Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Resurrection of Kimchi-Lovin' Canucks

After more than a few years, I have decided to disinter this blog from its graveyard, if only in order to provide the anonymous world of the internet with my musings on anything that catches my interest. For the most part, I'll try to keep it Korea-related, although the connection may seem tenuous at best, if not entirely non-existent on other occasions.

The exhumation of Kimchi Lovin' Canucks, reborn with a new moniker, "Will Kill for Kalbi", is mostly a result of more than three years, three years of repatriation to Canada. Back here, Korea seems but a faint memory, distantly fading, becoming ever-more irrelevant and imbued with a dream-like quality of "did it ever even really happen?"

We spent eighteen months living in one of the many satellite cities that surround Seoul. To this day, if I close my eyes and think hard enough, I can recall the faces of the shopkeepers lining the street where we used to live, where we passed by daily, but these memories become fainter day by day, month by month. The smells, the tastes, and the sounds fade with time. Our friends here have long ago started to roll their eyes and share glances with each other when either Matt or I begin any sentence with, "Didja know that in Korea...".

Since we have been back, much has changed, as much tends to do when given the time and opportunity. We returned to Canada in the early spring of 2007 with our nearly-three year old little boy and the unwavering intention of heading back to Korea in the fall of the same year. But such was not to be at that time. Shortly after Matt and I spent a wild and wonderful two weeks in Europe that spring, we realized that we were to become parents for a second time around. With no jobs, no home and a brand-new baby on the way, we tried to find a new path in the whirlwind of change, exuberant joy and bitter disappointment.

It has been hard. It has been very hard.

People who have suffered from culture shock often claim that the worst part is the return to their home country. If they have been able to live abroad successfully and have been able to find a place for themselves in the new country, the return can be shattering. Such was our situation.

Newly-pregnant, having just returned to Canada from our own lives in Korea, and suddenly surrounded by the suffocating good-will and unexpected expectations of our extended family caused some major psychological fallout and ruptures in the fabric of our family. We very nearly didn't make it this far together. Many times over the past three years we have nearly given up on ourselves and our dreams for our own kind of life.

I could never say I would do it differently, though, because I think, all in all, it will make us stronger in the end. And, most importantly, we have been blessed with a healthy, beautiful, amazing daughter, who will be three in December of this year.

And she loves bibimbap (sans gochuchang, of course).