Now I find myself in anticipation mode. Korea has been a fabulous home to me. The experiences and lessons will stay with me for the rest of my life. But now I’m headed back to my home country, and not just for a short visit, for an indefinite amount of time. My wife and I have already sold and gotten rid of a large amount of what we’ve collected over the years. We’ve been cleaning, organizing and packing our suitcases. Anytime Kimmy and I go out, we look at our surroundings fully aware that this could be our last time seeing this area or trying that type of food. America calls to us like an old, favorite sweater you’ve discovered buried in the attic. Just the sight of it reminds us of all we’ve missed and forgotten the last trio of years.
In seventh grade, I left a girl for someone new, effectively breaking her heart in the process. But due to the tumultuous state of middle school romances, I soon wanted her back. To apologize and win her heart, I penned a long sappy note full of regret. I can still see it scribbled in ink, folded neatly into a scare, with her name scrawled on the top. But before I gave it to her I had a (girl) friend of mine read it. She held it to her chest after she finished and said, “You should be a poet.” And if there’s one thing I know for certain it’s that seventh grade girls are experts on what makes excellent poetry. With my ego inflated, I passed the note off to the broken hearted girl, we made amends, and had a very solid, three-month long middle school romance. It was magical.
“How to say?” she asked.
I showed her the vowel sounds and had her mimic them back to me. The i in kid or lift is especially difficult for Koreans, so this was worthy practice. Then I pointed to the words and spoke them, showing her the difference. She nodded and turned to head back to her seat, but by now, the rest of the class had seen what we talked about.
It was Ayoung who raised her hand first, “Bitch and beach?” (Both nearly identically pronounced.)