Christmas in Korea kind of comes without warning, then it’s back to work after a quick day off of longing for family, friends, and home.
A year ago today, I was traveling through the desert in Rajasthan, India, on a camel. The train was three camels large, an irony that didn’t strike us until Christmas Eve. I was traveling with an adventurous young man from Chile, and the camel driver. We were reminiscing about being in the desert in India for Christmas, and the absolute absence of anything we, as Westerners, associate with Christmas at all; Christmas lights, Christmas trees, carols, etc… It was a while before we realized what we were doing was far more ‘Christmasy’ than what anyone we knew at home was doing. We didn’t have any illusions that we were wise men or anything like that, but there was definitely a connection. It was fun to get back to the ancient streets of Jaisalmer that night and send some pictures home in time for Christmas morning.
This year Christmas was a bit different than usual, too. I missed my family at home, but have my new family here this year. The three of us, EunBong, my sweetheart wife, myself, and our baby to be. We had chosen CheongYeon (Blue Lotus), a while ago for a name, but it’s become more of a pet name for the fetus now.
The doctor said it looks like it will be a girl and Eun Bong asked if we could pick a name that would work in both languages. For now, we’ve decided on Fina. It’s an Italian name, short for Josefina, so it definitely works in my family of Josephs. In Korean, the Chinese characters ‘Hui’ and ‘Na’ together mean roughly “shiny precious loveliness” and Koreans sometimes use an ‘h’ sound instead of an ‘f’ when spelling English words with Korean characters. The original meaning of Italian/Hebrew name ‘Guiseppina’ is, “Jehovah increases.” This is also the meaning of my name, and I have no grievance with how it has treated me in this life. I think it’s a good name to pass on for a forth successive time in the Bengivenni line.
from EunBong, Joseph, and Fina!