Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Deja Vu

I was watching a rerun of Anthony Bourdain last night in which he travels to Korea.  About halfway through the program, he and his guide, Nari, visit a small village near the DMZ to meet Nari’s grandfather, whom she hasn’t seen in years.  This is where they meet:image

A raised building with wooden floors and an overhanging roof.  The walls of the structure are made of paneled windows, showing an austere landscape in all directions.

I have been here before.  Not in physicality, but in a dream.

About a month after coming home from Korea, I dreamed of Halmoni.  In my dream, Amul and I were walking across the landscape and came upon this building.  We climbed the stairs to find the room empty save for a lone figure sitting on the hard wooden floor at a low table.  And somehow I knew it was Halmoni.  The late afternoon sun cast shadows across her face as we sat before her.

Watching the late night rerun last night, I felt an odd sense of home and familiarity.  Halmoni lives in the south, closer to Pusan than Seoul or the DMZ.  In all likelihood, I will never visit the worn restaurant where Nari’s grandfather shared his story of escaping from the North.  Yet, I know this place, have dreamed it.

And that is something significant.