I came to Seoul to see some friends, but I'm also in town for a job interview. I still have to be a bit circumspect in how I describe all this, because the interview was with a large think tank not far from the Kwanghwamun sector, and I don't want them Googling me. Yet. Let's call the think tank "Metatron" for convenience's sake. The position I interviewed for, at Metatron, is essentially a combination of middle management and editing: I'd be cleaning up academic prose and managing three writers/editors. As described to me by my interviewers (and potential bosses), the job is high-demand, high-pressure, and deadline-oriented. That's a bit intimidating for someone who likes to live life in a slow, placid, bon vivant sort of way.
Aside from the scariness, the job sounds exciting, although I question whether I'm really a good fit for it. I can't say that I have much management experience (I was a teacher coordinator for a brief time while at Sookmyung Women's University), and I don't speak the language of foreign policy and diplomacy—necessary ingredients for a competent editor at a foreign-policy and peace-studies think tank.
I had first heard about this position from a friend, who wrote about his own interview at Metatron here. (You can see the real name of the organization at his blog.*) Humble as he is, my friend felt he wasn't right for the position because, as he put it, he's not a "people person," which would make a management role difficult for him. I had to smile, though, because he wrote, in that blog post, that he couldn't think of anyone else with his skill set, but he did eventually contact me privately about the position.
After Metatron—which required a taxi driver with GPS to find, given its tucked-away location—I met my buddy Charles for dinner in Itaewon. Charles was tired, having come all the way from Seoul National University to meet me. We decided to go Bulgarian, which meant my second trip to Zelen (obliquely mentioned here). I ordered a risotto-stuffed squid with green salad; Charles had a pork dish with a healthy layer of fromage gratiné on top. The squid was incredible—startlingly delicious. Charles gave me a sampling of his pork (don't take that the wrong way); that was also quite good. Zelen sits atop a set of stairs, which were a bit harder for me to navigate in my now-crippled state, but I was high on meds (my ass injection still seems to be having an effect, and it's working in concert with my prescription meds), so it was all good.
Coda: tonight, I meet my buddy Tom, who is currently out golfing, the fucker:
We'll be eating galmaegi-sal, which translates literally as "seagull flesh," but which in truth refers to hearty chunks of grilled pork. Veggies are normally served on the side, and after all that grilling, everyone ends up smelling like the dark recesses of Bobby Flay's soul. Pork is popular; Koreans have a special affinity for the pig, which may explain the relative dearth of Jews and Muslims in this country.
*As you see, I'm not making much effort to cover my online tracks. I'm interested only in deterring cursory Googling.