Looking Back: Korean Homesick Blues

| December 1, 2010 | 4 Comments

gwangjukorea Looking Back: Korean Homesick Blues

Gwangju, South Korea

Gwangju, South Korea (June 6, 2001) — Leave me alone. I’m planning my escape from this refrigerator where everything is three days passed the best before date and I’m ready to sell my travelling companion to the military police for a glossy magazine and a plane ticket home. I hope she doesn’t get wise to the plan.

Where’s my passport? I need it to reclaim my fingerprints that they’ve sequestered at the immigration office so I wouldn’t smudge the windows that they’ve polished to keep me out.

Leave me alone. I’m planning my escape from this strange aquarium where the fish swim upside down and keep to themselves mostly. I’m ready to sell my travelling companion to the military police for some good Canadian tobacco and a phone call home.

Forget the passport. I need to put some distance between this country and my mind, even if it means I have to leave my fingerprints behind.


This is a post from our collection entitled ‘Looking Back’. It includes an occasional entry from our journals that date back to 2001 when we first began writing about living and travelling abroad. We’ll present these paired with a photo in the form of a verbal postcard. Together, these postcards provide an (in)formal and often (in)coherent narrative of the trips we’ve taken! NYEDAJHS7K42


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About the Author ()

For nearly ten years now, Daniel of Two Go Round-The-World has explored how travel captures our imagination and engages our deepest emotions. One half of the duo that maintains the widely read Two Go Round-The-World blog, Daniel treats his subjects not only as works of art but also as symbols of the cultural and political forces that inspire them. His latest book, The Physics of Flocking, gathers his favourite writing featured over the past two years on Two Go Round-The-World in columns like 'Looking Back' and 'The Whole Picture'—along with new reflections.

Comments (4)

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  1. Gray says:


    This is pure poetry. I love it. I wish my journal entries read like that.

  2. Joel Tillman says:


    Was South Korea that bad?


  3. Great narrative! Having lived in South Korea for several years I can related to a lot of what you’re saying here.


  4. I think that’s the feeling of expats everywhere from time to time. I’ve lived abroad in Taiwan for 8 years now, and there are certainly times when I think about selling a friend for a “glossy magazine and ticket home.” But then I think about the job market back in Canada, and I quickly wise up. After all, I only just got my permanent residency.

    But thanks for sharing this prose-poem. It was just the kind of disjointed emotional trauma I’ve experienced again and again living abroad. Hope you smoothed yourself out for the next leg of your travels.

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