Sunday, February 8, 2009

Best. Weekend. EVER.

(Don't you hate it when people think that their cats-- who, after all, look like a hundred million other cats-- are so cute they'll stick a photo up even when it has nothing to do with what they're talking about? Me too.)

...well, maybe not the best weekend ever. (My honeymoon was pretty good.) But I'm teaching the kids to use strong, interesting words, and I didn't think "A Really Nice Weekend" would cut it.

As there may be one or two Anglophones to whom I haven't whined about how I got offered my dream job (with 600,000 Won a month more in salary) six hours after I'd sent my degree to Daegu and how FedEx promised to redirect the package but didn't, and how they actually called me to apologize for delivering the package faster than promised to the address on the label... I should put in all the tragic details here. But if I do, I'll be up all night and my tears might short out the keyboard, so I'll save it.

But I've been in touch with the aforementioned dream school (St. Paul Preparatory Academy, an elite international school in Bundang, a new and ritzy Seoul suburb) and this weekend I bought my bullet-train ticket for next Sunday to go up, see the school, and meet my contact there, Tony, who sent me the contract last August with the note: "Please please tell me you haven't sent your papers to Daegu yet." He says that they've expanded their enrollment a great deal already in their first year, there's a good chance they'll need another English teacher, and mine is the first name he'll present to the headmaster... so we shall see. I couldn't spend the rest of my career at LIKE school, but I might could maybe do so at St. Paul... I also hope to see Margaret, one of my ex-St. Joe students and cross-country runners, who is teaching up there.

Besides that... I found Korean class on Saturday morning to be difficult, possibly because I didn't glance at the materials all week long, but I made some friends: Joelle and Cliff, though half my age, have let much more adventurous lives than I, including stints in the Peace Corps. We arranged to meet at Club That on Saturday night for the launch party of Daegu's first magazine for Anglos and locals. (Check it out online at

During the afternoon, I did my teaching, then skipped the health club (for the first time in ten days!) and went downtown. I was too late for Joelle's birthday dinner, but met them at Club That, along with their friend (my new friend) James. It was less than ideal, as it wasn't so much a party as a shouting match over the band, but then we went down to the first floor (where Hami Mami's is in the daytime) and had a nice talk. Joelle asked if I wanted to come to the Writer's Group at the same place at 2 on Sunday, and being a decisive sort, I said, "Maybe."

Today (Sunday), I went for a run in the park, then showered and headed downtown. Joelle and Cliff were there, as were Emma from New Zealand, Jeremy from California, Justin the Yankee fan and Princeton grad (who despite it all seems like a nice guy), and Pill-kon, who, as you may have guessed, is local. We had 90 minutes or so of people sharing good writing and exchanging commentary. I hadn't brought anything, so I recited the only thing I've ever written that I've memorized:

(once sperm a secret's size
and egg a whisper's width)
Spoke knowingly today.

"God is dead,"
Thomas said.

(That poem, by the way, is older than anybody else in the writer's group and shorter than most Koreans.)

So I have friends (my first in Asia with whom I don't work!) and will be going to the meeting next month. They're all smart, friendly, and talented, but I think I could take 'em all in a 60s-sitcom trivia contest. Maybe.

Afterward, Cliff and I went to see Inkheart at the movies. I liked it very much indeed; it's gotten mixed reviews, and it won't be any hit: too dark for little kids, too fairy-tale for a lot of adults, but it's the best movie I've seen in a long time. Right up my alley, anyway.

...and then I stopped at Kyobo Books, bought a gorgeous, 19th-century-looking hardcover journaling book (Tradition notebook: Precious Memories, Magic Spells), complete with placemarker ribbon, for seven bucks, and came home to begin my procrastination over writing this post by Facebook Friending everybody I just met... and now Justin tells me via Facebook chat that...

There. Is. A. Regular. Bar. Trivia. Night! (As you may know, the only things in the world I'm good at are writing, trivia, and one other thing that modesty and a solicitous concern for the sensitive reader prevent me from sharing with the public...) It occurs to me that I work nights, so I might not make it to trivia... but maybe I can work something out; it doesn't start till 11 p.m.

So, to recap, this weekend brought me:

A ticket to check out my dream job
A magazine that might help me find out what the hell is going on socially in this town
A beer
A writer's group, meaning:
a) a kick in the gluteus for my writing, and
A good movie
A gorgeous journal
Hope for a rebirth of trivia

...and, oh yeah, spring. It's been in the 50s Fahrenheit through all of late January and early February. (Jealous much?)

I feel as if, after over five months of going to work and going home, my world is opening up...and next Friday starts a three-day weekend! So... sometimes you eat the bear. Or, in my case, the bear-shaped block of tofu.

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