Journey Back to a Distant Home (Pre-Departure)





I remember the night before my flight. I had a rush of emotions: excitement, joy, fear, sorrow, and any other emotion you can think of. I had given this some thought: If I was not in the situation of having been adopted from South Korea, maybe some of these intense emotions wouldn’t exist. I am not saying that I wouldn’t be happy or scared, but just that I have had a strong connection with South Korea. I mean, that I would always think of what my life could have been like if my mother hadn’t given me up for adoption. Most likely, life would have been hard and very difficult. I was adopted for a reason and was given a better life. I have always been so appreciative of my mother’s decision and truly grateful I was given an opportunity to write out my own story. Ok, back to it.

I was really anxious to get on the airplane. My dream of finally going back to the place I was born has been something I dreamt about since I was very young. It was one step closer to fulfilling something that was very close to my heart. This was one step closer to finding my birth parents. I went with only a little bit of information, my mother’s name, the adoption agency name and location, the hospital I was born at and a sweet picture of me as a baby on a passport card (I had awesome fluffy hair). So, I was eager to get that process started, but something soon hit for me a loop. Reality hit me and I now realized that I would be going to a place I didn’t know and was not comfortable at all.

Though some thoughts of fear started to creep in, I was super excited about finally experiencing real, traditional Korean food. New Mexico, there were some places you could eat Korean food, but you know, it’s New Mexico, the land of the green chili. With hindsight now, Korean food in Korea is so much different than Korean food in New Mexico (captain obvious to the rescue!). I also was excited to experience a new school in a different country. I was super stoked about the classes I enrolled in at Dongguk University! I was excited to get started with classes and get learning. One class was the intensive Korean language class. I heard horror stories from students who took it previously. They said it was insanely hard and it will take you for a ride. I thought to myself, “how bad can it be?” (A foreshadow for a future blog post). I had taken a Korean language class through UNM’s extended learning program. It was good, but it was hard. New Mexico doesn’t have a high Korean population; so finding people to practice speaking Korean with was difficult to say the least.

I hopped on a plane from New Mexico to Washington in the morning. Nothing flashy or exciting happened. I did, though, get Southwest Airlines honey roasted peanuts. They are 대받! [deh-bak] (Awesome/Jackpot). I landed and went to a hotel that was near the airport. My wife and I rested up, ate some food and hit up the hotel’s gym and pool. It was a nice place to recharge the batteries before a 13-hour plane ride from the U.S.A. to South Korea. After a night of sleep, it was time for the real part of the journey to begin. We arrived at the airport and passed through all the checkpoints. We finally get to the waiting area for our flight. We probably waited about 2 hours or more due to a delay. The plane finally arrived and it was a massive plane. It looked a flying fortress. It was finally coming to fruition; my dream is now becoming a reality. I am finally on my way to South Korea, the place I was born. A rush of excitement and fear filled my mind.

The plane ride was actually a lot of fun. I was able to watch some movies and play some games on my computer. We were fed traditional Korean food like “bibimbap.” It is a bowl with rice, meat, kimchi, veggies and bean sprouts. It was delicious. Other than that, I tried to stay awake for most of the plane ride. I slept a combine total of 30 minutes. Nothing to exciting about this plane ride, but I did manage to get some pretty sweet shots from the plane. It took about 13 hours until we touched down in South Korea. When the pilot announced we were landing, butterflies began to flutter in my stomach.  I made it! I’m in South Korea. It didn’t really hit me until I began walking out of the airplane. The first thing that came to my mind was that I couldn’t wait to feast on all the yummy Korean food. I was tired, but ready to go. It was time to begin this new chapter of my life here in a new place. I can’t wait to experience all that South Korea has to offer. I hope you guys enjoy the journey with me. Until next time! Fighting!

안녕히 계세요. [an-nyeong-hi gye-se-yo] (Good-Bye)

Here are some pictures from the trip.  From Sea-Tac Airport, some awesome Korean food, and shots over Asia (Russia, China, others). The pictures are organizing correctly on the page, so I apologize for the mess.