Going Home…

September 1, 2006 at 10:15 am 6 comments

When I returned to Korea (for the first time since I was 8 months old), I went under the delusional self-convinced theory that I was just going because I love to travel and had the opportunity at a fully-paid, friend-escorted trip. No, it would not matter one bit that I was born there. Adopted from there. My only biological relatives somewhere lost there in that place filled with “my people.” That would never affect me, I convinced myself. Just another college trip, full of drinks and parties.

Shock! Hurt! Confusion! It smacked me in the face like something I never knew possible from the moment I stepped off the plane. Those faces – my faces – followed me everywhere. I became paranoid. Enraged. Repeating to myself “just a college trip” in my head. I never felt so close to be being found and so lost.

I went to ‘powder my nose’ in the airport a moment after my arrival (I am extremely adverse to airplane “lavatories” – btw, why are they called that?? Gross!). As I leaned in to wash my hands a middle-aged woman next to me asked me something in Korean. I looked up at her through the mirror in front of us and I gasped out loud. “Is that HER?” was the thought that shot through my head. It was the beginning of a series of absurd thoughts that expressed desires I never knew I had.  The woman gave me a dirty look that clearly said, “what the hell is her problem?” and shook her head in disbelief and walked out. (The poor lady… you would have thought she was the elephant-man from my reaction!) I wanted to run after her! I wanted to grab her by the arm and yell to her in the language I know not even one word of and say, “You’re my birth mother! Aren’t you?!” Truly, I had gone insane. As I was walking out of the ladies room I was imagining that she would turn around, embrace me and with tears streaming down her face, she’d say, “Julia? My baby! I missed you…” At that moment I stopped dead in my tracks, looked up and saw before me the hundreds (or so it seemed) of middle aged Korean woman. All possibilities.

 “Julia?? Are you sick?!” my friend asked. “Just a little jet-lagged maybe,” I told her as I tried to shake myself back to reality. “Already?? Oh great!” she said with extreme sarcasm, “this is going to be a fun trip!” I nodded in agreement.

As I go through my photos of Korea, I see a scared and confused Julia. Oddly enough, my face is old in all the pictures. I look aged and worn. All my smiles, unmistakably fake. It was a miserable trip. I went unprepared – my biggest nightmare. Twenty-one years of pushing all of these emotions deep, deep down and here they all were – before me. I went through Korea, all motions just acted out like a high school drama production – utterly exhausted emotionally just a few minutes after my arrival.

 A week after I returned “home” to the states – I swore I would never go back. Thankful I was removed from that place as an infant – long, long ago. But, I’m ready now. I’m ready to return. I’m prepared this time. I miss Korea. I miss Seoul. I want to go home.

View my Korea Pictures. (Email me at juliasworldny@yahoo.com for the password.)

Entry filed under: Korean.

Abuse, Neglect…. and Adoption? Six More Months…

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Margie  |  September 5, 2006 at 8:58 pm

    This brought tears to my eyes.

  • 2. Papa2hapa  |  September 5, 2006 at 10:13 pm

    Julia, again…great post! I am completely moved by your photo of your oma and you.

    I am also feeling the same thing you had…I like to call it decompression. It’s something I’ve been saying for a while since I first went to Korea over 2 years ago. It’s something I’m still doing.

  • 3. daughterof2women  |  September 7, 2006 at 1:26 pm

    That was such a powerful post. You vividly described your emotions slapping you in the face.

  • 4. kahlan  |  September 25, 2006 at 9:07 pm

    What a beautiful post. It brought tears to my eyes as well.

  • 5. Papa2hapa  |  October 9, 2006 at 8:04 pm

    where are you? I miss your great posts!

  • 6. Margie  |  May 15, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    And circling back, another memory springs to mind.

    We have pictures of P and M in their birth towns (well, in M’s case close, because we learned in Korea she was born a little further away then we had originally understood). When I compare those pictures to the others we took of them in Korea, in which they’re always laughing and joking, I see two faces literally stunned by the enormity of the experience. And I am sure they were thinking exactly what you describe here.


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Julia’s Jam

It’s just not that black & white. Not because I am taking a stand against. Just because, the issues I face are somewhere in the grey area and to weed through them, I blog. I blog. ~

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