Monday, December 29, 2008

You Can Only Go Back in Your Dreams

They say you can never go home again, that once you've left for any extended period of time, home will be an essentially different place when you return. Last night I discovered: in your dreams you can go back again.

I was in Korea. It was winter. I was with my friends and we were planning a trip to Sokcho. An adventurous trek through the icy, imposing mountains. Ending at a small cozy inn near the ocean. Where we cooked food indoors. Slices of beef and pork. Glasses of soju. Laughter. Warmth. In my dream, the light was strangely muted. Melancholy. Reminding me that I was in a dream. And in fact, the distinct feeling I had throughout was one of contentment. Which is an emotion that rarely manifests itself when you're in the moment. It only comes with hindsight.

Tonight I heard there are two ways to be rich. The first is to make a lot of money. The other way is to learn how to be happy with less. To realize that you've got a lot when you're surrounded by friends and family, good food and drink when the world outside is a cold, bitter place.


Luuworld said...

it's amazing where you can go in your dreams. i wish i didn't always forget my dreams once i wake up in the mornings...

ps, did you grow up in the us?

J.T. said...

I was born in NYC, but lived in Korea from 1995 to 2003, from my mid-20s to early-30s. In many ways, I felt like I came of age during those years. I learned Korean; I learned how to play Korean drinking and card games; I learned how to shoot three-cushion billiards which is what they predominantly play in Asia. In Asia, a friend once made is a friend for life. I had several such friends in Korea. I have not found anyone like that here in America yet, which makes life in America terribly difficult. In that sense, living in Korea has proven to be as much of a blessing as a curse: I was able to reach the essence of my Korean self, but now am unable to tap those emotions again.

Being HIV+, I am not allowed to return to Korea, but perhaps one day that law will change or better yet, they will find a cure for the virus.

What about you? Were you born in Vietnam? When did you move to Norway?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing a bit more context through your comment J.T. It adds additional perspective to the initial postings as it is a bit hard to know exactly how settled you happened to be there and it gives me a greater sense of just how much your whole world got turned upside down thanks to some retarded prejudice / legislation.
Rob - your usual anonymous poster.

J.T. said...

Rob, my very earliest posts reveal a lot of how I came to start writing this blog. Of course, I don't expect anyone to start reading from that point. It's good to be able to rehash some of my thoughts from the beginning.

Anonymous said...

Yes ... I did read the earlier posts some time ago. Given the reason why you started this blog these are sudden and powerful reminders of how you felt and went through. What I did mean is that this comment provides additional details and background on happier times in Korea which is something I had not gleaned vs. the end and rebirth due to prejudice. I believe it is always particularly shocking how people change and react when one goes through any difficult period in life. When one is doing well it is easy to have lots of friends but for some reason most seem to suffer from a true lack of empathy and compassion when things go down. The gems one collects out of those tough times are those true friends who stick around in spite of difficulties.