We are on the train heading to Pusan. Rob’s mom and I are going alone, which is fine by me since the fewer witnesses for any potential emotional breakdowns the better. We do not talk much on the trip, I think Rob’s mom knew I was nervous so she left me to my thoughts. As Korea’s countryside sped past in the train window, I couldn’t help but wonder what I had missed growing up in this wonderful and foreign country. It is especially ironic to feel like a foreigner, when you were born in that country.
Déjà vu, I am sitting in the Pusan Orphanage office again. I am face to face now with my email nemesis, who oddly enough does not show any surprise at seeing me in person. The other Korean office ladies alternate between working on various tasks and shooting us startled looks every time they hear us speak English. If you are Korean, but speak English well, other Koreans generally tend to think you are showing off if you are speaking English in conversation with other Koreans. Did I mention it is really hot in this office, in Korea, and that there are very few AC units?
Rob’s mother and the orphanage employee begin a lengthy conversation in Korean that seems to end abruptly. I can tell from her change in demeanor that something has occurred, I simply have no clue what it is.
“They are saying that they made a second attempt to contact your mother and that she has not changed her mind. She has further said that they are not to give her information to you and that you are to stop trying to contact her or your sister,” Rob’s mom said to me.
It is funny how you notice things in times of completeness. Whether that is complete love, complete sadness, or completely any other emotion something seems to heighten your senses. I remember a fly hovering around my head as I heard this news. It is funny, one minute it annoyed me so much, the next it vanished and I had completely forgotten of its existence. Kind of scary to think about that actually, considering if I had been driving a car while receiving this news I wonder what would have happened then?
“Tell this guy that I don’t want anything from her!” I almost yell. “Tell this asshole I just want to see them once, if my mom doesn’t want to meet me then tell her I just want to see my sister!”
More conversation in Korean takes place.
“He says he is very sorry, but it is the policy of the orphanage to protect the wishes of the parent. He also says it is very unfortunate because she lives close to here.”
Bleakness, a pain in my chest, and a sudden need for alcohol takes hold of me.
Jason C. Cushman