Anchoring

My friend Ritu’s on the way to being a mommy a second time… and the time is getting close! Very exciting! Ritu: 힘내! 힘내!

I was poking around on her Livejournal page and found this interesting question:

Where do you anchor yourself? In a place, a country or a person?

The question is kind of funny to me, because my first reaction was to think about whether I do actually anchor myself into people, places, or things. Now, of course I do that, but for some reason I felt that the assumption I do so was a little, I don’t know, presumptuous.

Maybe it’s because, however much I do it by degrees, I have this habit of dislocating myself, of pulling up anchor a lot. That’s one reason I read the kind of SF I do, because it dislocates me from the real world, the world of now, the world we actually really truly live in, and which—I suspect—we often fail to understand well precisely because we’re so mired in it. Mired there reads almost like the pejorative of the word “anchored”, now, doesn’t it?

Perhaps that’s also why I chose to live abroad, to study a foreign language, to move to Jeonju, to change my diet and so on. Perhaps it’s why I am such a netjunkie, always seeking information and news that will unsettle me from the reality IU live in day to day.

Do I not anchor myself in people and places? No, I do, I do. People who matter to me generally know it. I talk a lot about places that matter to me, too. But I am not exclusively rooted in Korea, or in Canadian identity; I don’t feel it, not in my bones. I live in Korea, I hail from Canada, but there’s no nationalist sentiment in it for me, no matter how anti-American my kneejerk reactions still sometimes are. Those places are more circumstantial anchors, the facts of my life and not something I lean upon for the support of my identity. Communities for me are much less spatial or linguistic than they are fluid, made up of people and goals and circumstances. And decisions, of course; descisions are crucial and inescapable.

Anyway, it’s an interesting question, one I expect expatriates would answer differently from most people living in their home countries.

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