When I go back to visit Korea and my parents, I mostly see Korea from a point of view of someone who grew up there. It is true that I stand out in Korea as someone not from there, not because I speak with an accent, because I don’t (thanks to my parents). Korea is a society of conformity. There is always a certain way people dress or a certain manner that they behave. Having lived so many years of my life away, I no longer conform and stand out in the way I dress or the way I arrange my hair. I am a Korean who does not belong in Korea. Even so, I don’t quite look at Korea with a foreigner’s eyes. I was born there and raised there, so the spirit of the land has been infused inside me no matter how much I’ve changed and how many years have passed.
It was therefore quite refreshing to be able to see Korea through a foreigner’s eyes when I first traveled there with my husband. We created a book together after our first journey. You can preview the full book here: https://www.blurb.com/books/1699259-korea.
Our schedule was quite full as my parents were rather ambitious about showing my husband as many sites of Korea as possible. And sometimes even the weather collaborated with our whirlwind tour by sending us a typhoon (tropical storm) while we were on the island of Jeju.
Korea through a foreigner’s eyes was different, full of history, wonder, idiosyncratic customs, intricacy, delicacy, full of flavors and excitement.
My husband asked me once: “Can you imagine what it would feel to grow up in a place that has thousands of years of history?”
My answer to that was a simple “Yes” of course, with a smile.