There’s an image to which I can’t help but return. It’s one I’ve written about at least twice in the past year and it continues to be something I often contemplate. It’s an image of ruins, and I’m standing in the midst of them. Even so, to say that the ruins represent my life would be a gross exaggeration and wholly inaccurate. My life is demonstrably not in ruins. Quite the contrary, in fact: I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, and that’s not an exaggeration. In the time that has passed since I came to this country, I’ve built a life for myself according to specifications and desires all my own and, in some ways, it feels like I’ve finally started living. The picture of ruins that often comes to mind represents life before February 25, 2013, the day when my plane first set down in the Republic of Korea, one year ago this week. When I got on the plane in Dallas, I didn’t leave behind a life I ever hope to resume and that sentiment only strengthens with time.
I have sat down to write this post no fewer than six times over the past three months. Each time, after having written three or four paragraphs, I’ve stopped to look back over what I’ve said, muttered “fuck it” in frustration, then deleted it all. Afterward, I probably closed my laptop in a huff and, finally, returned to whatever it was I was doing before I felt compelled to sit down and start writing in the first place. Part of the reason why is due to the difficulty of describing exactly how I feel at the moment. The feelings themselves aren’t beyond comprehension, but finding words to describe them in the English language is challenging. There are times when it becomes frustratingly clear that the range of human emotion is far deeper and broader than is the pool of words with which we can express them and this has been one of those occasions when I’m vexed by some of the many holes in language. My biggest hope is that something approximating how I feel will emerge from the words I write here.
As some of you may know, my little friend Tucks had to be put down just a few days after I arrived in Korea. I was heartbroken for a few days but, ultimately, I was glad that he wasn’t suffering anymore. He’d been sick for quite some time and, in hindsight, I’m certain he was probably in the early stages of his cancer when he first showed up at my doorstep last June. So, I’m glad that he got to live like a king among cats for the last part of his life and I thought I’d share a few of the multitude of pictures I snapped of him. On a side note, it’s okay if you judge me for posting a bunch of pictures of my cat; Mr. Tucks was worth it.
I know none of you ever met Tucks, but seriously this cat was one of a kind. I was in my bedroom praying one morning (not for a cat, just to be clear) and I looked out my bay window to see this striking black and white tuxedo cat wandering around the yard. He looked well-fed and, save for a mite problem in his ears, seemed very healthy. He came right up to me and instantly started hugging my hand in the way that cats hug and we were instant besties. Continue reading