Old Patterns, New Patterns

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I do not want to fall back into old patterns.

But, it is so easy to do so.

Today, Sunday, was dreary in Busan, South Korea. I woke up on a burning hot ondol (underfloor) heated floor at CC’s, a person I met in orientation. A number of us went out to Haeundae Beach for the Moonrise Festival, which welcomes in the new moon and spring. Basically, it’s an excuse for a giant bonfire to burn on the beach and for revelers to revel soundly. I certainly did.

I do not want to fall back into old patterns.

But, it is so easy to do so.

Today, Sunday, was dreary in Busan, South Korea. I woke up on a burning hot ondol (underfloor) heated floor at CC’s, a person I met in orientation. A number of us went out to Haeundae Beach for the Moonrise Festival, which welcomes in the new moon and spring. Basically, it’s an excuse for a giant bonfire to burn on the beach and for revelers to revel soundly. I certainly did.

After hours of drinking, socializing, noraebanging (singing room) and then back to CC’s for conversation and mandu dumpling soup, one couple went back to their apartment nearby and CC, his girlfriend, S., the 22 year old that lives one floor above me in my apartment in Bukbu, and myself retired for the night. S. took the spare, unheated bedroom with no windows. I thought the heated floor would be a nice way to sleep so I stayed in the common space.

When I woke, I was sweating alcohol.

After a slow process of trying to find eggs at a local market and eventually eating what was left of the mandu soup for breakfast, our group set to go to HomePlus, a Walmart-like chain owned by Tesco, a British shopping company, to pick up some basic homewares.

But, before we left, as I stood outside in the rain, staring at a sea of Korean concrete, smoking a cigarette, I felt it for the first time since coming back to South Korea.

Culture shock.

After braving the mobs of people at HomePlus, I said goodbye to my new friends and headed out in the rain, a hiking backpack borrowed from the Db’s to keep my new junk dry, bound for the subway. When I got back home, I ate a bowl of cereal and fell asleep for a few hours.

When I woke, I thought I would make a Powerpoint presentation introducing myself but never quite got around to it. I ate another bowl of cereal, trimmed down my beard and put on one of the English-language channels, which only shows programs like Scrubs and NCIS. Not much variety, but at least they speak my language.

I know old patterns are easy to fall back on. That’s why they are old patterns, they’ve been done enough to get old. I don’t want to feel that way. But, when everyone you know is far away, and the alcohol wears you down, old patterns find a way back into your brain. The new pattern is to allow them to stay there, breathe deep, and then allow them to leave.

It’s the only way I’ll ever survive here for a year.

Teaching, day one, is tomorrow. Wish me luck.



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