Archive for September, 2008


A Rather Unsuccessful Day

I will finish unpacking today.  I will, I will, I will.

I still have no working stove. This is getting old, folks. How hard is it to find a piece of gas-line tubing in a country where everyone has the same goddamn stove?!

I missed my meeting this afternoon, that will determine where I am going to continue teaching and where the new teachers will be assigned, as well as how the workshops will work now.  I really, really wanted to go, so I could have some say in how I am going to be used, but about 50 yards out of the school gate (the meeting was across town), the scootercycle ran out of gas.  I hadn’t been paying attention to the fuel gauge, because I had just been using the bike to toodle around town, rather than driving around to the different schools (longish distances), recently, and so I hadn’t really been thinking about it.  The nearest gas station is about 1/2-3/4 of a mile from where I was, and I had to push the goddamn bike the entire way.  Sure, it rolls, but it weighs quite a bit more than one would think, and it took me about 30-45 minutes to get it there.  By the time I did, I was totally sweaty and gross, and so went back to my place to take a shower.  By the time I got out of the shower and got re-dressed, it was already past 3, and the meeting had been at 2pm.  Even if it was still going on, it was not worth the effort to attend, at that point, for the last few minutes of it.  Other than the meeting, I had the afternoon off, so I just decided to make an executive decision and stick around the apartment for the remainder of the afternoon.

So, here I am.



This entire weekend has felt…off.

Last night all of us foreigners went out together to meet the two new ones, a married couple from St. Louis.  The entire night I barely spoke – an unusual and significant change from my usual loquaciousness.  I had a persistent feeling of being outside reality, like I was watching the whole evening from the point of view of an outsider, or even a movie camera.

Given my tendencies toward dissociation, this is not an unusual situation for me to find myself in.  What made this one different was the fact that it lasted for 4 or 5 hours.  Not only that, but this entire weekend has felt vaguely surreal, like I’m moving around in a not-quite-real world.  This afternoon I was alternating between unpacking, looking at job listings in Pennsylvania, and doing laundry.  I had Groundhog Day on in the background, and after awhile, I began to realize that what I was feeling was somewhat mirrored in my choice of viewing.  It’s like, without an external reference point, I feel like I’m just floating around.

I think part of it is that I had a pretty shitty middle of the week, and then things improved again by the end of the week, and then the week ended.  This sudden “stop”, combined with the complexity I had previously been experiencing, has caused me to go into a form of what I can only describe as “stasis”.

It’s very weird, and I hope it ends soon.


A Few Things

Driving around on the scooter has given me a wicked farmer’s tan. Between driving, my walks, and trips to the beach, I am probably more tan now than I have been since I was in middle school. I will try and get a photo soon, to show just how absurd it has gotten. It”s nice to be tan again, after being pretty pasty throughout college, but by the same token, the farmer’s tan is a bit…hickish.

I moved into my new place yesterday. It gave me not one, but two headaches, and set off my OCD something fierce. But, Kara, the new foreigner, came over in the evening and helped me rearrange furniture, and chatted with me while I unpacked. It was very much appreciated, and I felt much better afterwards. I like my new layout, and I have a desk (albeit tiny) at long last, for free. I think it will work. If it doesn’t, I will buy one in Mokpo, but I really don’t think I need a fancier one (the one I have is actually a student desk!) and I don’t really need to spend more money either. I have moved the dining table into the kitchen, as well, which frees up space and makes the main room feel less like an all-purpose room and more like a living room that just happens to also be my bedroom. I hope to finish unpacking today, and I will have internet again by this evening as well.

Now that I have a cell phone, I find that the Koreans call me ALL THE TIME. They are really tied to their phones, and they get a little irritated if I don’t answer. I’ve never been a very big phone person (except for a short period after graduating high school, and it somewhat annoys me, but it makes organizing so much easier. I’m still one of only two foreigners here with a cell phone, but once the other foreigner with a cell phone has her baby (sometime in the next two weeks), I think I will probably be a large source of organization.

I cried this afternoon, for the first time in awhile. I was really missing Marc, feeling like a nuisance, upset at difficulties with moving, and frustrated with the (temporary) return of hot weather. Plus, due to the hurricane, my parents are near impossible to contact, which is a bit stressing as well. Plus, with the news that large swaths of both Galveston and Bolivar were essentially washed away, I was a little depressed. I spent a huge portion of my childhood and teenage years on Galveston (most weekends in middle and high school, working on the Elissa), and so the thought of it becoming an even more economically depressed area than it already was is a bit disheartening.

At least I only have a two day work week this week. I’m at Seokgyo today, and will be at Jindo tomorrow. But, starting next week, I think I will be going to neither, in the future. Two new Americans are arriving tomorrow to work at Seokgyo and Jindo (they’re a couple), and so I will no longer be going to either of those schools, I think. Lee Myung Bak, the president, wants to have a foreign teacher in every school by 2010 or so, and he’s working on focusing on the small villages first. By the end of the week, Jindo will have 8 foreigners, which is pretty incredible. And I’m willing to bet that by the time I leave in May, there may be one or two more. I think that at that point we will be less of a “waygook posse” (as we jokingly call ourselves at times) and more of a “waygook mob”!


First Entry

My Chuseok holiday ends today, but I’m moving back into my apartment tomorrow, so I am apparently getting tomorrow off as well, it seems.  I am glad to finally be moving out of the mold pit, as I have realized it was having a seriously demoralizing effect on my mood.  Hopefully being back somewhere clean will help with that.

This will hopefully be my new standard “life” blog here on wordpress.  It will probably largely be a copy of my livejournal, but we shall see.

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