Update from the Heartland

7 Oct

It’s a quiet Sunday afternoon in small town mid-west USA.  All is good.  The air is fresh and  crisp.  The scene is quiet.  There is a hint of Fall color in the trees and Halloween is not far around the corner.

As you may know, I am immersed in an unexpected detour from my life in South Korea, now in the mid-west USA where my family resides. I learned recently of some serious health challenges of a family member and since have ridden the wave that landed me back home in the States for a visit. When I say home, I suppose I say that loosely.  I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri but haven’t lived there for nearly 20 years. I spent my last thirteen years in the States living in New Orleans. Almost ten years ago, my parents left St. Louis and diverted to a different neck of the woods to be close to family and grandchildren.  So my visit home, while surrounded by family and a place I have visited, is in many ways unfamiliar to me.

Daily life here is simple but not without some much-needed joy and exploration.  How fortunate I am, particularly without a vehicle, that my parent’s church just down the street offers a yoga class three days a week!  I have also connected with local members of my SGI Buddhist organization.  They have been so friendly and supportive. One member even picked me up this morning to attend the monthly World Peace Gathering. It did me a world of good to spend a little time out in life connecting with new people and chanting as well.

It continues to be an easy breeze being back in the States.  My body and being are more than grateful for a big helping of cushy conveniences and American luxuries.  That said, there is certainly a part of me that now feels in some way at “home” in South Korea.  I noticed this when an SGI member today bowed and said “annyeonghaseyo” which is Korean for hello.  My heart leapt and my eyes lit up in recognition.

I was seriously tickled the other night by my youngest nephew, now 7 years old.  We were playing a game of charades of sorts.  He would act something out and I had to guess what it was.  One time he did a dance… and I was thinking… there is no way I am going to recognize this dance.  I am so out of touch with young American culture.  I asked him to hum the song and still didn’t recognize it.  “Okay I give up!” I said. ” What is it?”  It was none other than “Gangnam Style” the mega-hit by Korean pop star Psy.  “That song is from South Korea!” I told him.   “Did you know that?”  His eyes lit up and he took off in excitement to tell his brothers.

Life here has been good but also challenging.  There are the basics challenges of the health issues that are facing my family right now.  Additionally are the challenges (and blessings) of three adults (that would be my parents and myself) living together when we haven’t done so since they were the parents and I was the child. While we have had a few ups and downs in our adventure of co-habitation, it is still certainly worthwhile to be here at this important time.

And so with that I will depart from my nearly weekly update of my gypsy life, looking less gypsy-like nested comfortably in the heartland of the States. Please feel free to write and share what is up in your life.  It’s always good to hear from you!

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