I’m still not there yet.
Actually, we have stayed in touch but it’s so different now. So… official.
It’s been a whole week. It seems much longer.
I thought the fact we both agreed this is for the best would make it easier, but it hasn’t. Or if it has, how would it have been otherwise!?
For the first few days, only loss I felt was from not being close to him anymore. But slowly I’m starting to consider other things I lost as well.
Firstly, there is the loss of a relationship. I already mentioned I’m sick, and housebound at that, which means starting a new relationship is close to impossible. Fine, it’s impossible. I was never one to stay in relationship that wasn’t working only for the fear of being alone, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit it makes me even more miserable in this situation.
Secondly, there is the loss of Korean… well, everything.
Unlike many of my readers who got interested in Korea first, whether through drama, movies, Kpop or culture, and then got interested in Korean men, for me it was the other way around. When I met Kimchi Man I knew next to nothing about Korea. And once I fell in love with him my interest in Korea grew as an interest in his country.
When I would look at the map of Korea, I saw a place where he was born, a city he grew up in, a city he went to high school in, a city he served his military service in, a town where he sat as we Skyped… Now, all there is left when I look at a map of Korea… is … well, a map of a foreign country.
I never even managed to visit it.
Despite being barely a beginner, I can honestly say I put a lot of effort into learning Korean language. And the reason for doing it, and what was driving me forward even when I would get stuck, was the idea of speaking to him in his native language. Being able to communicate with his friends and family. Now, even if I would learn Korean perfectly there would be no one to talk back to me.
And so on. Korean culture, Korean food, Korean stationary, Korean entertainment, nothing holds the special significance for me without him. All that was meaningful because we shared it.
After all these years it’s difficult not to equate Korea with him.
But if I was to be honest, I would have to admit that wasn’t a completely bad thing. It means I received Korea through him, a man I loved. And despite our differences that made it impossible to stay in a relationship, we were in many ways so similar. We had same view of life and ideas about what was right and wrong. And so everything I received of Korea, came filtered through him which made it less foreign, worrisome and strange and more exotic, awe-inspiring and exciting.
But where does all this leave me now?
Is my “relationship” with Korea doomed because my relationship with Kimchi Man is gone?
Or has these three years of enjoying Korean culture and learning more about Korea than I’m probably even aware of right now, created a bond that might not be so easily broken?