“This Is Home”
For the past seventeen years, this Vietnamese girl, Jamie Huynh, had never found a place where she could say, “This is home,” not even the place where her family lives.
That is, until she saw Seoul, South Korea.
My love for South Korea began when I was fourteen years old. Since then, I have made up my mind: I want to live in South Korea. Still, it was just a fantasy. After all, who would not fear a life where you can only depend on yourself?
Fortunately, during an eight hour delay in Seoul, Korea, I was granted the opportunity to tour the city. It was the beginning of a future to be.
As I passed each mountain, my body relaxed at the sight of the scenery. It felt as if each waving tree was welcoming me home, to a home I never had. Like in the song “River Flows In You”, by Korean pianist Yiruma, my heart quivered at the sight of the Han River, a giant body of water that flows through Seoul. At the end of every mile that the bus zoomed by, a uniquely designed iron bridge stood proudly, greeting every visitors that entered the city. While one bridge was dressed in ruby red, the other reflected a sapphire blue toward the sunset. Like guarding soldiers, their confidence made me felt like royalty as I entered its kingdom. My kingdom.
Once I reached the city, I felt a sense of belonging. Though the people that walked by spoke in a language that I did not comprehend, their foreign tongue excited my nerves. I felt the need to interact with anyone, everyone. When I approached a salesman, I attempted to converse with him, pulling out a word here and there, creating nonsensical sentences. I don’t know how, but he managed to comprehend my jumbled thoughts. Though I spoke English for over nine years, never once had a conversation with an American make me feel like I was one, yet here I was, barely able to make a complete sentence, feeling like I belonged here. It was as if I was Korean.
The last thing that convinced me of my feelings for South Korea was another lovely river. It was in the heart of Seoul and was barely ten feet wide: Cheong Gye Cheong. The bank of the river was cemented into sidewalks on which families could indulge in a homey atmosphere as the sun sets. With small bridges that overlooked the river and the city’s grand scaled buildings, tourists crowded the place, trying to take in as much of the scenery as possible with their cameras and cam recorders. On one end of the river was a pine tree that radiated the seven colors of the rainbow during Christmas time. On the other was a mini fountain that randomly sprayed water into the air, scaring the poor children seeking a dip in the cool river. It was a sight to be seen and remember forever.
I did not have a full grasp on the language and I have no family or friends in this foreign land. These are reasons enough to stop anyone from moving to an unfamiliar place. Still, the fact that Seoul was able to make me feel at ease, welcomed, and most importantly, so at home is more than enough for me. For the first time in my life, I was able to feel ecstatic towards a questionable future. For the first time in my life, I was able to say, “This feels like home.”
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.