Wednesday, March 16, 2005

the mountain and some good news

I'm back from an old ritual in which I haven't participated for months: the long walk from Beot'igogae Station (Line 6) to the top of Namsan. It's a walk I've done on many occasions with my buddy Jang-woong (occasionally with his wife in tow), but today I decided to do it alone.

Namsan's major facilities, including Seoul Tower itself, are undergoing all sorts of renovation and construction. The tower itself wasn't well-lit this evening, but the revolving restaurant (blech-- not worth it) was in operation. Old and young Japanese tourists unloaded from buses at the mountaintop, took lots of pictures of each other, and pissed off a Korean shopkeeper: he shouted "Get down from there!" at a knot of 20-somethings who'd stolen behind a construction barrier for some laughs.

The quietest parts of the walk were along the road leading up to the summit, the silence occasionally punctuated by a random bus or car. As I walked uphill, I encountered almost no pedestrians, and the ones I did meet were on their way down.

I stayed on the summit only a few minutes-- long enough to buy a PowerAde and sip it into oblivion. On the way down, I encountered a bunch of bikers struggling upward. Some were Korean; others were white. All were Spandexed. I also crossed paths with some sort of Korean runner's club; the slope was steep enough to keep most of them pretty quiet, but the ones in the lead were having some sort of conversation. I had to admire them; my Dad's a runner, and I've always respected the sport. Running is often like meditation: a good way to learn that mind and body are not-two.

Tonight I took the easy way up Namsan-- the road. There's a much harder way: the stairs. If you're in good shape, maybe the prospect of stairs won't make you shudder, but Jang-woong and I have done the Namsan stairs several times before, and even Jang-woong, who's almost fit as a soldier fresh out of Basic, gets a bit winded by the time we reach the top. In all my time in Korea, I've done the stairs route only once without ever stopping to catch my breath. That was a proud day, not soon to be repeated.

And now, over at the Korea University PC-bahng, I open my email to some good news: one of my old private tutorees is eager to resume lessons, despite almost a year of separation. I've blogged about the little guy before; he's always a treat to teach.

So I got dat goin' for me. Which is nice.

Here's hoping some of my other tutorees come back soon. And perhaps I'll get some new ones as well.

The prime gig I'd like to get back: an W80,000/hour session with a corporate head. Twice weekly, 90 minutes a pop. Yes, I know some of you say that W80,000/hour is cheap for such folks... it's true. But beggars can't be choosers, and I'm not about to say no to hourly pay that's almost comparable to what some psychotherapists charge. One difference: I'll come to his office in a suit this time, not in my untucked shirt and unironed pants. I think that bothered him last time. Heh.

So-- we can't stay down in the dumps forever, can we? Welcome to the next phase of my life.


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