Visiting the Motherland, with my Mother

If I didn’t mention it before, the trip to Korea was one that I took with my mother.  The idea was that way back when, my dad and sister went together, so it seemed like a suitable idea that this would be a mother and son trip.  My mom had recently retired, so she had nothing but time on her hands, and from my perspective, this was a trip that had to be done sooner rather than later, because I didn’t want to live my life with the regret of never going to Korea with my mom while she was still physically able to.  Not to mention, my mom had never been back since I’d been alive, so it was literally 38 years since she’d last been in Korea.

This is without question one of the best ideas I’d had in my life, and although I’m not going to sugar-coat and say it was a perfect trip, I don’t have any regrets about going to Korea with my mom one bit.  It was meaningful and memorable, and I’m glad to be able to say that my mom was there the first time I visited the Motherland.

I let my mom drive when it came to planning for the trip, since my initial idea of planning a trip to see the places of her childhood and upbringing seemed to fall on deaf ears, so it ended up with us having a few days in Seoul on our own, but then ultimately going on a multi-city tour group through the rest of Korea, back-ended with two more days in Seoul before coming home.  I’m not going to pretend like I was pleased with the idea of being on a guided tour, since typically I prefer to be in control of my own destiny, but it was what my mother had wanted, and she didn’t seem to understand that I was quite the competent planner on my own.

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Visiting the Motherland, 2016

One of the greatest travesties in my life is that it took me this long to visit Korea.  Frankly, there’s an overarching travesty that it took me about as long to even cross an ocean in the first place, but the point remains as someone of Korean heritage and to some degree, upbringing, it does seem a little not right that I didn’t once visit Korea once until I was 34 and well into my own as an adult.

Admittedly, the idea of visiting Korea didn’t intrigue me that much growing up.  Being born in the United States as pretty much as American as American can be, this was always home to me.  Neither of my parents really talked much about Korea growing up, nor did they ever really put any ideas in my head of wanting to go.  Maybe we were just so dirt-poor when I was growing up that they didn’t want to make any difficult promises to fulfill.

A long time ago, there was an opportunity to go to Korea on some sort of church group; not that my entire family’s been tremendously religious, but it was an economical means to get there.  I’ve always been kind of nihilistic about religion in the first place, so it didn’t really interest me that much, and at that age, my priorities were vastly more interested in indulging in my no-school summer vacation, playing video games and being a slug at home.  Ultimately, my dad and my sister went, and I’ll always remember just how tan they were when they got home, and there’s a photo of the two of them riding a horse that always stuck with me as symbolic of an opportunity that I probably missed out on because of my youthful stupidity.

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