But now I am having such a different experience. I work with people who don't hate foreigners and who actually believe we are equals. As a result, I can overhear my name in a jumble of Korean that I don't understand without assuming they are spreading nasty rumors about me. I can walk on the street, receiving curious stares, aware of the innocent intentions behind them.
I know now that I went about this experience the wrong way last year. I waited to show my love and care and attention until I received it. Only then would I lower the defensive wall about myself. But I should have treated all strangers with that love and care--gratitude for their patience land allowing me space in their culture despite my lack of language skills and cultural knowledge. I recognize my mistake now.
So Americans--when you encounter foreigners in your own land, what impression do you make of the place? Do you encourage paranoia or do you foster compassion and understanding?