Wholly strange and new

18 Jun

Written by Kirri White.  Follow me on twitter or facebook.

You can also contact me by email –  kirri@happymumsathome.com

This post is part of the #trust30 writing initiative, inspired by Ralph Waldo Emersons “Self-reliance” that encourages you to look within and trust yourself.

You can find further details regarding the challenge here.

Writing prompt by Author: Bridget Pilloud

Can you remember a moment in your life when you had life in yourself and it was wholly strange and new? Can you remember the moment when you stopped walking a path of someone else, and started cutting your own?

These days were decidedly fun yet predictable.  Dad would ask me what kind of fish I wanted for dinner and proudly present me with the juiciest mangoes from his favourite local market.  Security was rent-free, endless weekends of partying and beach time.

A job I never took seriously and sunshine on tap.

This Gold Coast girl was living large and running with the pack.  Keeping the shadowy whispers at bay by weekly shopping trips and life on the glitter strip.

Two weeks after an “Are you ok?” talk with dad, I found myself walking down a completely strange and wholly new, smog filled street in a very foreign country.  A place that I had fleetingly decided to call home for the next year – Pyon-chong-dong, Kyung-Ki-do, Anyang, South Korea.

Distracted by hunger, I meandered the streets concerned by the fact that I couldn’t speak one word of Korean.  For some reason I thought there would be subtitles…just for me, you know?

I couldn’t order from a menu and I so did not recognize any of the packaged goods in the stores!

Was that a bottle of water or vodka??   Hot and spicy noodles or a cup full of worms?

What the hell had I gotten myself into?

My self-consciousness was compounded by the fact that Korean people of all ages were staring at me, some even pausing to get a really good look, giggle, or ask me for my “famous” picture.

I felt awkward and as conspicuous as a palm tree planted outside Buckingham Palace.

I was a little bit lost, had no way to recognise landmarks or interpret signs without ‘proper’ letters, did not know how to ask for directions or help and…. I also had a class of Korean schoolies to observe in 20 minutes.

The snow – a further companion to my foreignness, heightened my self-awareness and I felt certain that I was about to have a full-blown panic attack.

I had left my dad, my home and country, was single, alone and a complete and utter stranger in this alien land.

A mad adventure and new friends?  An opportunity to learn spliced with a hint of challenge?

The anxiety slowly melted from my limbs as something inside me connected with that stroke of freedom.

A discernible grin spread across my freshly chapped lips…one that suggested just a hint of my awakened spirit inside.

Wholly strange and new? Bring it on.


When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any known or accustomed way; you shall not discern the foot-prints of any other; you shall not see the face of man; you shall not hear any name;—— the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new. – Ralph Waldo Emerson


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