Tuesday, December 27, 2005

staring homeward

Seoul beckons. The new term starts up on January 2, and I'm looking forward to getting back to work, back into a routine. I leave northern Virginia on the 28th and arrive in Korea the evening of the 29th. That gives me three days to do all the lesson planning I haven't done while here. It's been great to be back, but it's time to get working again. Too much indolence just makes me even softer around the middle.

Then again... it's not as though I've been all that free while here. Among my pleasant obligations (if "obligations" is indeed the right word): visiting with friends whom I haven't seen in a long time. Among my less pleasant obligations: emceeing the Christmas party, doing that huge batch of test rating, and meeting my mother's Korean friends. The Christmas party preparations occupied most of my first week back in the States. To add insult to injury, the Korean society won't be refunding even part of my plane ticket (months ago I'd told my mother, the society president, that one of the conditions of my coming back to the States was that her society should pay at least part of my plane ticket if they expected me to be the Christmas party emcee; she apparently never even broached the matter with her officers, instead paying for my ticket home herself). The test rating took me about 13 hours, with almost no break. Meeting Mom's Korean friends cost me an afternoon.

I did manage to enjoy a walk around the neighborhood yesterday (Christmas) evening with my parents; we stopped by the house of some old friends and enjoyed a chat before continuing the walk. Christmas was a rainy affair, but the lack of ice was something of a boon, and the old neighborhood looked good in the rain.

So now I have to focus on my departure. I've got books to collect and ship to Korea, and baggage to prepare. I've got some financial shit to get in order, and then, we hope, I'll be able to depart without any snow delays or airplane mechanical problems. I suffered a delay when going from New York to DC in early December, and another delay when coming back from Florida to DC just last week. Both times, the reasons were mechanical, which is annoying as hell. I understand that the delays are for our own safety, but it's a lot safer to have problem-free aircraft and no delays, ja?

Among my biggest regrets while here in the States: not having seen my brother David that often (he's gotta work, and he's often tired from his two jobs), and having missed my brother Sean, who couldn't make it down to DC from Toronto because of a gig (Sean's a professional cellist). I also didn't have the chance to chop wood at my buddy Mike's house, and I guarantee you that there's no place to do such a thing in Seoul.

Sean, who moved to Toronto earlier this year, told me he's been confronted with Canadian "attitude problems" about America... I've been lucky, I suppose, to have met Canadians who may be critical of my country, but who don't rave unreasoningly. On the contrary, my Canadian friends have been reasonable, logical, and civil-- not the way Canadians are often portrayed in the States these days. The mutant Canucks bothering my brother should all go read Skippy's blog.

That's it for the moment. I might post one or two more entries before leaving (I have a 6AM flight out to New York on Wednesday). More and better blogging upon my return.


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