Posted by: evedlewis | June 9, 2010

Home For A Week – F.I.L.A.


I wasn’t really excited about going home for a week until I was on the bus to the airport.  I dreaded the plane ride, and I didn’t feel like a week would really be enough time to enjoy myself and others.  However, I started feeling anxious like a prisoner who was being released from jail, or like an army soldier who was being sent home as I approached the plane.  I don’t mean to make Korea sound like an awful place, because it’s not at all.  I love Korea and all it has to offer; but it’s not home, and it has its limitations.  Life in Korea is somewhat restrictive and isolating.  I can’t see my family and friends when I want, I can’t eat everything I’m accustomed to eating, and I can’t do many of the things that I’m accustomed to doing.  Wa, Wa, Wa – yeah – I know – I sound like a whining baby.  After eight months, it does start to take a toll though.  I have enjoyed much of my life in Korea, but I almost felt like Tom Hanks from Cast Away when I came back home to visit.  HAAAA!!!!  I’m exaggerating a little – but, you get the idea.

As I got closer to home, I kept thinking of ALLLLLL the exciting things I could EAT again.  When you haven’t had any taco bell, salmon, grits or caramel cake in months, the thought of these items is enough to make your mouth water.  The thought of these foods was also enough to make me sick to my stomach, because I have been living on small amounts of fruit, veggies, smoothies and chicken teriyaki sandwiches for the past few months.  However, I was determined to indulge a little each day during my visit.

After making a long mental list of all the things I would eat during my visit, I started to think of other things that I could enjoy again, like the people I missed.  I scheduled my Florida family, my Atlanta families and my close friends into my week-long visit to make sure I had plenty of time with them.   

Finally, I thought of all the things I could do in Atlanta (in addition to eating) while there.  I heard that Dialog in the Dark was a great show, so I put that on the “To Do List”.  I wanted to watch a few movies, take care of some “necessity shopping” (including BRA shopping!), handle some personal business matters and continue my exercise routine during the week.  I could not wait to run at the Chattahoochee Trails again.  I also brought my bathing suit, just in case I could sneak in a pool visit.  Getting a pedicure in Atlanta was also a “Must Do” on the agenda.

When I arrived in New York, I heard familiar accents and saw familiar signs everywhere.  I smiled from ear to ear when I heard a man shouting at an older woman in his Northern Dialect, “I jus’ told you that he was gonna’ take care of that – Aren’t’choo listening to me?!”  Ha ha ha ha!!! Yes!!!  I was listening to him.  He was VERY LOUD, and he sounded REALLY RUDE, but he was a New Yorker.  His voice was comforting.

I also spotted Koreans in the airport and smiled to myself.  A Korean couple joined me on the shuttle bus and I greeted them with “Ahn-Young-Ha-Seyo”.  They were a little stunned at first, but returned the greeting, and we talked briefly about Korea during the ride.  I was quite surprised at my ability to immediately recognize my Korean brothers and sisters in America.  Once I arrived in Atlanta, I talked to a Korean Mom and her daughter at the trails, and I talked to a Korean woman who was making my smoothie at LA Fitness.  The mom at the trails was completely shocked when I greeted her.  She asked, “How do you know how to speak Korean???”  HAAA!!!!

The first thing I ate in the U.S.A. was a Subway sandwich.  I ordered the veggie patty sandwich that I have been craving for months, and it was absolutely PERFECTO!!!!  It was also VERY HUGE!!!!!!  I could barely finish it!!!!  In fact, everything was VERY HUGE in the states.  Coming from tiny land, where everything is so small, everything seemed super sized in the U.S.  I ended up eating a lot of sandwiches and SALMON during my visit.  These were the items that I clearly missed the most.  I picked up a Turkey Sandwich from QT (Quick Trip – gas station), and it was like heaven in a box.  Sliced and ground Turkey meat are not available in Korea.  So, the thinly sliced turkey on whole wheat bread was just a simple lunch sandwich to most – but was like a small piece of heaven to me. 

The weather in Atlanta was absolutely gorgeous!!!!  The trees were radiantly green and the sky was beyond beautifully blue.  Again, I felt like a prisoner who had not seen lush trees and blue skies for months.  The skies in Korea tend to be gray or pale blue.  Seeing huge puffy white clouds scattered across a deep blue sky was such a treat.  My senses were heightened and everything seemed surreal and dreamy.  There were moments when I felt like I was on ecstasy.   

Seeing many of my close friends and family members was also a surreal experience.  I enjoyed being with my Florida family, my boys and my husband on Sunday.  I spent Monday with my Mom and my brothers.  We went to see Dialog in the Dark in the evening and ate a FANTASTIC dinner at Dolce (I had salmon, of course).  On Tuesday, I stayed with my close friend Nikki, had a kick a** boot camp work-out and ate a yummy Mexican dinner with our dear friend Shante.  I went to work with Nikki on Wednesday and had a chance to see some of my old co-workers at Harry Norman, Realtors.  I enjoyed lunch with my close friend and cosmic sister Elena at Lafonda.  I was worn out on Wed. night, but was soooooo excited to see the Premiere of Sex and the City 2 with Nikki – FOR FREEEEE!!!!!   Fabulous event and movie!!!!  On Thursday, I rested and spend some time soaking outside in the HOT GA SUN.  YESSSS!!!!!  I went to a graduation dinner on Thursday evening and then met up with my bestie Kiana for a ladies night out.  Kiana and I met up with Angela Vaughn and Eve the rapper before we all headed out to the Opera Night Club together.  We had a great time there and hit Mist for some after-party fun until 6am.  On Friday, I was proud to see my youngest graduate from Woodland high school.  (My boys will be 18 and 20 years old this year, and I’m very proud of them both.)  Then – my week came quickly to an end.

I left Atlanta on Saturday, and it took me two days to get back to Korea.  I had an overnight lay-over in San Fran and finally made in back to Jeonju on Monday night.  I’m glad to be back on schedule in Korea.  I have essays to grade and tests and quizzes to make this week for some of my classes.  I think I mentally prepared well for the adjustment, so being back on track has not been as tough as I expected.


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