My coworker A is going back to the States now that he's gotten his Master's degree in education. He's been looking to stretch his wings in a different direction, and I don't think he sees himself as having much of a future in publishing. He's talked for a long time about getting back into the classroom; my understanding is that he'd like to get into teaching middle-school and high-school kids. I wish him good luck, because that's not a career I'd enjoy.*
My boss really liked A, and so did I; he was a very good coworker—easy to get along with and super-competent when it came to computer/tech-related matters. We're going to be hurting without him here. Very likely, my boss will go through a period of mourning; in theory, he's supposed to be hiring a replacement for A, but I suspect I'm going to be the lone prole in the office for the next little while. Weeks might just stretch into months before we find someone suitable—someone with A's skill set, but who is not merely a clone of A.
Today was A's last day. I'll be seeing him tomorrow because I've decided to buy his TV and his blender off him; he's selling a large-ish, perfectly healthy HDTV for only W150,000, and the blender is being sold at almost no cost at all. Today, I cooked a meal for the three of us—my usual fettuccine faux-Fredo. We sat down at the table inside our cramped corner office and stuffed ourselves. I had made a huge amount of pasta, and A served himself at least twice before declaring himself full. He also proclaimed my meal "better than 95% of the Italian food I've eaten in Korea," which may be setting the comparative bar a little low. Still, it was a kind compliment. My boss, meanwhile, gorged himself and then napped a bit.
A and I had our political differences: he's a confirmed New England liberal from New Hampshire, whereas I'm much farther to the right. But our discussions remained civil, and we always sought some sort of common ground. Going out to the local Subway sandwich shop became something of a lunchtime ritual for us; I'll miss our talks (well, it was mostly A who talked: he's a young, chatty 29-year-old nerd).
As much as I'll miss our lunches, though, I wish A well as he heads back to the States to an uncertain future. He's got his M.A., but he still needs to obtain some sort of teacher certification before he can snag a steady job. Not that he's worried: he's leaving Korea with a mountain of cash that he saved up while working at the Golden Goose (he bailed me out twice with informal personal loans many moons ago, and I'm thankful). In 2019, once all my debts are paid, I'll finally be joining him in the Kingdom of the Cash Piles.
So I wish A happy trails. Visit A's website (and learn his real name) here.
*During my time at YB in Centreville, Virginia, I taught kids ranging in age from grade school through high school, and that was mostly fine, with only half a handful of exceptions. But going back to a classroom with twenty to thirty such students in it? No, thanks. And no way.