Now that I have been living in Korea for six and a half years it is interesting to look back over these neglected pages and see the ways in which my perspective has changed. One way to frame this is to think about how I perceived my journey when I came here and how I think about it now. Reflecting on this I theorize that there are two kinds of expats in Korea (at least in the teaching community): those who are “short-term” and those who are “Lifers.” I never intended to become the latter. I still want to think of myself as a “short-termer” and of my time in Korea as temporary, but somehow, as the years here have passed I have never really found the motivation to seek out someplace else to go. Like many people (mostly men) who come here, I have fallen in love with a Korean person. This has made finding an exit strategy immensely more complicated. Luckily, the Korean person I am dating is ok with the idea of immigrating elsewhere.
Things are going swimmingly here in Korea. The weather is cooling steadily and the trees are turning on the mountains here in Busan. It is lovely. A sense of optimism has returned following the elections. There is nothing more depressing than an election cycle and this one was worse than most. I was encouraged by the numbers in Florida and elsewhere that suggested the GOP has a real problem with Hispanics. It was also lovely to see Akin and Mourdock go down on their slimy barges of misogyny. This gives me hope. The Republican party will have to somehow separate itself from the vitriol of the ultra-con Teabaggery or risk political oblivion. In doing so the will shoot themselves in the foot with their biggest grassroots constituency and most well-heeled political donors. And I am going to make a prediction: in the next presidential election there will be a tangible third party threat from the right. A Pawlenty/Palin ticket.
It’s long since I have written but I once again take the thing out and dust it off. I recently returned home from a visit to the US, my second since coming to Korea, and my reaction to that journey seems to require some comment, if only as a way-point for my own personal reference. This blog, after all, has been if anything a record of dis-orientation, beginning with my first dizzying days in a foreign land, progressing through my gradual (and sometimes difficult) acclimatisation, and even, though only referred to by the absence of any post whatsoever, to a level of comfort where further comment seemed either completely unnecessary or merely trivial. I have always allowed myself the illusion that I am writing for myself alone which might excuse to some extent the content if not the tone of these missives.
I have been living and working here in Korea for two years now so I feel qualified to make some observations on the subject. Bear in mind reading this that I am anything but a dispassionate observer. I love this place, this culture, and these people. Also, admittedly, my experience of other cultures with which to compare it is rather limited. Nevertheless, I am a fan and I tend to beat the drum and the observation I have chosen to make is probably universal regardless.
First: I am not old. I thought I would be by this point, but I am not. I am in better shape physically now than I have been since my early twenties: my blood pressure at my last annual check-up was 120/80, my vision is still 20/20, and I have never yet had a cavity. I am fine.
I meant to write every day while I was here but last night when I logged on I found that both Facebook or Blogger are being blocked by the Chinese government. I actually found out they didn’t work on my own and then did a little research and found out why and then found out how to bypass the IP address (which I already knew how to do from getting baseball and “The Office” in Korea which isn’t supposed to work either but anyway) and by the time I figgert all of that out I was too tired to write.
The new poll by the Washington Post et al reveals a strikingly bipartisan rejection of the SCOTUS ruling in the Citizens United case. Eight of ten respondents oppose the ruling, and 65% "strongly oppose" it. And the response was not strongly differentiated by party loyalty. 85% of Democrats and 76% or Republicans opposed it. Age, sex, race, education, and income levels also made little difference in responses.
I have been listening to Bolser screaming at ‘puters for a long while, the brand name “Microsoft” often the only non-profane word in his colorful diatribes and I always jist shook me head but now having spent three weeks and given myself a nose-bleed trying to get this new netbook to allow Korean keyboard input only to have the $49 Microsoft chat forum tell me that my XP Home version not only does not include the default East Asian IME’s but is not upgradeable nor is the file download compatible with XP or Vista unless you have the Ultimate version in which case you don’t need it anyways…
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How did it come to this?
On my recent trip to the US many of my friends asked me why I haven’t been writing. I have been writing, just not here so much. I have been doing some pieces for a travel website and I have also been working on a couple of independent projects which may or may not be ready for public viewing at some point. But the blog, I think, has fallen victim to a kind of feeling-at-home-sickness, a complete loss of the conviction that my experiences here are any longer remarkable, literally, either to myself or for others.