The first leg of our trip home is complete. This is surreal.
Hey, we thought as we deplaned at Seoul's Incheon airport from Bangkok, this looks familiar. Although it's beyone cliché, I remember the day we arrived in Korea like it was yesterday. But it wasn't. It was fourteen months ago.
There's a particular feeling you get when a date, positive or negative, looms in the future. You look at the calendar regularly noting It, aware of Its impending arrival, but of course you're occupied with many other things as well. Time goes by, daily life happens, and then suddenly That Day is today. Children feel this way about Christmas, teachers about the first day of school, and future mothers about their baby's due date. I certainly felt it during grad school, when my wedding was on the horizon, before our initial departure to Korea and I feel it again today.
During the time Ryan and I have been away, we've sometimes allowed ourselves to think about home. The weddings of some of our dear friends and family members, holiday traditions we were absent for, our favorite activities in the Pacific Northwest, food from the best restaurants, and shopping at our favorite stores (ok so maybe I'm alone on the last one). For most of the year we tried not to think about the goods we didn't have access to, made do with the cooking ingredients and restaurants in Busan, and kept updated with our loved ones via skype, facebook and internet phone.
If ever I said, "I miss so-and-so", or "Ooh you know what sounds so good right now?" Ryan would stop me before I could even finish the thought, not wanting to think about the inaccessible. But for the last few weeks when I've mentioned relatives and friends, lasagna and artichokes, or the beauty of Portland in the summer, he has begun to agree with me. Because it really won't be long now.
Soon we'll see our families and friends. We'll be able to do all the things we've talked about, reminisced about, and tried to block out of our minds up until this point. The looming date is here.
Within a week we'll trade skype for face to face convos with (many of) our family members, and pick up where we left off with our closest friends.
It's an understatement to say that Ryan is excited to jump into Salmon fishing, get back into a decent gym, witness two of his best friends marry their long time girlfriends, and begin preparations for an upcoming extended bike ride with some fellow former Busanites.
I can't wait for a decent haircut (I know, I know), a summer Vegas trip with my favorite girls, visiting my new neice and nephew, long talks with my parents, walking around the neighborhood where I grew up, and wandering aimlessly around Target. I could spend hours inside that store. And I plan to.
Ryan and I are both dying to dine on Portland's best pizza, drink real beer, have access to an oven and a dryer (amazing!) and be in a place where miming and sign language aren't neccessary to get a point across. Until then we'll lounge around the airport for the next few hours before our second flight.
As visions of the previously forbidden foods dance in our heads, maybe while we're here in Seoul we'll have some kimchi for old time's sake. Maybe.