Sunday, March 25, 2007

So I started this new job yesterday. . .

After stomping around jongno and myeongdong to find a pc room where you're actually allowed to log onto blogger (some places won't let me log on -- nature of their networks or something, I guess), I've finally found a spot, and the time, to fill you in, my loved ones.

(Yes, I do still love you all. You've been on my mind. Really.)

Well, for the first time, I don't have any cute kid stories. Instead, I have cool grown-up stories.

I'm teaching at a school right in the middle of downtown Seoul, near the city hall where all the insane soccer-game-watched-by-a-million-people kind of stuff happened during the world cup (you can check my post about the world cup: I added some pictures.)

This is really great for me, because I'm realizing that one of my great pleasures in life is eating out in restaurants. Discovering the best chicken soup, or the best california roll, in my neighbourhood makes me really happy, and gives me something to share next time a friend comes by. So, I've been systematically trying new restaurants all month at lunch time (my split shift means dinner is usually something light), to find the best of certain dishes, and just to find more good eats.

To get my visa, I travelled to Osaka.

I'll do a separate post on Osaka when I have another free three hours, except to say it was fantastic: miles better than last time I went there.

But here's the great thing.

Yes, I love my area -- I live a block over from an "old korea" souvenir market, a block the other way from a quiet shrine that's also one of three "UNESCO World Culture Sites" (that's an interesting thing to read up on, world culture sites -- check which famous places made it and which didn't -- my favorite world culture site was "head smashed in buffalo jump" in Alberta. I'm also a block from a restaurant that serves one of the most delicious foods I've ever eaten, right next to two movie theaters, all of which can be accessed through a network of winding little back alleys in the old traditional Korean style, with cobblestones and elaborate doors and just enough width to push a cart. I do need to stock my fridge yet, and I also need to find a clothing repair shop to fix two pairs of pants I own, but I still love my area.

However, the thing that's made me most happy is this:

a 530am wakeup call. Yes, that sounds counterintuitive, but here's how it works:

To get to work before 7am (and pick up a McDonalds coffee on the way), I have to set my alarm at 530 -- time to wake up, shower, and dress. Then, I start walking at 630, with Sonober, my cool coworker.

To wake up at 530am with enough sleep to make it through the day, one must go to bed early. I usually shoot for 1030 or 1100, with 1130 as my MUST HAVE LIGHTS OUT BY cutoff. The things I used to do between eleven and one AM (my previous lights out cutoff) were almost never productive: drinking a beer with Anthony (as nice as he is) never got me closer to achieving my life goals. Nor did chatting on MSN, visiting humour websites, or watching movies. These days, because of my split shift (yay teaching adults!), most of my free time is between 1pm and 7pm, which are much more productive hours than 11-1. I think I wrote about a hundred pages in the last month, in different short stories, poems, and a few plays. I've finally finished a notebook I was working on for more than a year. This is immensely satisfying, and as I accomplish more writing, I WANT to write more. This, unlike MSN and the rest, is getting me closer to my life goals, and so, between living in a really fun neighbourhood, eating great food, and writing every day, I'm kicking butt!

I hope all of you have had equally satisfying months!

Sorry it's been so long since I posted, but once I have internet in my house I'll be more consistent again.

Love you all!

Next time: Osaka!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Tomorrow I start my new job.

I'll go to a new place called Jonggak, which is right in the beating heart of downtown Seoul. This is exciting to me. I'm within walking distance from Seoul's most important cultural landmarks: the national theatre, the palaces, the President's house (called the blue house), the park where the protests against Japanese occupation began, and the stream that symbolizes Seoul's effort to make beauty an important part of city life. I'll teach adults now, and I'm looking forward to that. I have my books and my schedule, I got my new passport (my old one was expiring) and now its time to move my things.

Also: I fleshed out the "holy cow my student almost died" post. You can find out how, and why he didn't.

More later!