REPORT A PROBLEM
Headache. Migraine. Whatever you want to call it, I have it. Go away, go away, go away. Everything is red, or white, or maybe black. Blinding pain and lightning and I need for this to stop. Immediately. Stop. Curl up in a ball, pull the duvet in close, screw up my eyes, realise that screwing up my eyes only makes it worse, make the room as dark as possible, relax my face, stop clenching, relax relax relax. Please make it stop. Demons are pulling me in, or maybe that's my consciousness, but either way I guess I've done something wrong.
There's a new webcam perched atop my notebook computer. Its lens is staring at me, taunting me, saying
I will always be here watching you.
Whoever manufactured it decided to mold it into a sphere, perhaps because they thought it would be the most aesthetically pleasing shape. Instead it is disconcerting, facing me as a disembodied eyeball would, pupil and iris and all. A robotic eyeball, that is what this is. I'm sitting here wondering,
Is my every move being watched without me knowing it?
I would never have any idea. So I sit here, hoping I am still anonymous.
I can't connect to the internet for some unknown, mysterious reason. It's Saturday, which means that no repair people are around to help me, and even if they were, I wouldn't be able to talk to them because of the language barrier. I'll have to wait until Monday. On top of that, some guy thought it would be a great idea to flash me on my way to the grocery store tonight. I want to try to describe the feeling, but I am so livid right now on so many levels that I can't even concentrate enough to do that.
Back to work tomorrow. 33 hours of teaching every week, and that's not even counting preparation. That's enough to drive anyone crazy. Here's my plan: a run every morning, no matter how cold, if for no other reason than to get out of the building that has become my own personal hell over the past nine months. Leave Sihung every weekend, no matter how much I want to avoid 4 hours of subway time to Seoul and back. Try to get through these next three months, no matter how much I want to just quit and get the hell out.
Being with you was always like staring straight into the sun. Bright and solid and warm, yet dangerous. It left a burn in my memory long after we parted ways, one that will never truly heal. You looked into my eyes every time I wrapped myself around you, and it was like I could feel some semblance of a heaven that doesn't even exist growing bigger inside of me. Like you were giving me the gift of True Love, which is the best gift anyone can ever hope to give. As if you needed me to keep going. As if
If anything will get me through these next three months, it is routine. Get up at around seven. Stretch. Go for a walk / jog, nearly all the way to Okgu Park. Get back to the building 45 minutes or an hour later, eat a bowl of cereal and maybe some fruit or yogurt. Talk to the lovely boy about how wonderful life will be in February. Enjoy his general nerdiness. Take a shower. Make a sandwich for lunch. Run downstairs with two minutes to spare, start work at noon. Finish around 9. Watch any downloaded TV shows. Rinse and repeat.
I'll admit it I am not a fan of Korean food, for the most part. Most things are spicy, and my acid reflux disease doesn't find that comforting. It's not the kind of spicy that complements other flavours, either Indian spicy, or Mexican spicy it's just
. That's all. Spicy or sweet. The bread is sweet. Just a little bit sweet, with no other flavours to give it a twist. Mixing flavours? No, never heard of it. Even the meat is sweet. Why ruin perfectly delicious meat with sugar? Why?! I hate my life. I just want some sour dough.
This is what it's like to wake up every morning and go for a jog before teaching (also known as 'having the energy sucked out of you') for eight hours every day: while you're taking a shower, you try hard not to collapse. The steam makes you sleepy. Everything makes you sleepy. Life makes you sleepy. You want to go back to bed at every given opportunity. You barely have the energy to talk to your significant other, muchless do things like grocery shopping or cooking meals. You get upstairs after work and just want to sleep. That is it.
It's hard to make myself do anything outside of the routine anymore. I ought to get out of this city more often. It takes two hours to get into Seoul, so if I want to get there at a decent hour, I've got to leave pretty early. That gives me almost no time to talk to the boy, which is pretty much all I want to do anymore. I want to talk to him and watch him via webcam and think about how his arms feel like home. How I am going home in less than three months, now. Home.
Tomorrow morning I will meet up with two middle aged Korean men to climb a mountain in the middle of Seoul. It's not a real mountain, though they call it one. It's more of a hill. I'll put on my sneakers and $100 hiking vest (I didn't buy it) and head out at eight in the morning. Ready to leave Shihung and get some fresh air. I am looking forward to spending some time with Korean people, though I find myself pulling further away from the country with each passing day. Maybe they will be able to restore my faith.
Today was an interesting day. I won't go into details, but I will say the following: today included (amongst other things) a very long subway ride, a
long walk up lots of cement stairs in the middle of a beautiful hill, an even longer walk down, a man who understood everything I was saying but refused to speak any English, a delicious restaurant that felt like home, two shots of tequila and one buttery nipple, a near stranger spending about $70 on me, and a very disgruntled taxi driver who was not so nice to me. It was...interesting.
The boy showed me the first pictures of what is to be my bicycle when I get home. He's building it himself, buying all the pieces separately and putting them together with lots of care and love. It's the nicest thing anyone's ever done for me, especially considering exactly how much time and money he's putting into this (a lot). So I saw these pictures of this unfinished bike, and she is
! All blue and radiant and absolutely perfect. I don't think I could've asked for a better transportation device or boyfriend. Going home will be so incredibly happy.
Running feels like freedom and pain and health and love for the world all rolled into one. My muscles are burning, my lungs are ice crystals shooting through the rest of my body, and nothing else in the world feels this good. Exercising outside in the open air can become a kind of religion: you grow to rely on it, you need it to keep hope in your life. I can't sleep well after a few days of lethargy, as if my body is punishing me for not giving it the care it deserves. Push on, push on. It's love.
I just had a 45-minute telephone conversation with someone I barely know. He called out of the blue, and though I was surprised, it was very pleasant. I don't remember the last time something like that happened. It was so nice to just talk about nothing as if we'd known each other for years. Nice to talk to someone who lives in Korea, instead of calling people in America via Skype. This whole 'making friends' thing is really great. It's been too long, to be honest. I miss having people with whom I can talk. I miss that familiarity.
I found out today that an ex of mine had a drinking problem while we were together. I had no idea. Amazing, the things we don't know. Sometimes I take a swig of Baileys before going to work, because it helps loosen up my muscles and I really hate my job
much. At the moment, I'm drinking "wine" that tastes like a green apple Jolly Rancher. I was never a big drinker, but I can imagine myself disappearing into a bottle, letting the night wash over me and writing long pieces of prose about how somber life can be.
I spent most of today making a mix CD. It's refreshing to put a bunch of songs together and know that they are the perfect mixture; that when the receiver listens to them it will be like reading a personal letter. Each of these songs reminds me of him in some way, or in a lot of ways. Some of the songs seem to have been written specifically for the relationship we've had over the past two years. So that's what this CD is -- a two-year letter. I hope he loves it as much as I've loved his CDs.
I met Emily the first day of 6th grade. We sat next to each other in homeroom, and quickly became good friends. We'd hang out at each others' houses and draw crazy pictures and listen to Stabbing Westward together. After middle school, we drifted apart a bit, but we were always friends. I last saw her about a year ago, when I went out to eat with her and her boyfriend. Little Emily, who didn't get kissed until her third year of university. She's getting married soon. What's happening? I am getting old. Happy 25th birthday, Emily. You are awesome.
My sister is here! So nice to see her again. The excitement I felt upon seeing her walking toward me in the airport was ridiculous. We walked back and forth trying to get a normal cab at 11pm, and finally found one. We got in, told the driver our destination, and sat back as he spent 10 minutes wasting our money fiddling with his navigation unit. When we arrived, he demanded that I give him $15 more than the meter price. I started to take a picture of his license, and he finally gave me my change. Ah, taxi drivers.
In the past two and a half years, we have gone through heaven and hell together. We've gotten to the point now where we're looking at wedding rings, honeymoon locations and puffy white dresses in our spare time. My insides are all warm and happy right now. It snowed last night for the first time this year, and all I could think about was how I wanted you to be here and share it with me. To wrap your arms around me from behind and kiss me on the neck. To pick me up and twirl me. To love me.
I don't know what to say anymore. Between working full time and trying to make my sister's stay less boring, I am exhausted. Completely and utterly exhausted. I've been drinking soda because I need some way to stay awake. I'm trying my best to sleep more than six hours a night. It's great to have her here, though, especially since I know I won't be able to see her for a while after I get back home. She's moved far away from the upper midwest, and after such a short time of being there, she's already saying she's from California.
There's something really special about sitting in a private room with some friends and singing karaoke songs together. It's like people's walls just drop down (especially if there is alcohol involved) and they open up in completely awesome ways. There's a painting of a naked lady on the wall, and someone's up at the front of the room dancing around like crazy while singing along with some '80s song that makes them think fondly of their childhood. Everyone else is up and dancing, too, and there's some weird connection going on that just feels like the best kind of bonding.
I am in a love motel right now. My sister's flipping through channels on the huge television, and she's taken one of the condoms to bring back to America with her. There's a mirror over the bathtub, which also has water jets in it. There are crazy lights everywhere, and weird cartoon lions all over the wall. To be completely honest, it doesn't get a whole lot better than this. We even have a couple of robes. All of this for only $55! Awesome. For that much in America, all you can find is an STD-infested matress and cockroaches.
We've officially been together for a month now, if we're counting in terms of American days. A month! I know it's not a long time, but this is exciting for me. I don't really do anniversaries, but I've been wanting this for so long that a month seems like a cause for serious celebration. Instead you are working and I'm about to go to sleep without you, thousands of miles away. Just a little more than two more months, though, and I'll be home with you, nuzzling into your chest every night and waking up next to you every morning.
My sister's on an airplane right now, heading back to where I want to be (though she'd rather still be here). I'll be going to bed soon, and my boy will be waking up. Everything is backwards, upside-down, inside-out. I'm ready to move on from this stage in my life. I'm jogging every day and writing every day and doing my weekly thing, but I feel totally numb toward it all. I'm living in the future. I daydream during every waking moment. All I want is the upper midwest and a beautiful apartment to stay in with you.
I am having a severe case of the Mondays. I woke up at 9:00 and was already exhausted. That is not a good way to wake up, let me tell you. The day was cloudy and dark, so it didn't even feel like daytime yet. After finding out that I might have to pay $500 just to get home in February
I'd have to pay for the ticket myself only to be reimbursed later, I was not all that happy. That means I'm out a lot of money on transaction fees, which is completely unacceptable. This isn't my responsibility.
I bought my plane ticket home! I'm not even going to think about all of the annoying things I had to go through to get it, because I'm going home! Home! Officially! February 6th! Watch out, America, I will be all up in you! Upper midwest, here I come! I am going to revel in your sausages and potatoes and generally unhealthy food; your pizza with normal toppings. Oh god, Chicago style pizza. What could be better in the world, I ask you? What? Oh, that's right, nothing. Nothing could be better. Except maybe my boy's arms. Those could.
When I see you again, I'm going to jump on you. You'll twirl me around, and I'll wrap my legs around your waist and kiss you like I don't need anything else in the world. I'll be weary from traveling so much, but seeing your smile again will wake me up and make me know that everything in this world is worth it if I can just look into your eyes every morning. This is getting more and more real every day. I can actually feel it coming. I see you in my night dreams and daydreams. We're almost there.
I want us to watch each other get old. I'm going to be there for you whenever you need me. We'll keep each other warm at night, and feed each other soup when we're sick. I want us to be so comfortable with each other that we have every quirk and curve memorized. To dream about each other even as we're laying on the same bed. To be able to do nothing together. Watching movies and sewing and being creative, silently together. I want you to give me that look of yours every day when you walk through the door.
Another week done, and I've got less than ten weeks left here. Two more weeks of classes, one week of finals and grading, one week of holidays (yay!), and five weeks of the winter intensive program. Bring it on! I'm ready.
Things I need to do tomorrow:
start writing the final exams
make two quizzes
correct old quizzes
prepare for this week's lessons
think about the winter program
cook food for the week
go shopping for a Secret Santa gift
&c. and on and on
Should be tons of fun! I'll just think about the future.
Today was refreshing. I met lots of new people, and was reunited with someone I haven't seen since February. It was great! Hanging out with fresh new people is always a good idea when life starts to feel stale. Now I've got more friends in Seoul to turn to when life is tough and I need to get out, and I don't feel so bad about humanity anymore, either. Sometimes I just need to get out of here and take some fresh air into my lungs and
. Life is good. I'm going to try my best to remember that.
The Tip Jar