Thursday, February 09, 2006

Endless Sky becoming Koreanized?

Last week I was given the Korean name "Young Hanul", which I was told translates in English as, "Endless Sky". I like it. It's simple at first, but yet at further thought it's unfathomable. Jiggam, nanun hanguk saram ida, or in English, "I am now Korean."

In reality, not even close, but it's interesting how much you assimilate to another culture the more time you spend emerged in it. The other day I was served a glass of water with ICE in it and it was like a foreign beverage to me. I find myself putting red pepper paste on everything and also eating excessive amounts of seaweed, kimchi and rice, all with chopsticks. I no longer write names in red pen or board marker (Red is the color reserved for the dead. I only had to make that mistake once in the classroom!). Instead of or accompanied with a "kamsamnida" I now bow as a sign of respect. I offer and accept money with both hands. I have abandoned the western "come here" finger motion for the inoffensive Asian way: palm and fingers facing down, moving hand back and forth, which when I first came I mistook for shooing away.

Undoubtedly, I have adapted in many other ways that I probably won't even realize until I leave Korea. Who knows, after a year I may feel more at home in Korea than in my own home country...

"Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why."


**If anyone knows how to get Korean characters to show up in my posts would you please share with me?**