Written by Josephine Reece, Editor-In-Chief 2014-’15
In this issue of Infusion our authors draw attention to moments of transition and revision. As foreigners living, working and teaching in Korea we are constantly faced with situations that require us to reevaluate our perspectives. Mostly these situations are exciting. Yet, with all the little and large things that life throws at us, we all have moments when excitement gives way to exhaustion or annoyance, until something happens which surprises us into joy and compassion again. This cycle of ups and downs is incredibly common when adjusting to a new place — so common that people who study culture shock have names for the various stages: honeymoon, disintegration, independence. These stages don’t just happen once, but repeat themselves throughout time in a foreign country. As such it can be difficult to find a still place from which to take a step back and see where we have been.
But during this time of constant movement — ups and downs and interruptions — the one thing we rely on is each other. Our friends are there for us when our schools change the schedule unexpectedly and also when we manage to get tickets to the sold out Kpop concert. They give us a lens through which to view our history, showing us where and who we have been. Knowing that someone has had the same experiences of hilarity, annoyance, and joy lets us appreciate and understand our own experiences more, even the terrible ones.
This year our Fulbright family was touched by the sudden loss of two members — Morrow Willis and Jim McFadden. They are remembered by their friends through the experiences they shared together, many of which they documented in past volumes of Infusion. Even though those memories are now touched with sadness they can still bring great joy to the people who knew Morrow and Jim.
The authors in this issue navigate through everything from stereotypes to city streets. As they explore Korea they give themselves and their subjects the liberty to be in transition — imperfect, uninhibited. It is the same freedom we give and hope to find among our closest friends and family. Family can be frustrating, infuriating, but in the end they are always our biggest supporters. Whether long-distance or near at hand, our friend and family relationships grow with us through the grant year and our authors explore their changing relationships alongside their changing views of Korea.
As you turn the pages of this issue, I hope these pieces will challenge you to appreciate the times of change in your own life as well as the relationships which keep you whole.
Please enjoy Infusion Volume 8, Issue 2.