Monday, August 15, 2011

Unfair Question of the Year

Yesterday Joyce asked me which of the three countries—the US, Korea, or China—was my favorite. "I'm not answering that," I told her, "but it should be obvious."

"Then China is a close second," she said. OK.

Even though I admittedly wasn't thrilled with the States when I left them, nearly three years ago, that's not why I left. I just couldn't find any jobs. Teaching English to nonnative speakers seemed too good a job for a writer to pass up, and so I left.

I once called Korea the lite app you download to see whether you'll like the full app (China being the full app, natch). Perhaps that's unfair, but Korea was a much easier country to live in. At the same time, however, I wasn't very involved with the lives of Koreans (possibly because I had a girlfriend and, if I'm honest, I wasn't much interested in anything else). In China, I try to talk with as many people as I can, and if I'm not at school, I try to speak Chinese. In Seoul, I could walk around the city and keep to myself, following the English signs through the subway stations, and Korean's really easy to read. China, at least the way I live it, requires a lot of talking.

Of course, the expat life can be one of sticking to yourself. It's just like so many other things.

But home is home. And if you ask somebody else to think of your own home as theirs, what's the answer supposed to be?

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