Sunday, January 4, 2009

I'm Back!

If dust could accumulate in cyberspace, a thick layer would cover the ‘ole blog, here. I’ve been hounded by various parties for weeks to throw something new onto the page, but have suffered from an utter lack of inspiration. Scary place for a writer, you know, and sometimes (always), instead of sitting down and typing away at something potentially mediocre and completely lacking in entertainment, it’s easier to say, “Oh, I’ll write tomorrow, once those creative synapses spark up a bit.”

Well, they lie dormant, still, but here’s an attempt to wake them up. Random thoughts, mostly, and mumblings, a few grumblings:

I’ve been here for almost four and a half months, and I really cannot believe that. It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was filling in family and friends on my expatriate plans, being met with stares of bewilderment, concern-laden inquiries, and the occasional jeerish, “You know what it’s like there, right?” from those who wouldn’t have been able to point SK out on a map. No, no—I didn’t know what it would be like here. Didn’t want to, fully, wholly, of course, because learning as I go has all been part of the adventure.

I won’t lie and say this is the best decision I’ve ever made, and that life here is full of shimmering rainbows and frolicking ponies, but it has been rather fabulous at times. The worst of it hovered right around Christmas, a season that—as Mom, Dad and Jen can attest to—incites in my behavior some horrendous and—I’ll venture to claim—mostly unintentional Ms. Hyde moments. Just hard being away from home for the first time, you know, during that time of year, especially when you’ve family like I have. Fortunately for me, there are lovely people here who buffered those blood-family absences, like AngĂ©le and Pierre, who threw an amazing Xmas Eve soiree, and Johnny and Laurel, who hosted on Christmas Day, and of course Anthony, who on Christmas morning made me tater-filled breakfast burritos with real cheese. And, of course, there was the brimming box of gifts sent from back home, which I send out many thanks for. Made it seem a lot more like Christmas, although I wish I could have been with everybody while opening them.

The hardest part about being here? Balancing my time. Fitting everything in. Because there’s no dearth of things to do, or people to meet up with, and it’s simply hard to incorporate all of these new things into life while also working almost nine hours a day, and fighting the guilt of both my recent inadequate writing (zero) and running (sporadic) output. Working on it, though.

Life is mostly very good here, though. I enjoy the teaching, although am still suffering a bit of anxiety over feeling that I’m not that great at it, some days. My disciplinarian skills are developing, but I think I’ll always prefer being the fun teacher to the mean, and allow myself to be walked all over occasionally. We did recently switch schedules, which changed our class lineup slightly, and I somehow was rid of each of the classes that I really dreaded going to. I lost a couple good ones, in the process, but it looks as if I’ve gained a few good ones, too. The week before the switch, I told one of my favorites that I wouldn’t be their teacher anymore, and one little boy erupted into tears, which could have been induced by anything, I know, but I like to think it’s because he liked having me as a teacher.

Food has been hard. Despite having taken the Korean language class, I still can’t read the labels, and so have no idea what proportion of organic and mineral compounds I regularly ingest. I’ve developed an addiction for mandu, a type of Asian dumpling that can be filled with anything from beef to noodles to kimchi. I’d kill for an oven. And real cottage cheese. And whole wheat bread, or deli meat, or affordable frozen vegetables. But, we all learn to cope.

What else? The weather has been frigidly arid, and dry skin runs rampant. I have three guitars, now. Went to a wedding last weekend, which wasn’t too incredibly unusual, besides the irreverent hum created by the horde of people chatting at the back of the wedding hall during the ceremony. My bag of Christmas cards lay labeled yet unstamped on the heated floor of my apartment.

I suppose this entry might sound a bit depressing, but really, what it lacks is focus and direction. I’m in desperate need of topics, so please, if there’s anything you think I need to report on, let me know!