Back to life.

It seems life had not gone too far while I was ignoring it.

Yesterday I woke up to a beautiful morning. The sunshine and november temperatures here (currently hovering around 7 degrees) make it difficult to miss Canadian winter, though I am looking forward to skiing when it snows. There's a new coffee shop near ECC, run by the very warm Ms. Jeong. Judging by her English, I'd bet she's lived in north America at some point. She makes a damn good cappucino and has an antique foot-pedal-powered little organ in the shop, which she let me play a little ditty on while I was waiting for my coffee. In case my use of the word "ditty" didn't make the mood of the morning clear, I'll go ahead and say that I was floating around with a goofy grin and on the verge of tears thanks to sunlight and Sufjan Stevens. This morning I again went down to the coffeeshop to play more ditties and study up on some Korean, a long-neglected task that I've found new motivation for in a pretty girl from Seoul. All in all, it's been a refreshing couple of days, and I'm looking forward to the next couple being as fresh.


an open letter...

Well hello there.

I have been away, I know. Aside from the odd literary fart (brought on by articulatory constipation momentarily giving way to emotional and psychological diarrhea), I have been remiss indeed. And like the sexual-nomenclature-ignoring little dutch boy, I may be on the verge of being smacked by someone big and mean. In this case, the dyke in question is my mind, and the percolations therein are demanding to be heard.

While I have been idle, I have not been idling, per se. In fact, my life has lately resembled an engine running very, very hot, in neutral. With Rs PM looking to go the way of the New York debt clock, it’s time to put things in gear. I don’t know where they got the extra zeros in New York, but currently the sign-changers in my head may be looking at capital Os with worried visions of an ugly, mismatched string of cyphers. I owe myself a lot. A lot of reading, and writing, and playing. My body is practically humming with reckless energy, determined to shoot my organs out my orifices. So before I go nose through nostril, adam’s apple through ear, or appendix through ass, it’s time to do something. This feeling is, of course, like everything, a reaction to something, although “equal and opposite” remains to be seen. While I’ve been stewing in my own juices, I’ve lost a lot of ideas to distraction and fear. And lethargy, which has been eating the previous two abstract nouns as big, fatty lunch for many many days. But, though one never knows when rock-bottom’s trap door is going to swing open, I’m pretty pumped and primed for production. After an excellent, if hedonistic, weekend, and through getting to know someone new and different, I find myself questioning a lot about what is important to me. And I’m realizing that what’s important to me has to be what is fun. What keeps my attention? And not the kind of attention being kept when I’m passively sponging up another evening of movie or tv-watching, that attention is far, far too easily held. But underneath that, through a murky soup of insecurity, neurosis, and shallow-breathing, in the place where you find, in the words of Yoda “Only what you take with you.” there’s another kind of attention. A full on, focussed attention where imagination and intellect do the tango to that old duet by Tom Waits and everybody else in the world. So I’ve got plans, loads of them, and it’s time to make some happen. I won’t share them all with you just now, I’ve got family and friends to correspond with, another joy I have been sabotaging myself out of for a while. Besides, it’s better if some things remain mysterious, in fact, it’s better if all things retain some mystery. See you soon.



I'm an actor. AND i want to be a DJ, and an MC, and maybe write an album of songs on acoustic guitar, and write plays, and direct plays, and make money, and travel, and meet more people who blow my mind, and win poker games, and have trysts with women in strange countries, and remix amazing metal songs, and create theatre based around great bands, and create music based on great theatre, and fall in love again, a bunch of times, and find a partner for life, and live in a mansion, and then on the street, or live on the street, and then in a mansion, and pay my student loans, and start a theatre company, and learn from THE MASTERS, and learn kung fu, or capoeira, or some obscure martial art from slovenia, and climb every rock that's ever rocked, and rock every sock that's ever socked, and have some of the friends I have now for the rest of my life, and watch everything and everyone, forever. that's all.


Cock Night

Had cock night tonight, this being the name we've lovingly given to our weekly "guys night out". We went to our usual manly haunt, this wooden place on the main drag near our apartments that serves decent chicken and wicked duck. Decent lighting, benches that look like pieces of tree, accommodating staff, and a centrally located canopy-sculpture that looks like a giant mushroom are among the winning points of this fine establishment. ("fine establishment" being a euphemism for "I don't know the name of the place") After food, we headed to this place right beside our apartment complex that we lovingly refer to as "Min-gyun's". It's a quirky looking wooden place, with a screened in upstairs porch, and an outdoor eating area with a campfire, dripping in ambiance. Apparently it was once owned by a man named Min-gyun, who then left it to his friend Joon, and is now owned and has been renovated by a new owner, whose name we don't know. It was nice to get out of the house, as my broken collarbone has kept me inside the last couple of nights, save for a walk I took last night with Jason to the local college campus, the architecture of which makes me feel like I've wandered a few thousand miles east. We drank beer and did Madlibs, Jason was sent a book of them by some friends back home. It was a good time and we talked a little about when we are all respectively leaving. This has a fair amount of importance, mainly because the three of us are the only guys really left who hang out and speak freely together. Jason swims home in December, Robert's contract is up in June, and mine next May or June. Robert joked about Jason re-signing for another year, which is hopeless, Jason kinda hates his job. I too am thinking of moving on after the year. With the won doing so poorly and the dollar so well, the money here is not as good as it was when I signed on. There are a few places where I could make a lot more money teaching english, a couple of arab countries and spain being the two most likely at this point. Talking about this, I realized how much I'm going to miss Robert if I go and he stays. He's working on a master's now with his better half and they've got a pretty nice set up, owing to their gorgeous new apartment and gorgeous old Sokcho. This post is now going to end as abruptly as most of them: I'm tired, going to bed.


Fuck fuck fuck fuck Motherfucker fuck fuck!

Awoke to the whining drone of a mosquito buzzing toward and away from my ear. Reached to smack it onto my left shoulder, forgetting both my broken collarbone and the figure eight sling I'm in that guarantees any large movement of my shoulders to send shooting pains through where the bone is broken. Slapping and scratching at mosquitoes (some real, some imagined) in the dark, I feel my whole body with nerves and itch from being dirty, uncomfortable, and relatively helpless. The first thing out of my mouth, echoing in my empty apartment, was the title of this post. Followed by an absurdly serious "alright motherfuckers..." Who are these "motherfuckers"? We'll probahly never know. Fighting better judgment and doctor's orders with animal panic, I removed my sling and the damp, chafing shirt it held to me. I turned on the light and squinted around for my glasses. Naked, I stood poised on my bed, listening for the high-pitched whine of one of satan's little bloodsuckers. I have done thorough, scientific, wikipedia-based research on these little bastards and have come to the conclusion that, scientifically speaking, they have been sent from hell. I killed three of them tonight, one of which wasalready full of my (?) blood. With mosquitoes and itch on the brain, and since i've already taken the sling off, i've decided to take a hot shower. I am so tired and angry right now I could punch someone in my sleep.


Alone but no longer lonely.

I had a wonderful, revelatory day today.
I just got home from Jangsudae, the first place I ever climbed outside, about an hour north of here. The climbing was great today, did some of the most difficult lead-climbing I've done which was awesome and makes me feel accomplished. Also climbed some familiar routes with greater amounts of ease than I imagined two months of experience could give me. That was great. The climbing, however, was only a small part of why I had an incredible day. We decided to take the scooters (henceforth referred to using the verb: to scoot) up to the crag. The past times, we've either been driven by a local friend, or taken the bus. Seeing the scenery through the window, we conceived the idea a while ago of scooting to Jangsudae, expecting that it would take a while, but that there must be the way. Last night I found a mapquest-style website for Gangwondo, and saw that the route was actually pretty straightforward. So early this morning, Robert strapped a milk crate to the back of my scooter, for extra carrying capacity, and armed with kim-bap from family mart, pears and ham (gifts from the boss for Chuseok), coffee, and a bleary eyed sense of optimism, we took off from Sokcho. The road there was unbelievable. After taking the number 7 highway down the coast, dodging the usual insane korean drivers, we came to number 44, which took us into the mountains. Once 44 enters the mountains, it's a winding maze of switchbacks, ups and downs, and blind corners made slightly safer by the presence of the ever-ubiquitous fish-eye mirrors to see what's coming around the corner. The whole route is surrounded by a dominating, gasp-inspiring mix of mountains, rivers, boulders, and trees. It was one of the most beautiful drives I have ever seen, and as my parents would proudly tell you, during trips to the Rockies as a child, I saw a few that were pretty incredible. We made good time to Jangsudae, about 1 1/2 hours. There's a sense of joy and danger riding a two-wheeled vehicle that can do 125 km/h. Not that I was going anywhere near that fast in the mountains. In fact, at a couple of points I discovered that if my scooter isn't at least at the top of first gear by the time it hits an incline, it won't accelerate going uphill. Luckily, the route is so inconsistent in its inclines and declines, I was never put-putting along at 30 for more than a couple minutes. We were met in Jangsudae by a couple we met climbing yesterday in Seorak-san, Mark and Jenny. They're damn cool people, very relaxed and they set up a slack-line (tightrope) on the ground, which I took a few comical stabs at. Grace even joined us later in the afternoon, reading and talking with Lisa on the grass. After climbing was finished, with the sun an hour from setting and us not wanting to risk the mountain roads in the dark, we headed back. The ride back was every bit as beautiful as the way there. Much more downhill coming back, the switchbacks and tight turns were a blast as we slowed down for them and sped up during the straightaways. The mountain air was cold now, and a mist moved over everything, shrouding the world twenty feet higher than us and above in a shifting mystery. Incredible. After getting back to Sokcho, when Robert and I got off the scooters, we were giddy with the satisfaction of a new and wicked adventure. Lisa laughed at us, but she definitely made multiple arm-waving, grinning gestures of freedom on the ride home. I had a shower, and now we're planning a late dinner with Mark and Jenny.

What was so incredible about the day, besides spending great time with people that I have come to love, was that for the first time in a very very long time, I had this overwhelming sense that absolutely nothing is missing in my life. I've been a mess lately, trying to improve upon myself and failing, irritated with myself and my job and generally taking a lot of things for granted. I've been lonely. A friend of mine wrote to me recently that loneliness is everywhere, but wants you to think somewhere else, it isn't. She also said that loneliness is wanting, and wanting can be replaced by joy. I felt that today. I don't feel lonely. I miss people, I have catches in my throat at the thought of seeing some people I miss, but I feel pretty complete in my incompleteness. I also had one of the most interesting contradictory feelings I've ever had today. Hanging out with these two couples, these people that have become as big a part of each other's lives as themselves, I thought of how great it would be to have that kind of partnership again. This feeling was accompanied by a real sense of independence and a sense that I don't "need" someone, I just want someone. And that when it's "meant to happen" it will, and that I'm actually okay until then, and can be happy as a clam without. I seem to remember a similar feeling just before I got together with the former most important woman in my life, so who knows what the future holds. All in all, damn good time and place to be alive. Happy Chuseok.


And that's when it hit me...

It's funny, I've been a bit reclusive and morose lately, but every once in a while something happens to wrench me out of a funk. I just got back from "French Club". Two of my fellow teachers are starting a master's program and have to become fluent in another language, they've chosen French, so here I am, in Korea, learning French. A little ironic. After French club adjourned, I played a few games of chess with Robert, who has been teaching me bits of what he knows about the game. We tried a new stew he had on the boil, and listened to a Beta Lounge set by Pantha du Prince, which is pretty wonderful. I had a great night. It served to remind me of how grateful I am for these two (Robert and his lady, Lisa) from Buffalo that have become such a big part of my life here. Friends are hard to come by in a foreign country, and I'm damn lucky to have such interesting, warm, fuckin' funny, and open-minded people to be around and soak up with my spongy brain bread.

I've also got a couple of ideas on the make for theatre pieces for the spring. The roof of the kindergarten below Robert and Lisa's apartment has this overhanging platform as access to a maintenance room or something and it would make a great stage. I've been less than focused and driven in any particular direction lately, so I've resigned myself to the fact that I'm not going to finish any show before winter comes. The nice thing about this is that it gives me until spring to prepare. betalounge.com, for those of you that don't know, is a free online archive of the betalounge sets going back to 1996. These sets are broadcast from hamburg, are five hours long apiece, and are awesome. I can personally reccommend the latest set from Assoto Sounds Connaiseurs. Check it out, registration is free, and gets you access to ridiculous amounts of great music. Click on the title of this post to take you there. They're not paying me anything. But maybe if their fandom in Toronto spikes after people read this post, they'll intuitively send me a check. I'll be checking the mailbox for weeks now.

Not sure what to do about Christmas. Thailand, Japan, Russia, all possibilities. More on this later.


and more climbing...

This weekend, Paula, a hip lady from Seoul who found my friend Robert (previously known as R, anonymity be damned.) on a korean climbing website, came over to Sokcho from Seoul and we did some SERIOUS climbing. We spent a good part of saturday doing multiple runs up the local artificial wall near the stadium, and I got to the top for the first time. It was the longest day I've spent climbing (until today) and I was pretty exhausted by the end. Afterwards, we went to a Korean teacher friend's house for a farewell dinner in honour of two long-time Sokcho residents who are moving on to a University job further south after a couple of months back home in B.C. and traveling around. We then moved on to a Karaoke bar (relatively rare in Korea, the private Norae Bang being more the bees knees here) to celebrate another teacher's birthday. Robert and I sang/growled Chop Suey by System of a Down and I headed home early-ish to get some sleep before today's big trek.

TODAY I CLIMBED ON REAL ROCK FOR THE FIRST TIME AND IT WAS FUCKIN' AWESOME!! I set my alarm for p.m. last night before bed and woke up to a phone call from Paula, who was waiting at our rendezvous point ten minutes from my place. Immediately after I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and before I could scratch myself twice, Robert showed up at my door, scooter helmet in hand and ready to go. So i threw some water in a bag and we headed off to the bus terminal. After some transportation issues, we got on our way on the bus from Sokcho into the mountains to Jangsudae, a sort of hiking/camping area. The hour and a half ride was beautiful, we had the bus almost to ourselves and had some good conversation while I breakfasted on kim bap (sort of like Korean sushi but with kimchi, radish, and veggies or egg or ham or tuna instead of raw fish). Paula's a neat lady, from montreal, korean by descent, and has lived in Seoul for five years writing for the tourism board. After we were dropped off on Jangsudae, we walked about twenty minutes to Ahgulbawi. (Ahgul means lip, bawi means rock) The wall is on the edge of a parking lot, surrounded by mountains and forest and a river and it's beautiful. There were fifteen routes up the crag (yeah, that's climbing lingo, booya.) and they were pretty wet except for one. The grade (i.e. difficulty) was a little high for Robert to comfortably lead-climb (lead climbing is the first trip up the rock wall, clipping in the rope as you go, to set up a top-rope, and is the most perilous part of the day) so Paula gave it a go. About twenty feet up, there was a particularly ugly part that we couldn't figure out how to get over, so we took a little detour and just before Paula had to head back to catch her bus to Seoul, she was able to get to the top and set up a rope on the top anchor. This was pretty miraculous, as I can't lead-climb or belay on lead climbing yet, and so if we didn't set up a top-rope, Robert and I would've likely been done climbing for the day. Once the top rope was set up, Robert and I set about climbing, and it was super exhilarating. Climbing on real rock is a lot more creative than on a climbing wall, you have to be a lot more flexible with different techniques and there's a fairly heavy element of problem-solving as you figure out how to use the natural holds. It's a lot easier to know where to put your limbs when the holds are pieces of coloured plastic sticking out of the wall. After some frustrating attempts to get past the twenty foot patch of angry, I was able to find a decent balance point and hold and I got up it!! I feel a little trite talking about how damn proud I was and the feeling of accomplishment at figuring it out, but goddamn I was proud and accomplished! After that point, the climb got reaaalllly interesting, with lots of moves I had never done, but I made it to the top and crowed like a certain green-tights-clad childhood hero of mine. Looking from 60 feet up out at the mountains, my limbs throbbing and slick with sweat, I had a what-the-shit moment of "Woah! I'm totally rock-climbing in South Korea!" It was great.

Throughout the day, we met a couple of Koreans. One came up, reeking of Soju, and started telling Robert how we should get past the difficult part, in Korean, and was annoying as hell. It seems that a lot of the climbers we meet are all self-professed experts and this really rubs me (and Robert) the wrong way, cuz we're there for the enjoyment of the climb and spending time outside, not to have a bunch of people "show us" (as in tell us) how we should do it and put extra pressure on a situation that can already be frustrating. We also met a dude who saw me looking around for water, and he took us to where the river comes out of the mountain and assured us the water was clean, "No town nearby. Very clean." We thanked him profusely and spent the rest of the day climbing up the wall, the hard part didn't get easier and Robert was getting pissed and exhausted in his attempts to get past it. But at the end of the day, both exhausted, he took one last run up the thing and made it, me hollering obscene and profane congratulations from below. We then walked back to where the bus comes and found that we'd have to wait an hour and a bit. So, we walked across the street to this rustic looking restaurant, where we had kalbi (ribs) and beer outside overlooking a gorgeous forest and another river. Exhausted and satisfied, we took the bus back to Sokcho and hopped on Robert's scooter for the ride to our apartments. Good day.




Today was the first sunny day of the rainy month we're a week into, glorious. I woke up early and met a friend (R) with a scooter and climbing gear for two to trek over to the soccer stadium, outside of which is a fifty-foot climbing wall, and I had my first climbing experience. I loved it. We pulled up to the sound of 4 irate German shepherds (and a couple of disinterested puppies more into each other than us) hollering at us from this little pen that one would probably call a puppy mill. Not to give the wrong impression, the dogs looked healthy enough, but the lack of a male canine presence and the dusky brown teats hanging from each of the adult dogs tipped me off that these were probably not pets. One of the mamas was pretty vicious when I came near, and was standing in front of her puppies. I tried to assure her that I wasn't here to take them, but conversing with dogs who speak English is difficult enough, and my korean is still quite limited.

After showing me the way all the gear works, R and I took turns scaling the wall.
The furthest I got was probably about 20 feet up, and that was exhausting. The most exhilarating moment of the morning was when I had finished my second climb and R let me "swing out" off the wall and take a look around before letting me down. I'm a little afraid of heights, so the feeling of giving all my weight to the rope and letting go sent my heart into my throat, and it took me another ten seconds or so to take my hands off the rope and hang by the harness. We talked a bit about the importance of unplugging from "the daily grind" and getting back to "you and the planet" whenever possible, and he told me some stories about climbing in Thailand, which I'm excited for. Oh, and I know I told some people I was going to Thailand for Christmas with J, another teacher at ECC, but I came back and he informed me that we never discussed such a thing and I completely made it up. I think I may have dreamed it. Actually, I think that there's a large group of people conspiring to make me go crazy, but I'm probably wrong. So we'll see, I may still go on my own.


Back in the thick of it...

Well, after a couple of weeks in the land of good beer, nachos, and racial diversity, I'm back in Korea. And exhausted. I got into Seoul Monday morning at 2am and spent a few hours sleeping at Gangnam bus station waiting for the 6:30 Sokcho bus. I shared a few cigarettes and laughs with the security guards and then hunkered down on the floor beside my luggage. I woke up at 5:30 to a Korean police officer poking me in the face, while smiling in a most welcoming manner. I had one of those great moments when you wake up and forget where you are, but this was the most startling one I ever had as I sat up, blurry eyed, to realize I was on the other side of the planet. I guess he woke me up because the bus station was now open, and they don't want people sleeping during business hours.

I was in Sokcho by around 11am, but had discussed with Justin (my supervisor) before I left Canada that I didn't want to work on Monday, so I had a day to recover. And a good thing, too.

Tuesday morning I came to my classroom to find a thirty to forty question evaluation sheet for each of my students, due on Friday. At 11 different classes of around 15 students each, that's a lot of evaluating. So I spent the last week rating each student from 1-7 on statements such as "Shows creativity and doesn't copy from existing material" and "Makes effort to pronounce new words" and the like. It was exhausting, it was mind-numbing, it was ridiculous. More ridiculous because looking at the names on each sheet, I only remembered who about half of them were. Korean names, to the ignorant Western eye, are quite difficult to attach a face to. For instance, in one class I have Eun-ji and Ji-Eun, sitting right beside each other. Dong-Hyeon, Hyeon-Dong, Kyeong-Mi, Min-Kyeong, you get the idea.

So that sucked, but it is really good to be back. It's funny, I was only here a month before I went back. But coming back, I definitely had that "good to be home" feeling. One of my plants is dead, but miraculously, my lavender survived. So, uh, then I played some football and watched porn and drank beer. Sorry, just needed to balance out that lavender sentence. (Miraculously?)
My students are almost all glad to have me back. The young ones especially, were really happy to see me. I told the class that I took pictures of that I showed the pictures to my mother, and they exploded. Literally, just exploded. Pieces of children everywhere. Alright, not quite, but it did take me a good couple of minutes to calm them down, apparently the idea of my mother seeing their picture was exciting. Who knew?

"The Sullen Class" as I've been calling them, is still sullen. A couple of them were glad to see me, but I asked Seung-eun (kind of a cross between Soong and Sung), a boy of about 13, if he was glad to have me back and this is how that went:

Joshua Teacher: Seung-eun?Seung-eun: (Sighs as if I'm interrupting him at something really important, he was examining the bottom of his shoe) Yes?
JT: Who was your teacher while I was away?
S-e: (blank stare)
JT: (slowly, with appropriate sign language) Whooo was yooouur teeeaaacher when IIIII was in Canada?
S-e: Oh, Oh, Uhhhhhhhhh Korean teacher.
JT: Did you like your Korean teacher?
S-e: (blank stare, goes back to working on his shoe)
JT: Seung-eun! (S.e. looks up) You had a Korean teacher while I was in Canada?
S-e: Yes!
JT: Good korean teacher?
S-e: Yes.
JT: Better than Joshua teacher?
S-e: What better?
JT: More good.
S-e: Oh. Yes.
JT: So you were happy with the Korean teacher?
S-e: Yes.
JT: And now you have Joshua teacher back, you are sad?
S-e: Yes.
JT: Awesome. Okay class, open your books to page...

So yeah, welcome back.

That's all for now, gonna go have a shower and enjoy the rainy day.


Kong ki, mimes and madness.

I stayed late at work today to clean my classroom. The curriculum changes here quite often, so the last guy left every shelf, drawer and cabinet in disarray with books, CDs and cassettes. I realized one of the main reasons I'm constantly running around like a decapitated chicken just before work is because I can never find anything. SO, I spent a good hour rearranging desks, drawers and such and now it's immaculate. The best thing to aspire from this custodial madness was that I found this little box of what look like miniature 10 sided dice, sans numbers. I took the box next door to a Korean teacher who shall remain nameless, but is super cool, and she showed me how to play this game called Kong ki. It's kind of like jacks without the ball. You throw one of the little dice into the air and use it's hang-time to pick up increasing numbers of the balls, then catch the one you threw. It's awesome, addictive, and after playing for a good hour or so, I'm learning korean numbers much faster. Good times, anyhoo, off to lala land, going to the beach early to do some Suzuki work and run.




Oh and I won't be plugging much stuff with this blog, BUT a friend of mine in a band called The Miclordz and Sauce Funky is in a battle of the bands for 10k and recording time. Like any indie band, they can definitely use the money and the EP, so if you've got 5 seconds, Click on the OH YEAH!! and go vote for them. Remember: Miclordz and Sauce Funky-All My People. You can vote once a day, and yesterday they were winning and are a few hundred votes down now. So do it!!!

And for my next trick....

Sometimes I feel like being an English teacher straddles a fairly fine line between cheap birthday clown/magician/pony ride, a stand-up comedian and an honest attempt at education. Point of fact, this evening I taught my first Yeong Je class (pronounced Young Jay, don't know if I've spelled it right.) All these fourteen-year-olds skulked into my classroom, usually occupied with an effervescent crew of 7-12 year olds. Because I haven't actually been told what to teach these "kids", I had prepared a couple of stories pulled from newspapers, as well as the usual introductory song and dance about where I'm from, classroom rules, etc. After reading one of the stories to them once, the vacant stares, half-asleep glazed over eyes, and restless fidgeting were a bit too much for me, and I felt like trying to have some fun. So I pulled out this sheet I got from another teacher, full of get-to-know-you questions like "what do you do when you get up in the morning?" and the like. We went through the questions together, and while they weren't exactly bursting with a need to share, I did get a few of them talking. It also helped (and this is the stand up comedian part) when I would suggest answers to the questions such as "The first thing I do when I get up in the morning is: eat kimchi? wash my face? brush my teeth? kick my mom? (sorry mom, for comic effect only) In the end, they left a little intrigued, a little wary and more than relieved to go home. It's important to remember that these kids have been at school from like 7am and most of them don't get home from classes until after 10 at night. I told my partner teacher that if they ever told a western kid he'd be in school that long, there'd be riots.

In other news, I had a little housewarming get together at my place on saturday. A modest gathering, thankfully, because my place isn't that big. But Ms. Shin, my partner teacher, showed up with her daughter Eun-ji (pronounced like a cross between Oon-jee and Un-jee). She's 17, and we talked about what she wants to do when she's out of high school (go to university in Seoul for business to be a CEO) and she inquired about how much partying high school kids in the west do. I tried to play it down, but she was visibly envious. Poor kids, they just wanna get their mojo going, but competition is FIERCE here for higher education, so schedules are strenuous.

I'm going to Chuncheon this weekend for a Mime festival, which sounds cool. Going to make it a spartan weekend, and try to lay off the sauce because finances aren't spectacular, although booze is so cheap, I'm focussing more on figuring out cheeeep accomodations which shouldn't be a problem. For my parents and relatives reading this, when I say finances aren't spectacular, I'M ALRIGHT!! I just got an advance from Mrs. Kim on next month's pay check, I just gotta make it last. Pretty stoked to see what kind of mime is miming at the mime-time. Anyhoo. Bye for now.

Early Morning Nostalgia.

Woke up at 6:30 after a pretty sleepless night. Had weird dreams, read a lot of Tom Robbins' "Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates" last night. He's quickly become my favourite author. Looking through new facebook pictures of University times this morning on a friend's profile. It strikes me how physical memory can be. Looking at those pictures, the singularity of that time, the act of remembering is pretty holisitic. The memories are less a sum of sight, sound, smell, and thought/emotion than an amalgamation of all these things, combined with a feeling of time having passed. It's like there's a certain geographical location in my head for those times, as if I could visit them again. Heh. It's funny to be in the middle of such wild transition from one culture and one routine and life, really, to another and be thinking about such far away times as then.

Tom Robbins fills me with sooo much fuel.

Off to go jog with the Korean-American phenomenon I live next to. Then, the day!