it was missing a leg

I lost my part-time hagwon job today. While this may seem like a bad thing, it is actually a relatively good thing… I hated that job, I hated that job with the passion of Jesus Christ (not the movie, the actual passion). It was an unorganized disaster of a school that parents paid a seemingly large amount of money to send their children to without knowing how little they were actually learning. In what turned out to be my last class today, one of the desks/tables collapsed because it was missing a leg. So, yeah, this means I’ve lost a significant portion of my income, but I’m confident that I’ll be able to find something with which to fill the void soon enough.

And no, I didn’t get fired. The circumstances of my departure are complex, and I’m not really in the mood to relate them with typing.

nice cashing

fahrenheit-911

rut

I wish I had some new and exciting stories of my South Korean life, but there’s really very little happening lately. Perhaps my life here has become so routine that I’ve become blinded to the uniqueness of it all, or perhaps I’ve been existing but not really living. I’d hate to look back on right now with regret.

I’m in a rut, is the thing. It’s hard to come back to this place after getting a taste of what I’ve been missing in America. I’ve re-adapted, but I’m counting down the months I’ve got left here (less than five) much more than I should be… I’m living this strange and extraordinary life here and all I can think of is when I can return to relative normalcy.

This is life, though — the present moment getting lost amongst thoughts of the past and future. Do buddhists actually escape this cycle, or is it all talk?

And there’s Becky, too… she’s over there, in relative normalcy.

Land of the Beheaded Kim Sun-il

Monsoon season has arrived here in South Korea, which means that it is remarkably humid and it rains almost every day. It’s not terribly hot, but the humidity often makes it feel like it is. I’ve never experienced weather like this, and now that I am I never want to again. The incessant rain is tolerable, and often relaxing when I have nowhere to go, but the humidity is just unbearable — by the time I get up the hill and back in my apartment I am usually pouring sweat.

In other news, the Korean government has blocked a bunch of websites — including all foreign blogs — in an effort to block access to the beheading video of Kim Sun-il (the South Korean hostage in Iraq). As you know, this is the first time I’ve even mentioned this video in here, but this doesn’t seem to matter as I have been unable to access my site (or any other foreign blog) since I returned from my trip to the States. Actually, I’ve found a way to sneak around the government’s block by using a foreign proxy server, but it’s a pain in my ass and it’s the principle of the thing that counts. I feel like I should post a link to the beheading video, if only to somehow make this censorship meaningful… maybe I’ll rename my site “Land of the Beheaded Kim Sun-il.”

overhear

Tonight I eavesdropped on an intense argument (in English) about George W. Bush and what he’s done to America over the last three years. Before leaving America I was struck by how often I would overhear arguments like this, about how it indicated a heartening rise in American political awareness in some ways, now I’m in South Korea and I’m still overhearing these arguments. What does this indicate about the current state of American politics, I wonder? Will I look back on this period in history as an anomaly, or as a precursor?

George W. Bush is tearing shit up, old school.

lost three jobs

I lost three jobs this week. The first one I lost on Monday — I was told that they are just going to take a break for a while, but I’m going to assume this means that they’re stopping for good (I can’t wait for them to call, as I’m only here for five more months). The other two I lost yesterday — these two businessmen I teach are going to be on buisness trips for the next three months, and one of the students I taught on Friday morning is moving to Taiwan for a year. I’m not terribly upset about losing the Friday morning class, as it had become a real struggle for me to wake up early one day a week. And the two businessmen had become terribly unreliable over the last month, so this isn’t the worst class to be losing, either. This is all lost income, however, so I now need to start looking for replacement work again. Fun. Yay. Do you share my excitement?

Twin Peaks

twin-peaks-panorama

I took this picture from the top of Twin Peaks — a hill near my sister’s house with a view of most of the San Francisco area. We made a hurried trip up there during my twelve hour visit on my way back to South Korea. Actually, we ended up almost stuck up there, as we found ourselves without cell phone service and thus without a way to call a taxi to get back down. Eventually, we were able to get a signal, but the taxi service needed an address where we were, and “the top of Twin Peaks” was apparently not sufficient. So, we ended up walking down a bit to an area with houses and addresses, and finally were able to get a taxi. Upon arriving back at my sister’s house, I realized that my flight to Seoul left an hour earlier than I’d (for some reason) thought, so we had to call another cab and have it rush me to the airport with little time to spare.

In the end, my visit with my sister was also far too brief — it seemed we’d hardly said hello and were opening a bottle of wine before we were hurredly saying goodbye again. Flying back to South Korea made everything seem so much more monumental than it would were I just flying back to Cleveland or wherever. It’s hard to stay emotionally separated from the fact that you’re flying halfway around the world from the people you love most.

51----me-and-al-twin-peaks

memories/thoughts

22----bbridgeRandom memories/thoughts from my time in New York City:

-While walking down a street in Manhattan, my mother mentioned that it was strange seeing Becky & I in person after spending so much time keeping track of us through our blogs.

-I was struck by how multicultural it really is in New York — I must have heard at least ten different languages in the stort time I spent there — and I remember thinking that this is one of the great things about America that I’d essentially ignored until now.

-The subway in New York is a piece of shit compared to the subway in Seoul. I realize that this has a lot to do with age, and also with the fact that the New York subway is open all night, but the difference is really striking.

-There’s never enough time to do everything that you want to do, but walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is a good way to spend an hour or two.

-After buying some new clothes at Old Navy, Becky & I randomly stumbled upon what (I assume) New Yorkers refer to as “Korea Town” — a section of town almost entirely populated with Korean restaurants and buisnesses, there was even a PC room. It was nothing like it is here.

I’m tired now, more tomorrow. I’ve uploaded pictures, if you’re interested… click here, or down down down and to the left.