"Dear Auntie Cat,
Here is my promised Official Thank-You Card, which comes all the way from America (so you KNOW it's cool). However, I must state that the great little card you sent is some of the most Korean-looking American Stationery I've ever seen. But it's got a Model T on it and the grammar is correct, so it can't possibly be a product of Korea. It is most evocative of the synergy of cultural influences that my life has become.
*Checks over* I think I used all of those big words right. English don't come rolling trippingly off the tongue no more. At any rate, thanks so much for the beautiful gift and all the love that comes with it. I will think of you every time I put it on.
I totally know what you mean about it suddenly hitting you that Holy Freak you are in another country. It hit me in mid-May on a rainy afternoon. I was with Sister Pak, and we stopped at a little stand for some lunch. Three breaded fried things for 1,000 won. I got squid. And standing there under the ratty awning, eating my fried squid with metal chopsticks and listening to the rain come pouring down in the street behind me . . . that's when it hit, I am in ASIA, which, despite my subconscious belief otherwise, is a real place where real people really live--people who will never speak English outside a classroom or go to America for any reason. This is a real place, and I am really living in it, as thoroughly and absolutely as any foreigner can.
I'm writing this on the train to Taegu. The Korean countryside is drifting by outside the window--row after row of painted, gray-green hills, with the Nakdong river sweeping through them.. It's so beautiful. I wish you could see it.