Hearing the News From Abroad

Disclosure: All opinions and thoughts are my own and may not reflect other people’s thoughts and experiences.

It’s not news to anyone that has read my posts that when I came to Korea I was far from happy with my situation. I had not come to terms with my decision to leave New York. One thing that came from my many emotions and inability to adjust to this new country was something I had never felt before – Patriotism.

I have never called myself a patriot but moving to Korea and living in a country where my first impression was ‘This country is like US, but it’s not as good,’ made me feel and appreciation for where I’m from. You see, I come from a place where there is so much diversity in languages and colors and food and pure personality and passion. A place where people speak freely and can be themselves (you might get a little side-eye but still). And then I found myself living in Korea, a country where I had to cover my shoulders to avoid ridicule and judgement. Where all the food literally tastes like kimchi, there’s only one language, the man knows best, gays are considered disgusting and most of the women my age or younger seem to look like the same asian version of Barbie (plastic surgery and stuff).

Don’t get me wrong, I have travelled around the US, I’ve seen the ugly. I once worked on a show for the Travel Channel where I filmed at a truck stop in the middle of Missouri, literally at the mid-point of America for about 5 months. I heard and saw some ugly stuff while living there. On another gig I scouted the city of Youngstown, Ohio. One of the most depressed, impoverished and dangerous cities in America. I remember thinking, ‘Damn, America is messed up. There are some huge gaps and I have been living in a bubble.’ I went back to that bubble and continued doing my thing. I stopped thinking of the other America until the other night – election night.

In my mind it only made sense to reject a candidate who was inciting hate by encouraging violence, xenophobia, bigotry, racism and misogyny. I mean, in my bubble and circle of friends, everyone thinks like me – there’s no way this guy will be president. But as I sat at my computer at work, watching the news correspondents announce state after state turn red, I was reminded of my time outside of my bubble. And that’s when it hit me, yeah – America.

So yeah, I was shocked because of what all the polls were telling us, but was I surprised? Absolutely not. I understand why people voted for Trump. I understand the world they live in and I understand that people vote based on what affects them personally. What affects the world that THEY live in and the beliefs that they were brought up on in that world. I also understand that when people feel like they haven’t been heard by the status quo, they will rebel. And yes, I understand that racism is very much still alive in America.

Personally, Trump’s America is not the America I want to live in. It’s not the America I believe in but, it’s still America- a country divided nonetheless. So, do I still think America is a great country? Have I lost that patriotic feeling I had when I first got to Korea? I’m not sure how I feel right now. These past few days have been incredibly lonely for me. In fact, I have never felt so lonely in Korea. Despite people telling me to not go back home, I’ve been wanting to be surrounded by my friends and I’ve been wanting to fight alongside them. At the same time I’ve been wanting to stay in bed and binge eat and pretend everything is going to be ok when I wake up tomorrow. I worry about my gay friends who have contacted me in tears. I want to give my friends a hug, I want to give people I don’t even know a hug. I don’t want to be alone right now.

So for people telling me to stay away, for people googling how to move to Canada, these are not necessarily solutions. I don’t think staying away or running away ever really fixes anything. For now, do me a favor and surround yourself with your loved ones, because you can. At least you’re not alone.
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