Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Romance of Travel: Home and Back


There is something oh so very romantic about traveling- by bus, car, train, plane, bike- whatever.

One car, two planes, one bus, and one taxi and here I am, back in Korea after a much needed visit home. And I use the term "home" loosely because, really, I also consider Korea home. The romanticism of it all is something I finally came to understand on the bus from the airport to Anyang-si as I sat furthest in the back, iPod going, eyes peeled on the road-side scenery, and emotions everywhere.

It's a distinct feeling resulting from a number of things and I feel it every time I'm in transit.

It's the time travel.
The stepping out of one environment and into another.

It's leaving part of your heart in one place while physically traveling to another.
Wondering when you'll see a person next.
Wondering where those surrounding you are from and where they are going. Who/what are they leaving? Who/what are they going to see?

It's listening to music while in motion and forever attaching a song to a time and place.
The feeling of being alone in a rustling, chaotic place.
The points you must break the trance of solidarity and ask for help.
Realizing the place isn't all that chaotic after all.

It's the sense of everything being in slow motion as you take it all in.
The time to reflect on past and future happenings while feeling physically withdrawn from both.

It's difficult to leave, but there is a sense happiness and relief upon arrival.
It's difficult to adjust, but it happens regardless of the fight.

It's always bittersweet.
And now, in Korea, the magpies are out.

Some fond memories from the past two weeks:

The best welcoming from the best friends. This was after a 9 hour delay, which changed into an altered flight to Chicago instead of San Francisco. It was a whole lot of craziness, but I remained calm and good things kept happening- a Korean Air flight instead of United Airlines (SCORE), a surprise window seat during boarding after being told there were only aisles during check-in, and a last minute upgrade to first class on my second flight.

My brother, mom and me took a trip down to California the day after my arrival. Of course they repped the Korean Choco pies and there is nothing like blue skies and lemon trees. The best part, though, was my brother, uncle and I making our way into the mountains and onto the Pacific Crest Trail. I would seriously dedicate myself to that trail if I had a free couple-few months. 

My friend David took me to a Blazer game with some tickets he received from a work client. They were second row seats, might I add! Funny thing is, we were seated right behind the Denver bench. YEA RUDY. At half time, I met with Ms. Amanda and her new boyfriend and tried to catch up in what little time we had. 

It was weird not having Shannon home too, but she was with us in spirit and physically keeping Korea warm.

New Years Eve was amazing. We stayed in a fancy Portland hotel called the Nines and rode in a party bus that delivered us from bar to bar until the wee hours of the night. No better way to spend the New Year and no better people to do it with :)

Drank lots of good beer to make up for the months of Cass and Hite consumption. 

Mexican food and this lady named Jillian. 

Caught up with the grad school homies, but was missing the very special Julia. 

Spent plenty of time with my favorite woman in the world...my mom. 

On my last night in town, Amy and I were devoted to the idea of going 80's dancing at the Crystal. The boys weren't having it (although Byron and Dennis) did eventually agree, so we had a dance party at AJs. It went well with the going away BBQ. Can't express how thankful I am to have such a great group of friends. 

Not pictured are so many other wonderful happenings- deep conversations, a delicious Thai dinner, all of the weird things that happen when families get together, my kitties, and so much more. 

Totally refreshed. 

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