During the winter of 2009, three days before New Year’s eve, my family and I moved to Waterloo from Michigan where we spent 12 years.  One of the choir members I shared six years with gave us a bowl as a farewell gift. The bowl had a line of words printed which read “Home Is Where the Heart Is.”  That short sentence comforted me amazingly.

The first time I stepped on the land of the USA, New York and New Jersey area, for visiting my friend for a week, I felt like Alice in Wonderland.  After that short time in the Big Apple, I flew to the state of Michigan for my real life in this new country.  At first I was treated like a guest or a stranger by many American friends.  After spending a short honeymoon-like time, I started experiencing and learning many things to adjust. Not too long after, I started saying, “Michigan is my second birth place”, and I truly felt that way.

So, “Home is Where the Heart Is” could mean to me that living in Iowa as a stranger would be tough but it could be overcome soon.  If I did it in Michigan, why not here in Iowa?  I was still in the same country after all. It’s just a different state.  I guessed that Iowa was going to be my third birth place soon.  After living for three years and four months here, have I become an Iowan now?

My family and I are going to visit my family in South Korea this summer after spending 16 years in the United States. The program of “Miah and Taemin; organ and piano recital” on April 7 at First Congregational Church included Sousa’s "Stars and Strips Forever", arranged for organ duet.  I commented right before playing the piece with Miah, “We played this piece in 2006 for a fundraiser concert to apply for our green cards.  We did it because we wanted to stay in this country.  We will play this piece again today, and this time it’s to remind us that we shouldn’t forget to return to the USA after our trip.”

We are so excited to see our family and friends in Korea after a long time.  But, I can feel that we should miss the United States and state of Iowa not long after landing in Korea, my birth country.  Because the people whom I have spent time together, shared friendship, mission and dream of our future most recently with are here in Waterloo/Cedar Falls. Well… I already start missing this small town even when I imagine I am in Korea.

Thank you for your prayers for our safe and meaningful trip to Korea during this summer.