07 May 2014

When Language Fails, Love Still

Having lived in Korea for almost five years, the hardest question I must address (with people in Asia and America alike) is always concerning language. It's with a great stab at my pride that I must admit I don't speak Korean, but that painful push toward humility has taught me much about acclimation, priorities, and the non-limits of love.

Today, I'm over at A Life Overseas, asking: "Can I Speak Love in English?"

~~~


The elevator door opens, and an elderly halmeoni (grandmother) brightens up to see me entering with my three small children. “Aigo!” she sings. “Ippeuda!” And I ready myself for the deluge of words that flood over me like drowning waters. Of course, they come, and I struggle to breathe.

My children look up at her wrinkled face and smile. They listen to her dote on them, let her touch their faces, respond to her invitation for hugs. They listen to her question me eagerly, and they see my blank stare and hear the nervous words that tumble out, surely with a laughable accent. “Mollayo. Shil-lae-hamnida.”

I don’t understand. Excuse me.

The elevator door opens–my escape. And we blow kisses to halmeoni as Mommy hustles the crew out and into the busy city of Seoul.

“What did she say, Mommy?” Such innocence. My preschoolers still think their mom knows everything.

In truth, my cheeks are flushed with shame. How can I live here and not speak the language?
~~~

You can read the rest at A Life Overseas by clicking here

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