Seoul Take I: Between the Darkness and the Light

Apologies for the long absence but I wasn’t doing much in LA besides packing up to leave, probably permanently, which is another story entirely… one I remain a bit conflicted about but it’s good to have that resolved with the feeling that unless my future plans crash and burn, I won’t be moving back even though it’s what I’ve been propelling myself towards for, I don’t know, three years or so.

I did mean to post about seeing an advance screening of Perks of Being a Wallflower and meeting Stephen Chbosky. Perks is one of my top five books and ten years ago I read it on tour with some band as we all devoured it in the van that summer. That said band played their first show in Los Angeles in over ten years that I wasn’t at… while I was watching the film… is yet another full circle in these months that seem full of them.

But now I’m in Seoul, Korea “finding myself” as someone calls it. What I’ve found so far is what I expected, I guess, that it’s all a bit Wizard of Oz and I was always home when I think about it. Still, it’s eminently strange to be amongst my peoples and not see myself in any of them. I thought I would have some magical recognition or at least would wander around wondering if I was related to any of them, but no. I did think I would feel as out of place here as I do anywhere and, well, that’s turning out to be true. In fact, my otherness feels more pronounced as I’m the darkest female I’ve seen by several shades and tattoos? Only on the men so far.

The ride in was foreboding… it’s a long way to the city from Incheon and at night it’s filled with dark towers and huge apartment buildings like concrete blocks rising to the sky. These dystopian projects from some apocalyptic future pepper the landscape and the taxi driver rolled up my window for reasons unknown to me. I opened it again and was later overcharged for my insolence. Red neon crosses can be seen every few minutes denoting Christianity’s takeover of South Korea.

I decide later that these feelings are probably just the jet lag talking and it’s all about perspective. I can embrace this darkness because I mean, really, who’s the old lady who still wears all black and collects knives, oh right.

The highways are smooth and as we near Seoul we glide through a tunnel and it’s just like that scene in Perks and Bowie’s “Heroes” plays in my head, a song I sent to someone recently, and I’m smiling as I think of Sam and Charlie and S and me and the strange confluences of events that tie everything together so goddamn neatly lately.

Tomorrow I’m going to pick up my adoption certificate from Holt. I have no idea if there will be addresses to lead me to more destinations to piece together this puzzle of the first nine months of my life. It’s alright either way, though. If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year, and I’ve written about it before, is that the center is in, not out, and doesn’t belong to any person, place or thing.

Still, it will be nice to at least touch the ground where I have been before.

(This is a re-post from the travel thingie.)

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