Monday, March 9, 2009
And I only am escaped to tell thee.
(Photos: Daegu's greatest writers' group, with too much coffee, and Korea's greatest trivia team, with too much beer. What do these two "greatest" groups have in common? Modesty forbids...)
...okay, the title of this post is a teense melodramatic (it's from Job, and Moby Dick), but it's been one whale (ha!) of a four-day stretch and I'm exhaustipated.
Thursday, I had off as I've agreed to work Sundays. It was cold and drizzly all day and all I did was work out and, in the evening, go see He's Just Not That Into You with Joanna from the Samduk LIKE. Well, actually, there was a huge kerfluffle about where she was (not where we were supposed to meet), so having bought two tickets, I left her a note, got to the theater late, and did my best to sprawl across two seats. She found me, though, a half-hour into the movie. Not a good movie. I don't mind chick flicks and I especially don't mind looking at Scarlett, Jennifer, and Jennifer, but there were too many characters to care about any of them in a dramatic sense and it wasn't nearly funny enough to be a comedy.
Friday, E.J. Koo, the head of the language program at the YMCA, helped me buy a cell phone. There are literally well over a hundred little phone stores in a few blocks downtown, all with the same products and services, and they apparently fire anyone they suspect of speaking any English. E.J. overwhelmed me with her generosity; she doesn't really know me at all and she gave an hour of her time and donated a cell phone charger. Then I ate lunch at Hami Mami's, my number-one hangout (American brunch! French toast! Hash browns! The only place in Korea you can get food without hot-pepper paste and garlic!) Hami is the one, by the way, who set me up with my cats; she's really nice. Then I went to school.
After a long day's work, I caught a cab downtown for a midnight trivia game at a dark cavern of an expat bar. I got hooked up with a bunch of strangers, mostly friends of my new friend Justin, some of whom had come down from Seoul for the weekend, who also didn't have teams. Going into battle under the team name "Han Solo Rocks", we kicked ass. There were three rounds; I helped carry us through the first round, history and politics. (Sample question: Mentioned in the movie Die Hard With a Vengeance, who was our twenty-first president?) I was practically useless in Round Two, rock and roll (not a single Carpenters question!) The third round was movie quotes: name the movie, year, and Oscar winners (for any category in any movie) who appeared in the movie. I helped a little, but my teammates did the heavy lifting, and we won easily. Each team put up 20,000 Won and HSR took home all the cash. My share basically paid for my cabs and beers. God, I miss trivia. I miss Hogwarts.
(During the day, George, the Guy Friday at school, had told me the government allowed teachers a cut-rate cancer screening. This is good, as the bar resembled a fire at the R.J. Reynolds factory. I got home, scratchy-voiced and red-eyed, at 2:45 a.m...)
...and found email that the teaching job in Seoul for next year, the one I really wanted and would have had already but for a timing mixup... is basically mine. This may be the only thing in this post of lasting value, so don't bother reading anything above or below it, okay? Uh...
On Saturday, having had five hours' sleep, I attended the first class of the second-level Korean course. Felt totally lost. Went to work most of the day, then caught a cab downtown to see Watchmen with a few friends and friends' friends. If you don't know Watchmen, it was an incredibly brilliant, multilayered, dark comic book series in the eighties and long considered unfilmable. (Time called the comic compilation one of the 100 best novels-- not comics-- of the century.) The movie was astoundingly done but so brutal and nihilistic that I can't say I enjoyed it. If anybody likes royal blue male appendages, though, that's your movie. I'm not kidding. I have always kept this blog family-friendly, so I won't make any jokes about "blue jobs".
On Sunday, having had five hours' sleep again, I taught a new three-hour class on critical thinking and essay writing, then walked downtown to the writers' group meeting at Hami Mami's. It's really nice to have new, like-minded friends. For five months, I didn't know anybody I didn't work with. Daegu is a different, better place now for me. Then I got home, took the arduous trek to and around Costco (as the boys and I agreed that we needed a thirty-pound jug of cat litter, stat), and came home and fell asleep in front of the tv.
And now it's 1 a.m. Monday and I'm awake. Good night!