How did 3 a.m. on a Sunday approach so fast?
Dozing and rocking cross-legged on the floor of Hanna’s apartment, the two of us were to: catch the airport bus to Incheon International Airport in three hours, board a six-hour flight, and meet an island in the ribbon of Indonesia, thousands of miles away from the urbanized terrace of our ancestors.
Bali is an isle decidedly scooped out from beneath the Indian Ocean by the trinity Sanghyang Widi, eight degrees below the equator. The Indonesian island is a small, wild kingdom of pulsating color and culture that even ever-pervading tourism can’t commercially outstrip. Bali is one – breathtaking – pura.
From where are you departing?
In the span of two years, Seoul has become a home second-removed, and the city’s novelty is attenuating. It’s merely another Langian Metropolis: a smogged-over basin, aggressively capitalizing and chaotically Xeroxing the Western sphere whilst unknowingly diminishing Korean relics and ethnology. The gestural bullying is smug, and even evident in the everyday clash of a woman’s stiletto heels against the phlegm-spotted, crooked cement tiles. Biting competition, uneven concrete, and everyday, episodic tortures live here. Karma snakebitten, something of my past soul must have tripped up to have been born with the blood of this hermit kingdom, and be dysfunctionally slow and fearful of status quo conventions.
That said, a love-hate relationship has developed with this
country city. It’s one that is deeply rooted out of a complicated, nurturing appreciation, but which serves as a thick reminder of how much I cannot fit here or in the American East Coast, Midwest, and maybe the Pacific coastline. And so it goes: once raised an outsider, always an outsider … and always searching for that ubiquitous “home.”
That time has come, once again, to temporarily distance myself from a familiar, yet foreign world – one distinctly made up of natives, foreigners, and the blurred-over edges like myself – and penetrate into a more comfortable bubble, one that is unknown.
South Korea is a bubble nation in itself that is surrounded by different personalities; those which suit me live beyond the Tropic of Cancer. They are easy to find on the world atlas, but I know nothing of these other nations and societies. With the smothering heat, lowered economic levels, and a starkly segregated divide – namely commercial tourism and comparatively abject reality – why have these places felt comfortably at home?
Because comfort is swaying’ly slow, alone, and at ease;
Comfort is freely communicated and exchanged.
And it is rare for me to find a place where my world and theirs correlate evenly.
To people, the lighter the skin, the higher the status, and the more sweet the visual is.
To me, lighter is emaciated, anglo-aspiring ghosts gasping hollow.
The darker, ah … all the more beautiful; it’s earth.
Where is your destination?
Last year, my bed was in The Philippines. Maraming salamat po.
This year, it’s another island in the Malay Archipelago: Bali, Indonesia. On that Sunday, I couldn’t sleep at midnight, 1 a.m., 3 a.m. …
My waking clock couldn’t wait to quietly slip out of South Korea and escape.
Just visiting? start from the beginning.