... and then it was never over !
WOW OKAY I AM A BAD BLOG KEEPER
also, nearly all of my entries have over 200 views? wha? Hello hello mystery and repeated readers; imagine me waving enthusiastically at you!
So! Obviously I made it back to my Home Country all in one piece, through the perilous perils of Shanghai and transatlantic flights with no TV and the fact they confiscated my banana milk before boarding (ITS NOT AN EXPLOSIVE WHYYYY).
Anyway, so. Let's ~weigh the experience~ shall we? right, so, Korea has issues; I'll be real. there are a lot of people. they are still extremely hierarchical. many of them are high-maintenance. they have only one genre of music so help you god if you don't want to hear 2NE1 and SHINee 22.5 hours each and every day. there are cultural institutions of which I am less than fond. everyone is tiny and body conscious to the point of disturbing. everyone will Inception you if you are not a black-haired waif wearing six-inch heels. sometimes you will eat something and it will be an octopus.
BUT there are also a ton of amazing brilliant things happening and I LOVED THE CRAP OUT OF IT .
Being back from Extreme Adventure always entails a case of Post-Expedition Letdown Syndrome, but this is definitely the worst I've had it since London.
Sometimes I'll look at things and have, like, a VISCERAL flashback momentary hallucination, or I was looking at this completely pointless tabloid article and they were out to dinner and I was just like CRYING FOREVER I CAN PICTURE AND TASTE AND SEE AND SMELL THAT PERFECTLY and got irrationally jealous of xyz celebrity not for being xyz celebrity but for being in Korea and going out to eat. HOW DARE HE hahaha.
This connects to how much I loved the beautiful scenery and historical sights that made me fall over fangirling ancient earrings and the AMAZING big-hearted welcoming enthusiastic helpful people but also I'm not gonna lie the food is a giant part of my deeeeeeep crushing woe at the differences between our faraway nations. I be fantasizing about that iced soup for REAL, yo; and a cold day like today I would beat someone up in the alley if they stood in the way of potential dumpling soup (don't worry guys it's not a possibility, no harm no foul).
not to mention the tiny fish-shaped waffles stuffed with red bean paste, about which my sad friends and family can attest I will pretty much not shut up.
NOT TO MENTION THE BANANA MILK, DID I MENTION THAT. haha. but for real. the food there is out of control off the chain amazing and I wish we ate that well here.
This is not really a deep and powerful reflection. Oh right here's some deep thoughts for you:
so we have A BILLION AND ONE koreans here - like seriously they own like 90% of the businesses within a one mile radius, and korean is definitely the second most spoken language - but they have the weirdest relationship ever with their korean-ness and their home country and I have learned a lot from it. i.e. this trip, and coming back, has taught me to appreciate yourself and where you are a lot more.
there's always a tendency to either romanticize and pedestal or self-deprecate the crap out of your place of origin and neither really is the right thing to do and I'm super tired of hearing it! get it together, people of all nations!
like, mucho of the koreans here all speak korean unless absolutely necessary, but are stratified by 'time off the boat' and resent the FOBbiest among them; they all have jay park ringtones but pretend they only listen to kanye west. they are simultaneously too cool for the usa and too cool for korea - it must be exhausting really, and you shouldn't bother.
on the flip side, it was super cool in middle school (and high school) to be too cool for america. we were all like "if bush gets elected i'm moving, if palin gets elected I'm moving, the british school system is so great I wish I were taking A-levels, there's so much more culture in france blah blah blah" and I STILL hear it a lot (although now a lot of people are more educated about those other countries and many get into social activism here YOU GO, STELLA!! haha)
but anyway - you know what? I've been really, really lucky in my life and I've gotten to see a lot of (developed, mostly ex-imperial) countries. When I was in middle school and spent the summer in London, I came home and was like This is Heaven, I am moving here ASAP ASAP A.S.A.P when can I leave this stupid dump now see I would still totally move there because my soul is, like, part british BUT that was a stupid attitude.
I still love England to death - history, culture, dress, people, buildings, food - but it's not paradise. NOWHERE IS. Korea has issues. England has issues. "If Bush gets elected, I'm moving to Canada" - yeah guess what CANADA HAS ISSUES TOO (uh, maybe less haha. BUT THEY'RE THERE have you ever spoken to a canadian, seriously). Sweden has the Vasa and blonde people and fjords, but it has issues. Germany has castles and metrosexuals and Berlin, but it has issues. France has crousants and the Louvre and issues. Korea has bibimbap and Silla crowns and fish-shaped waffles and the most attractive men on Earth (outside Germany maybe), and issues.
And yeah, America has issues.
=== B U T! ===
Let's quit being too cool for school and appreciate that here there are ALSO gorgeous mountains and trails all over, Neal Stephenson writes kickass books (here! in english!), people can and do wear hideous uggs to class, we eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and spaghetti is cheap and you eat it with a fork, metallica and lady gaga and bob dylan and fall out boy are all on the radio, the air is clear and clean, we have the first amendment and the internet and a bus system with drivers who will tell you when your stop is coming up.... I love London, I love Berlin, I love Seoul and Gyeongju and Cheongju and I also love it here. And life is so much more awesome that way.
OH and the number one mystery of my vacation, namely what the bloody hell was all that zillion pounds of rice doing at that musical, AN ANSWER HAS BEEN FOUND. it was donated to mr. flawless big-name star , who donated it to north korea. THREE AND A HALF THOUSAND POUNDS. these fanclubs may be cray cray for real, but that is really sweet. A+ you 'shawols' (still lol'ing on that tho).
SO THE FUTURE TELL US ABOUT THAT : well I'm going back, that much is certain. when, hopefully not until next fall, because as much as I want to get on the plane RIGHT NOW LETS GO , it'll probably be for much much longer than two weeks and I want to appreciate where I am while I am still here.