Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Hermits in Hiding

Dear Chosun,

I was thrilled when your soccer team came to play in the World Cup.  I have to admit I was curious to see what a real North Korean looks like.  And so I foolishly looked at every picture I could, looking in your faces, trying to get some glimpse of what your lives were like.  I apparently wasn't the only one who felt that way.

Of course the World Cup came and went and for most people, you fell back into the recesses of our minds as a defeated soccer team returned to your country that we knew nothing about.   But not for me.  My interest was piqued.

Well, yesterday, the big black hole that is you opened up just a little and let me see inside.  Granted, any account that I read about you will have some biases and will fail to give the entire perspective.  However, what I did see was enough to make me marvel and laugh and admire and cry and sorrow.

Is it true that in my lifetime, while I was learning Precalculus and worried about boys that people on the other side of the world were watching their modern conveniences slip into oblivion and their food waste away until corn husks and grass was considered a staple?  While I was wondering why the biggest worry in my life was my grades and my future, others were wondering if they would even have a future?  And I thought being 4 foot 11 was an insult - it actually was...while it lasted - but I never faced stunted growth because of malnutrition.  But not just the sad stuff, I  saw a people who in their own spheres still worry about school and boys and growing up.  I saw a people who endure much and still find that life has something to offer them.  I want to know people like that more.  I want to be like that more.

You see, for the longest time, I only saw you by how you were unlike me.  But now, I can see you for how you are not that different.  And one day, when your world opens up to mine, then we will begin to see things as they really are.

Love,
Me

P.S. I must admit, it is slightly disconcerting to realize that I am older than your next leader.  It just makes me feel so old.

Currently reading: Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the Twenty-First Century by Oliver DeMille
Currently noticing: 怎麼會這样 Zěnme huì zhèyàng - How could this be? (I'm not sure why this is my new pet phrase) Also, new favorite: 不好,不行,不乖 (I made this one up but it's so fun to say!)
Currently listening: 國境之南 by Van Fan 范逸臣 (I'm not sure why his name translates into Linkin Park on Google Translate...I promise it's not the same)

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