Korea is my comfort. My reset.
Touching down in Seoul removes the tension of life in the United States. Back in the days before my first trip back, I feared what my senses might do. Would I gag? Would the food repulse my American sensibilities?
During my pregnancy with my first child, my sense of smell enhanced, I would often know what a cashier had had the night before for dinner. I also craved turkey, chicken nuggets and french fries. To this day, my son’s favorite meal is poultry and french fries. In the first four months of my pregnancy with my daughter, I ate only spaghetti and red sauce for lunch and dinner. Her favorite food? Yep, spaghetti.
My first trip, I was surprised at how the smells seemed so normal. But as I reflected, I realized that my time in the womb and my short first year in Korea gave me that overwhelming sense … of comfort.
So when I return, the foods give me strength. The people give me power to appreciate who I am … that I am not some “freak” or “weirdo.”
Just as the smells of Korean food waft about me and embrace me in a welcoming hug, the menacing language and hate of the US await my return. For now, I savor …