Adjusting to Life Without a Passport

According to the US Postal Service website, my passport is in transit to its destination, the Korean Consulate in Chicago. To me, this translates as “in limbo – hope for the best,” so I am trying to fill my time with activities other than worrying about it’s well-being.

First, I tried practicing Korean. Once I was confident in my abilities to say “Where is the bathroom?” and “Can you say it again? Slowly, please.”, I experienced Asian language overload and had to find something else to do.

So I went for a two-hour bike ride through the suburban wonderland that is Fishers, Indiana. By the time I got back I was saddle-sore and didn’t care if I never saw a Kroger or Starbucks again.

Longing for all things familiar quenched, I turned to the activity that never lets me down – trawling the internet for facts, advice, or interesting trivia I may have missed about South Korea.

Too extreme, maybe?

I remembered my sister Megan saying that her kids in Thailand were really…shall we say…forward. One of her fellow ESL teachers was asked if she thought she was fat. Apparently, the students thought she was. Then I found this article on about an English teacher who was dubbed ‘Monkey Man’ by his students.

Once I vowed to shave all of my body hair and go on another two-hour bike ride, I started pulling up information on this whole kerfuffle between North Korea and South Korea/the US. As my dad told me yesterday, at least we’ll know before I leave if NK is going to take drastic action before I get there, since military training exercises are currently underway in the East Sea. Charming. He also quizzed me on my escape strategy should the North Korean army seize me and throw me in an internment camp. I think my lack of a plan distressed him.

I’m less concerned about political turmoil and more interested in what I’m going to see and experience once I get there. Seeing as how Gangwon Province conveniently borders the famed De-Militarized Zone, perhaps Jared and I should consider taking a field trip. Apparently it’s possible – read about it here on GoNomad. I won’t tell my dad, or he’ll want to contact the American embassy in advance, just in case.

Visiting the DMZ may not be for me, anyway. It reminds me of touring the Sachsenhausen concentration camp outside of Berlin. I feel uncomfortable at the thought of poking around what is essentially a violent history in progress.

Well, that was effective! I haven’t thought about my passport in at least thirty minutes. Now it might be time for that hair removal/bike ride. One can never be too prepared.  Or distracted.

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