Christina Heaston

Stories about a life.

Posted in Uncategorized by christinaheaston on February 18, 2010

Gwangju Jeolla-do, S. Korea

One night we slept in the apartment of a boy we’d never met.  He had moved back to the states but left all of his things there. This made me feel like he was going to walk in at any minute and demand I put his journal down. This thought was the only thing that kept me from reading every single page.
There were boxers on the floor, a beer bottle on the bathroom counter, and a creepy portrait of Jesus on the wall right as you walk in the apartment. “If Jesus looked like that, I don’t think I would be a Christian.”

In Seoul, we stayed in a hostel. 3 bunk beds. There were 5 of us and we thought it very unlikely a 6th person would join us. We were wrong. A nice woman from Japan was there to greet us. Well, sort of greet us-she didn’t speak English. At all. We didn’t speak Japanese. At all. This didn’t stop her from telling us all about her day. We stared as she made sounds we’d never heard. Then smiled and nodded our heads agreeingly like you do when you don’t understand someone. We never got her name, so we just called her “Japan”.  Japan was somewhere between 22 and 54 years old. I really couldn’t tell.

One night i woke to what i thought was someone speaking in tongues and I have never been more confused in my life. It took me a minute, but my brain cleared and I realized that we were not reliving the day of Pentecost. No, it was just Japan talking in her sleep.  What was she saying? Was it about us? Does she walk in her sleep too? What if she tries to get in my bed? Does she KILL in her sleep? Did you see that episode of CSI?   My neck was sweating. My heart was pounding. I lay wide awake on my left side with my right arm prepared to jab Japan in the eye if she came within 2 feet. I stayed in this position for what felt like forever. But sometime, somehow I finally fell asleep. When I woke the next morning I shot my eyes across the room to see her empty bed. Not sure if anyone else was awake, I said “WHAT HAPPENED LAST NIGHT?” Turns out, they too lied awake that night  listening to Japan and wondering if the Apostle Paul was in her bed. After much debating, we concluded that no, the Apostle Paul was not in Japan’s bed.

I once read a book that said “time waits for no one.” Okay, really i read it last week on a calendar in a Korean bookstore. It was cheesy and cliche and I liked it. I didn’t buy it. But I did think about it. “Time waits for no one”.  I wished I’d met you sooner. I wished you would have tried harder. And I wished we would’ve stood there longer. But I didn’t. You didn’t. We didn’t. And it was February 7th, 2010. And I was here and you were there.

We took a 4 hour bus ride from Incheon to Gwangju. The curtains were mint green and the seats were cherry red. I watched an Asian man fall asleep reading the newspaper. He was well dressed. They were all really well dressed. Men in suits. Women in heels. This made me want to start dressing like an adult. A real live adult!

(insert smooth transition here)

A lot happened over the past 17 days. I am still processing so much.  I am still taken by beautiful scenes and sights. I still stare at strangers. But now, when I get caught, I don’t look away. I look them in the eyes and smile-they almost always smile back.  I don’t really know what I mean by that. But I do know that we’re all just people here. I, of course, already knew this. But seeing the world-the one that exists outside of my own always puts things into a perfect perspective.

And I don’t want to hear techno for a long time.

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5 Responses

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  1. Rachel Halsey said, on February 18, 2010 at 10:28 am

    i can’t wait to hear more of your stories! come stay with me… or maybe i’ll just come live with you….

  2. charis hill said, on February 18, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    somewhere between 22 and 54 years old..

  3. Jeff said, on February 18, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Welcome back! I hahahahahaha’d at the 22 and 54 years old part too. I’m looking forward to hearing more stories, I’ve forgotten what you sound like.

  4. jmcdougall said, on February 18, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    I felt like I was reading a page out of dons book just now. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    oh and Larry just told me you are a very pretty girl.

  5. seoulspurts said, on March 3, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    It’s interesting to be reminded by your first impressions…I’ve been in Seoul for a year in a half–thanks for sharing!

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