We sit cross-legged on the hard linoleum floor, circled about a plate of sweet white peaches. These women are changing the world, making good use of the overabundance of anger, hurt, and sorrow this life has afforded. The adoptee beside me has lived in Korea for seven, eight years. She is a tiny bird of a woman, with flashing eyes and slight fluttering hands. Her skin is pale along the graceful curve of her neck and jaw.
I feel dark and large and clumsy beside her, my voice unsure with awkward turns of phrase. There is so much work to be done here, on this peninsula, in the hearts of its people. I wonder if I spend as much time here in the motherland as the adoptee beside me, if it will transform me into a graceful swan like her.
I count the time I’ve been in Korea. Five months in the beginning. A month here, a month there, adding up the weeks and days like loose change. Nine months. A mere nine months I’ve breathed the Korean air, walked upon her soil. And what sort of gestation has this resulted in? What sort of person have I become?
What has hatched from this period of incubation, surrounded by han? Not a swan. Certainly not a stork. I have not the brash bravery of the blue jay or the magpie, nor the solemn self-assurance of the heron or the snowy egret. I am small and brown and plain, an ordinary sparrow, but one who greets each day with a new song.