avoidance: “It’s my job to inform the masses, but we’re leaving so soon! I suppose I don’t have time to sell my car or order a new passport… Oh well. I should probably write a blog about it!”
It’s been a crazy couple weeks, but as I said, that was the boring part. Standing on the precipice of the exciting part, I have very little to say. I know that both of us are going to miss terribly all the people we’re leaving, but we’re ready. And if we aren’t ready, oh well! This whole thing has been like that TV show about ladies who don’t know they’re pregnant until they give birth on the toilet or in the ball pit at a Chucky Cheese. This thing is happening, so it’s time to just let nature take its course. Would it have been nice to have a little more time to get everything right? Definitely. But that would have only prolonged the leaving, which would’ve come with its own host of hassles and heartaches. What’s there to do but be grateful?
In the coming days (and hours), I’m sure I’ll have something more interesting to talk about but for now, nothing has been metabolized yet. I’ll just end by saying: we love you all and we’ll be back soon.
Sorry that it’s been kinda quiet over here at Abrupt Departure. It’s just that there’s a lot going on: In less than twelve hours the friendly movers from Mayflower arrive to pack our dearest possessions into a 200 cubic foot shipping container (it sort of makes my head explode a little to write that sentence). And one week from tomorrow, we board a plane (it absolutely makes my head explode to write that).
If I were prioritizing blog posts over other things, I’d write separate entries about: my adventures and misadventures with international shipping companies; an impromptu visit to the Korean consulate; my ill-timed weekend in Austin; learning the hard way why it’s important to read the fine print when ordering foreign currency from an American bank; the incorrect passport number on a plane ticket; some harrowing times with my new university-supplied bilingual assistant; the paperwork, oh, the paperwork; and, finally, learning to love, or at least choke down, sushi.
But instead of writing funny blog posts we’re trying to decide how many pairs of socks and underwear we should be taking with us.