I’ve Got Seoul But I’m Not A Soldier

It’s announcement time! I’m switching roles and becoming an international correspondent for NPR. That’s very cool. But what’s cooler is I get to open up a new Korea/Japan bureau for the company, based in Seoul. You know I like the beginnings of things.

For most of 2013, Friend Javaun and I would randomly yell “Annyeong” to each other from one floor to another at NPR headquarters, where the fourth floor overlooks the third. Never did I imagine that Annyeong could become a daily, non-ironic greeting.

I lived in Asia for a spell when I was 19 years old, with an all-male hip hop group that had just signed on with Warner Music Taiwan. The lead artist was an alum of a hot 1990’s Asian boy band called “L.A. Boyz” and my roommates were forming Machi, which went on to enjoy brief fame and a hit collaboration with Missy Elliott. The afternoon I went out for a movie with those boys in crowded shopping center was the only time I’ve ever experienced what it’s like to be chased by paparazzi and screaming teenage girls.

I think back on that time as a vortex. I know I lived those months in Taipei, but the experiences were so heightened and frenetic and strange that it still doesn’t feel real, even these 12 years later.

Now I live what is more akin to a “grownup” life. A real job. A spouse. A spawn. Two cats. My geriatric dog. And we’re about to uproot ourselves and charge into the Asian vortex, together.

We’re planning to move at the beginning of 2015. I don’t know what to do with our house yet. I am panicked about getting to see the final episodes of Mad Men without too much time delay. I worry about my 16-year-old dog surviving a cross-planet move. I am unsure of my own abilities to cover a place where I am illiterate.

But I’m also filled with excitement and wonder and gratitude for the chance to do this. I know how rare a privilege it is these days to get a chance to work overseas, supported by a large, well-funded news organization. As my friend and mentor Kinsey said, it’s invaluable experience that will change and shape our lives.

Whoa, right? We’re planting the NPR flag on an action-packed peninsula! Can you imagine the culture stories? This is the place where they just hosted a competition to see who could zone out the longest. C’mon, that is gold!

Onward, into the vortex.

5 thoughts on “I’ve Got Seoul But I’m Not A Soldier

  1. I’m so excited for you guys. Ahhh! What an amazing opportunity. My head is spinning for you. ((hugs)) Let me know if you need any Mizzou items for your new adventure. (Possibly multiple sized Shakespeares clothing for the girl to grow into.)

  2. Pix or it didn’t happen:

    “what it’s like to be chased by paparazzi and screaming teenage girls.”

  3. I’m so glad NPR will be in Korea! Aside from maybe AP, I’ve always loved the fair, balanced, and unbiased reporting from NPR! Ever since I moved to Korea from LA, I have been missing NPR stories and news radio. I hope you’ll enjoy your time here! It’s got its ups n down, and don’t worry, everyone here watches the latest stateside dramas (albeit about half a day late!)

    I’d love to help transition, and though I am bilingual, I can only translate Korean to English (text).

    Can’t wait for NPR Korea!

    P.S. I remember LA Boyz!!! keke

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