Today is an anniversary of sorts.
It was on this day in 1990 that I came to Korea for the first time. Had I not left Korea in September of 2006, I would have been celebrating seventeen consecutive years here. Nonetheless, on a cool, clammy night seventeen years ago, my life would change forever when I got off the plane at Kimpo and started down that road I had taken.
It’s sometimes funny and strange what one remembers most about traveling to some far-off country for the first time and beginning a new life. Of course, I’ll never forget having my luggage lost as well as an immigration official asking me for a stick of gum.
What is still quite vivid in my mind about that night was traveling down Olympic Expressway and looking across the Han River at Seoul with thousands and thousands of lights twinkling in the cool night air. How could you not feel as though you had just embarked on this great adventure to fly halfway around the world to start a new life? One could feel both humbled and honored at the same time to have such a chance. Maybe that’s why I have had a better time in Korea all these years—despite some of the setbacks and personal tragedies—because I have always felt it was a privilege to be here and do what I have been doing all along.