I moved to Korea from the United States two years ago. I stumbled off the plane, bleary-eyed after a sixteen-hour long flight from Atlanta, with $800 to my name and two suitcases worth of things I deemed necessary to start a new life – some clothes, favored photos, a phrasebook I’d picked up for cheap off the bottom shelf of a popular bookstore. The phrasebook was something that I had to work up to slowly– I didn’t even know the alphabet.
After two years of living here, the Korean I speak is still broken, at best. I struggle to find words – simple nouns and verbs are clumsily strung together, along with the sweeping gestures and facial expressions I have come to rely on as a more reliable form of communication.