Sunday, July 11, 2010


...or California There I Went.

I've been putting off blogging about my vacation in California, and I don't know why. At first when I came back I was jetlagged, sleeping four hours in the day and four at night. That led to a general sense of ennui, and not for the first time. (Je suis Ennui VIII, je suis...) Then, I don't know, I couldn't figure out what was too personal to post here, I guess. But I'm finally sitting down to write about it, if only because it was important in understanding myself, my country, and my time in Korea.

I stayed with my stepson and his family in Ventura, an hour north of LA, and split time between Tim and April and Jake and Nate (the Grands) and Debby and Bodhi (the Ex and the Dog). The point of the trip wasn't sightseeing or even activities, so to save my pixels and your time I'll just list what I did here.

-Tim and April took me out to a bunch of nice dinners.
-We all went to Disney's California Adventure.
 Nate and me on the humongous vertiginous Ferris wheel.

-Jacob had his elementary school commencement.
-Debby took me on lots of walks with Bodhi, in the parks and on the beach.
So Korea's over there, Daddy?

-Debby took the boys and me to two amazing, peaceful places, Meditation Mount and the Ojai Foundation, in the mountains.

-I took Jake and Nate to a fun water park.

-Debby and I went to her amazing Center for Spiritual Living (Religious Science) church twice; it's in the only art deco, Aztec-inspired church building in the US and the speakers and musicians were terrific, as was the welcoming atmosphere.
Pretty cool, huh?

-I ran a bunch of times.
-I bought a lot of stuff (cheap ibuprofen, a GPS running watch, some clothes-- where has Old Navy been all my life?-- running shoes, energy gels).

That doesn't seem like all that much for twelve days, but as I said going places and doing stuff wasn't the point.

As with a bull, the point was twofold. First, and most importantly, I wanted to spend time with the family. (Miraculously, the boys and Bodhi remembered me and still love me... which made the trip worthwhile in itself.)
 Dog is love.

Secondly, I wanted to figure out some stuff about me and Korea and America.

And here's what I've come up with: I belong anywhere. It didn't feel strange to be there and it doesn't feel strange to be back. When I came to Korea, I thought it quite likely I'd teach here till I retire, and I still very well may. I should never have a problem keeping a steady job here, and with the job sitch in the States...

Anyway, I found I liked life just north of LA a lot; people are really friendly, the weather's good, it has Korea's mountains (good) and Florida's open skies (good) and people speak English! It's a big if, but if I could get a steady job there with decent pay... well, it's something to think about. And I will.

As far as my being fairly content wherever I live, I'm not at all sure whether that reflects a strength of my character (that is, a certain basic acceptance of the moment that I've been striving for) or a weakness (a disconnect between my self and my surroundings). Either way, I'm okay. I've come to hate the saying "It is what it is," but I yam what I yam. (And as a vegetarian, I never mind a good yam or two.)

I will say that you guys back in the States have sure let it go all to smash in the nearly two years I've been gone. Jersey Shore? Justin Bieber? The Tea Partiers? I can't leave you alone for a minute, can I?

But from all the way over here I see all the faults of my country and I love it anyway. I'll be back. Sooner or later.

1 comment:

Raymond Teacher: said...

I read your reaction to southern California. I've lived in both in the southern half and in the San Jose area. I like northern California better although the winters are a little colder. And the climate is always better when you are closer to the ocean. But like you said, the employment situation is bad and it won't get much better for awhile.

Speaking of north and south, there's an old joke: How many Californians does it take to start a civil war? Answer: Two. One southern California with a rifle and one northern Californian to show him how to use it. :)