I don’t know when I became a morning person. Somewhere between the late nights of twenty-one and the overworked semesters of senior year at twenty-two I began to rise with the sun.
There is comfort in the morning. Its cool breeze wraps around me as I pull my blanket tighter around my shoulders. My mug sits warmly in my lap, the steam raising the bitter sweet smell of coffee to my nose. The pale rays of sun that break through the morning haze stream through my open window while the birds cry out their morning ballads, beautiful, full of longing desperation. At such an early hour, there is only peace.
The only sounds of human life come from the occasional car that races down the small side street with urgency. As the day goes on, the street will burst into life, voices swelling toward the sky speaking in a tongue I do not understand, and have certain difficulty producing on my own.
And yet, despite the walls of communication I cannot seem to climb, I am home.
That is what this place is now. The small, white-walled studio tucked away from the main road in Jinju. It is still something I am getting used to.
I am a stranger in a strange land. And yet. I feel more comfortable here than I ever did in that one-bedroom back in Wilkes-Barre, surrounded by the things I owned, but did not recognize as pieces of my life.
I have spent years trying to figure out where home is. What home is. I do not think that home is a place. I am even more certain that home is not a person. At least, not another person. Perhaps, home is within us, somewhere we can seek comfort and understanding, somewhere we can find gentleness and peace, but only after we have come to accept our own failings and faults. Maybe the reason so many people never find home is because they never find a way to love themselves, to forgive themselves for the things they failed to do, and worse, the things they should not have done, but did.
And maybe that is why it took me twenty-four years and a journey around the world to find home. Because it wasn’t until I woke up on a quiet morning in South Korea and whispered I love you to my imperfectly perfect being, that I found peace.