During April, I’m taking part in the A-Z Blogging Challenge (along with 1700 plus others that you can check out here). And I decided that my theme would be letters of various types—inspired by the letters of the alphabet. So we’re almost halfway through… but so far, typically, only one post has been a topic from the advance plan I made.
Today was meant to be King… but Korea (South) looms just too importantly for me to overlook her…
Oh magical bewildering Korea,
Finding a way to define my relationship with my own country is perplexing and complicated; often my views and words become tangled. Attempting to explain how I feel about you is even more troublesome. Please forgive me if I stumble a little.
Australia runs through my veins. The harshness of our light, the grey that tints our foliage, the impossibly awkward twang of our vowels and the blunt humour we embrace: they combine for me as a rich understanding of identity. Five generations of my family have been born within Australia’s brief white timeline. I know her stories, her history, her art, her people. We are intimates. I can disparage and joke about her as mates do and she is not offended.
Korea, you are something altogether different. You confuse me. You are both a venerated elder and a techno-crazy teen. You are at the same time intensely private and wildly extroverted. You are the Land of the Morning Calm and the dance party that lasts all night.
But Korea, to me you are yet much more. You have entrusted me with two of your children. You allow me the immeasurable privilege of being their mother. As I took them away to grow up as Australians, you watched serenely, even though centuries of ancestors link their souls to yours.
Once, as I sat nervously strapped into an airline seat, my nose buried in the warmth of my baby son’s black hair, I watched the mountains of Seoul rush away beneath us and I made you a promise. I will always cherish you; just as I treasure the gifts you have given me. I do not speak in your tongue. I know little of your story, but I am joined at the heart to your people, so you are forever my other homeland.