your korean student

hello jeffery
think this week well be the last writing class with you
and your last class teaching in Korea
I had wonderful writing class with you
and learned a lot from you
thank you so much for everything you had taught me
and i really enjoyed all your monkey jokes haha.
hope you had enjoyed teaching us too! hehe
anyways, i wish you had a good time in korea
and hoping you to see you again then !! bye~~ will miss yah
your korean student
Rachael 🙂

I shit you not.

So, this is my last week of classes at CDI, so I’ve been spending the last fifteen minutes of each class just talking to the kids, letting them ask questions, so forth.  In both of my classes today, the first question was about my hair.  Long and confusing conversation short–they thought that I had cut and/or shaved my head into this receding hairline style.  Not only that, they seemed to think that I spent time polishing the places where my hairline has receded in order to make it "very shiny."

I shit you not.

And so forth…

I’ve been neglecting my website lately, or at least I feel like I have been.  I’ve been spending much of my free time either preparing to go, thinking about going, or trying to distract myself from the fact that I am going.  This is not to say that I don’t want to go, it is just to say that going would be much less stressful if I had a concrete plan in place.  Film school, god willing, but that path remains clouded by financial difficulties and waiting.  I am looking forward to the immediate future–to a summer spent with friends and family and relatively free of obligation–but after that scares me a bit. 

I try so hard to live in the moment that the moment I’m living in often becomes full of stress about my seeming failure to live in it.  Right now, for example:  Sitting on the floor of my bedroom in Korea, my brain creating these words as I drink my instant coffee, listening to a song that reminds me of something or someone, and my eyes flicker to the clock at the corner of my monitor…  I have to leave for work in an hour.  What will I teach today?  Should I pick up lunch on my way to work?  Kim bap again–am I eating too many eggs?  And so forth… 

Perhaps it’s not so much about living in the moment as it is about creating moments worth living in, and then embracing them when they arrive. 

I grow weary of teaching English, which is perfect because I only have five more days of it.  I grow weary of my roommate Mat, which is perfect because I’m moving out in two weeks.  I don’t grow weary of Lauren, which is perfect because I’m going to see her in two weeks.  So much perfection in my life, at least when it comes to timing. 

Tomorrow is my last day off.

I have five more days as a teacher in South Korea, and I have about fifteen more days as a resident of South Korea.

Where do I file this…?

I find myself swinging from romantic idealism to ignorant cynicism–from a dazed and half-retarded grin to an arms-folded scowl.  Today was, for the most part, an arms-folded scowl.  Tomorrow I plan to return to dazed and half-retarded.

Buses can get remarkably crowded in Seoul, especially at around four or five in the afternoon.  Also, the concept of "personal space" is virtually nonexistent here.  I’m not saying this is wrong, I’m just saying that it can drive one to the brink of one’s sanity.  Today I almost got off the bus just to get off the bus.

And then, I’m flying to Japan for a month to stay with a woman I’ve known for less than a month.  This, too, requires a new filing system.

Tomorrow is my last day off.

kimchee leak

The Korean Prize Package has been delivered, albeit with a slight kimchee leak.

strange and chaotic weekend

I had a strange and chaotic weekend, which I suppose as it should be during these my last few weeks on the Korean peninsula.  Inevitable, if you will. 

CrowsOn Friday, one of my better friends here got married to a man she met three months ago.  Both her and her (now) husband are Americans, so apparently they just went over to the embassy and signed some papers and kissed (unnecessary, but obligatory).  Knowing her as I do, it makes a certain sort of sense, and then not.  When I asked her earlier in the week about the rash nature of her nuptial decision, she looked at me and responded simply: "When you know, you know."  I found myself unable to argue with this simple and romantic logic, although I felt myself wanting to.  "Let the lover be," says Rumi, so I do.  So now they are Copper & Vanessa Crow–I wish them the best, and that their music only swell with time.

They had a reception of sorts at a wine bar in Itaewon that night, which allowed me to drink and hang-out with many of my good friends and acquaintances here in Seoul, while simultaneously being drunk and obnoxious in a subconscious effort to put-off any new friends I might possibly have made.  Perhaps I’m over-analyzing my behavior a bit, but this is something I am good at.  I also took a picture of a man passed out on a stairwell landing with his ass-crack showing, which I think I’ll save for the next caption contest. 

Late in the evening, I was standing in an alley outside the wine bar talking on the phone, and a black man holding a single rose rushed by quickly.  I imagined that he was, perhaps, pursuing a lover, and thought nothing more of it.  A few minutes later, however, another black man holding a single rose ran up to me and said: "Did a big black guy with a rose just run by here?"  After I confirmed that a black guy with a rose had indeed just run by, the second black man got an angry look on his face and shouted: "I’m gonna KILL that fucker!" before running off in the direction of the first black man.  I wish I knew more of that story, but I’m glad that I don’t.

I taught with a slight hangover on Saturday, which is always a joy.  When I arrived back home on Saturday night there was a birthday party for my roommate Mat in progress, complete with delicious Korean food and an eccentric French saxophonist.  I spent some time talking to a Korean guy about a venereal disease that he insisted wasn’t a venereal disease.  I’m no doctor, but pissing blood and a "funny looking things down there" seem to be clear symptoms of some sort of venereal problem, and an apparently randy visit to the Philippines seems to be a clear cause.  Again, though, I’m no doctor, so I only urged him to see one.  I stayed up far too late drinking and carrying on, but I did manage to get up and make it through another early Sunday of classes.

I ate some falafel and took a three-hour nap when I got home from work today, and I am now wide-awake and thinking about the fact that I only have one more week left as a teacher in South Korea.  One more week, may I try to enjoy it instead of impatiently waiting for it to end.

change is an eggbeater in my brain

Strange days, strange dreams, strange thoughts–change is an eggbeater in my brain.

It rained two nights ago—a slow and steady rain that maintained the perfect volume to fall asleep to. When I woke the next morning it had stopped, and everything outside was damp. I determined a while back that my big toe problems of a few months ago were caused by too-small shoes, and as a result I have been forced to wear my old and rather decrepit pair. I prefer these old shoes, but I had stopped wearing them because there is a hole in the bottom of the left one that allows water or saliva to enter and saturate my sock. This is only a problem when it rains, or has just rained, which brings me back to the remnant moisture of two days ago. I unthinkingly wore my old shoes, and so my left sock was slightly wet all day.

I will now address questions that the above passage might have raised:
Q: Why don’t you buy new shoes?
A: My attempt at purchasing new shoes in South Korea was highly annoying and ultimately fruitless. The concept of “browsing” is one that eludes Korean shopkeepers, and thus every store I went into I ended up with an “assistant” awkwardly standing next to me and pointing at shoes. “Yes, I see the shoes,” I would say. Smiles and nods in response, followed by more pointing. So, I decided to wait until I get back to browse-friendly America to purchase new footwear. Next question…?
Q: Did you try to patch the hole in your left shoe?
A: Good question! I did, with packing tape, and although it has yet to be tested I have serious doubts as to its real-world effectiveness.
Q: Why are you wasting our time with this drivel? You still haven’t written about the DMZ tour, because you say you are “too unfocussed,” yet you apparently can summon up enough focus to post about a moistened left sock?
A: I take serious issue with your generalization of my post as being simply “about a moistened left sock,” and I demand an immediate retraction.
Q: I refuse to retract anything.
A: Then I refuse to answer your stupid and arrogant question. Next question…?
Q: How long are you planning on dragging this post on for?
A: Until all the evildoers have been snuffed out, and the world embraces freedom. Next question…?
Q: There are many who remain critical of you and your website. How are you going to work–you said you’re going to reach out to these people–how are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?
A: Continue to post to the Internet people.

EggIn other news, Lauren emailed me a photo of a hard-boiled egg this morning, and I’m not sure if I should be aroused or terrified. I’ll stick with smitten, for the time being. Very, very smitten. She indicated that she only eats the whites, and you know what they say about women who you meet in North Korean infiltration tunnels and who only eat the white part of eggs…? They say that you should go visit them as soon as possible.

(Before I sign off on this, I would like to point out the egg-reference unity of this post. With eggs it began, and with eggs it has finished… kinda.)