검색
Contact us | KOREAN
NEWSLETTER > KF Activities > KF Essay > A Participant’s Experience in the Korea-China Youth Exchange Program

A Participant’s Experience in the Korea-China Youth Exchange Program

Leaving Behind a Closed Door and Entering China
Leaving Behind a Closed Door and Entering China
Every season has an end, and at the end of the season it is inevitable for flowers to wither. Those who have stood in front of a closed door and have helplessly stared at the door know what I mean—that there is an end to everything. My trip to China started in front of that closed door. I was opening up my heart very slowly, but I felt little excitement about the trip the whole time I was on the plane to Beijing; I was still in that state of mind when I arrived at the Beijing airport. But just then, someone beside me said: “Sure enough, there aren’t any hills in China.” It was true. The land stretched out before my eyes. No matter where I looked, I could see all the way to the horizon. The sky in China was completely different from that in Korea. I think that was when it happened, when I found freedom, when I was able to let go of everything. It was not until I went to China that I had the peace of mind to look into the lives of other people.

I flung away my old Seoul mind-set. On the Great Wall of China, I felt like a nameless soldier climbing the stairs on some stretch of the wall to light the signal beacon. At the Forbidden City, I felt like a servant carrying the luggage of an envoy from the Joseon Dynasty. Before this grand landscape, how small they must have felt! As I saw myself in this unfamiliar place, I pulled back the curtains on my heart and let the sunshine in. As I gazed upon the Bund at night, I made a promise to China: I’m going to come back here. I believe that life means you’re always in debt to something, and now, once again, I’m in debt.

Things are back to normal now. The empty page that I had to fill is full of words in front of me, and the stories that had been planted inside are starting to grow. This is how the cycle of people and their lives works. Again, I guess I’m heading somewhere. Even so, I don’t want to believe that this stopping point is the point where it all ends. There will be another road somewhere that is connected to this point, and I’m going to keep walking down that road.

Kim Ye-eun

한글페이지로 이동