Holidays back home

So I originally started writing this post before Veterans Day, but it’s taken some time to finish it with school and some other projects. It’s now December so I’m going to try and pick up the pace on writing to provide some more regular updates. 

This is the first time in thirty years that I’m not spending the holidays with my parents and siblings. 2019 has gone by pretty fast with classes being over this month 

Living in Korea, I tend to forget the different holidays that happen back home. November 11, marked Veterans Day in the US (Remembrance or Armistice Day for different parts of the world). While Memorial Day remembers service members who’ve fallen in the line of duty, Veterans Day is intended to honor the veterans; those still among us. 

Back at home, there’d be parades in different communities and various restaurants and businesses would offer free meals or discounts to veterans. 

Thinking back to Veterans Day, I thought a lot about my dad. Growing up, he would talk a little about his time in Vietnam and life growing up. 

My dad during the 1980s(?)

In the summer of 1968, my dad signed up for the United States Marine Corp where he turned 18; just three days before his official enlistment. He would later volunteer for Vietnam and that choice later helped his two older brothers from being deployed overseas when they later got drafted. 

It was a time that he said helped him to grow up both physically and emotionally. For my dad, it was an opportunity to get out of his hometown(ish) of Kewanee and meet new people. 

At thirteen, he lost his father to an illness and his mom tried to raise the seven children on her own. She later remarried and at first, my dad didn’t get along with his stepfather. This would later be one of the reasons that my dad ended up going to the US Marine Corps. 

My dad with his family a couple of years before his enlistment

My dad spent many holidays away from his family. There wasn’t any video calling home to reconnect with friends and family or social media sites like Facebook. 

I remember my dad telling me that his mom had sent a small Christmas tree and some gifts and letters. The mess hall at the base would also have Thanksgiving and Christmas meals as well to provide some sense of home. 

My dad was much younger than me when he was traveling around the world and thinking about what he had to go through early on has helped to put a lot in perspective for me growing up. There’s been different ups and downs in our relationship, but each moment and memory has helped shaped me into who I am today. 

He’s always reminding me to “walk the walk” instead of just talking when it comes to what I want to do with my life. A year ago I was frantically trying to get everything ready for teaching in Korea after a year of various life difficulties. 

My family even humored me for a while on trying to go out on my own as a freelancer (that journey on its own had its own set of difficulties). But no matter what happened, my parents were there being supportive and helping me out as best they could. 

Even though I’m physically far away from my family, I don’t feel too far away from them. We’re able to talk on almost a daily basis and I can see their faces through video calls and look forward to seeing them briefly in the new year. 

Thank you again for taking the time to read this [late] post and be on the look out for another one about Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul that I visited recently with my sister.

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