This return home has been 4 years in the making.
Even in the last year and a half, there have been so many changes and so much growth.
I’ve been thinking about the fact that I’ve grown into maturity while living abroad, far away from my family. During these past 4 years in Korea, as well as my year in Japan, I’ve gone through not only cultural adjustment and culture shock and homesickness, but also the pains associated with growing up in general. (I think I’ll get into all that later on.)
My main point is that, every time I go home or reunite with someone after a long time, I expect the awkwardness of the first meeting. You know that the relationship is still good, you still love the person, and look forward to seeing them. But you also know that in the time you’ve been apart, all parties have changed.
With friendships, I secretly fear that during our time apart, we will have grown in different directions; I realize it’s part of a natural flow, and that some relationships can be very tenuous and impermanent. But all the same, I dread the day where my past memories of a relationship outshine the potential present and future.
With more permanent relationships like family, I compare the reunion to reassembling Legos. (My friends are very familiar with this analogy; however much I use it, I can’t help but think it perfectly describes my feelings.)
I’ll always be a Lari Lego; maybe I’m one of those corner L-shaped ones. Maybe my block’s color will change, or even the dimensions, but at the heart of it, I’ll always be the L-shaped block. The same goes for my mom, dad, brother, and sister. When I left home for the first time, our blocks fit together on the play mat in one configuration. Then after I left, and during the time I’ve been gone, the configuration of Legos slightly changes. Every time I return home, part of the adjustment process is discovering where and how I fit back into the equation. I’ve come to think of it as a process of growth, and each adjustment has taken me through a new range of emotions.
So now that I’ve reached a crossroads in my life, a time where I can spend more than one hectic month at home, I’m anticipating a whole new chapter of growth and rediscovery. There’s so much to share, so much I want to say, and yet so much that I can’t even begin to find words to describe. But much of how I operate is dictated by feelings, so maybe I won’t have to struggle to find the right words.
Maybe feelings are all you need in the end.