A few days ago I went to visit my old baseball coach and his wife. He was my coach, along with my dad and some friends’ dads, for about ten years. I hadn’t seen them since I returned in March. Actually hadn’t seen them since 2012. We talked for hours about my time in Korea, what they’d been up to, they showed me all the changes they’s made to their property. We talked about the town and the families that make up the fabric of what that place is, wether it be funny or downright annoying. We talked of the new parish priest in town and how he has been divisive by being assertive. It may seem boring and trivial but I hadn’t felt that sense of belonging and normal-ness for quite some time and it felt good to be with people who knew me when I was young, knew where I came from and understand how I got to be what I am today and indeed shaped who I am. It’s also strange and kind of beautiful how two people who were authority figures, pretty much other parents when I was young, become friends as I have gotten older.
On an unrelated note, it was sunny and 80 degrees for two days before going back to the gloomy rain that’s been coming down for two months. I had forgotten how depressing the not summer months can be here.
Even with the internet and being hyper-connected, there are some things from home that kind of fade away off to your peripheral when you live abroad. I have always been a big sports fan, American Football in particularly, but if you are watching a west coast early game from Korea, it comes on Monday morning at 3am. I tried a few times to wake up, watch the game, go back to sleep and then go to work, but I couldn’t do it consistently, so I ended up following the season mostly on instagram or watching highlights on my phone on my commute to work. I guess I could have downloaded games later but by the time my day was finished and I was back home, I had already seen all the scores or didn’t really think to grab the game later.
But last Sunday was Wrestlemania. I’ve been a huge wrestling fan since I was very young, but it was another one of those things that I had a hard time keeping up with, especially since I had not met anyone abroad who shared my passion for it. It’s way easier when a friend texts you or calls you to ask if you’re going to watch RAW or Smackdown, or to come over and watch a Pay-Per -View, then to keep up with it all on your own.
Wrestlemania is a big deal for me and my friends, and we always make a big production of it. We barbeque, start early for the pre-show activities and talk about Wrestlemanias of the past and our favorite matches and what happened to this wrestler or whatever. It’s an all-day thing, and it felt really good to be back in that place with like-minded people about a “sport” that I feel the general public still doesn’t really understand. Yes, we know a lot of it is fake. But it’s not about that. It’s about the pageantry, the rivalries, the drama and athleticism. But we know why we like it, and that’s enough.
I’m amazed how many people, after I tell them I recently returned to America after living in Korea, ask me if I was in North Korea or South Korea. I guess it’s partly my fault for not specifying, but no one in Korea refers to is as “South Korea.” It’s just Korea. And after being there so long I dropped the south bit. But I would have thought it was common knowledge that Americans aren’t really allowed in North Korea. It’s doable but expensive and we generally just don’t go there.
Anyway I mowed the acre yard we have today with a push mower because the battery in the riding lawn mower is dead. Yaaaaaay cardio.