I have now been unemployed on two continents. At least here, there is something already lined up. Fortunately for me, the necessities of surviving such a status are well traveled—namely, living frugally. And, since this was foreseen, I have made arrangements to make it through this time in relative wellness—both in terms of finances and spirit.
Moved my stuff from my ghetto bachelor studio to the two bedroom bachelor pad/frat house of Rob and Andrew’s where I have slept on the couch for the last three nights, battling the psychotic cat, the desire to do nothing, the need for more sleep and the drunken early morning stumblings of Andrew Murphy; will be here until Sunday around noon when I go to catch the train to Seoul.
Finished my last day at YBM in Geageum last Saturday afternoon without much fanfare. Shook my boss’ hand on the way out. Funny: she (Jennifer) was one of the main reasons I decided to leave and, shortly after I gave my notice, there was a visit from a honcho from the front office in Seoul and most everyone got a chance to finally air their dirty under shorts about the management. I had a few choice words about the unapproachable nature of said management. Over the ensuing six weeks, Jennifer was much more amicable to everyone around. While this was good to see and made my last month or so go much smoother, I have heard that the aloof management style is typical in Korea; so, I have no delusions about what I might encounter in the next hagwon. As long as I don’t get screwed out of money, I will put up with just about anything to complete this contract, get the bonus and be home in time for Erik and Jaclyn’s wedding. After that, off to wander and be unemployed on other continents with a four or five month journey. New Zealand, SE Asia, Russia, southern Europe and Egypt. Anyone want to join?
I went to my second to last private lesson with the two teens that are a short walk from my apartment. They are good kids whom I will miss chatting with (while correcting their grammar. Who knew that the annoying habit of grammar correction by Ma and Pa when I was growing up would earn me over forty bucks an hour?). But it was a mutual learning relationship, as any real teaching experience is: I have learned a little about Korean history, society and the public school system through the six months I worked with Sojin and Terry I am leaving them in good hands with Branden, the be-tatooed 35-year old southern Californian who has been here for five years and speaks a fair amount of Korean and was just recently married to a Korean woman.
Met up with Paul and came back here for a beer with the weekend resident, Phil—a university pal of Rob and Andrew who spends the weekends here, his place small and far away for his standards. We then met up with about ten folks from YBM for a going away shindig at Junco—shite anjou but a place where the soju flows like water and the beer flows like wine (see movie Dumb and Dumber) where we proceeded to get toasted like so many marshmallows. After a couple hours there, we went to a norae bang for a couple more hours of drinking and singing in a private room.
People peeled out, unceremoniously, if undetected—most too drunk to say the customary goodbye at a goodbye party. I prefer it this way, though. Goodbyes are not my favorite thing in the world. But, as Janine pointed out, that is a fact of life in this industry. After a failed attempt at hitting one more bar before heading home, I found my way to a market for some water and Pringles and went to the roof here at the 310 building and almost lay down to sleep right there. But I made it to the couch in 901 around 3AM.
While most everyone else had had their share of nightlife, Murph’s night was just beginning, he to the expat bar O’Brien’s and then to the Lotte Hotel casino. He stumbled in Sunday morning about 0830, spattered with his own puke. He stripped down to the bone, threw his stuff in the wash, saying “I own that shit. I own that shit.” And, “I think I broke even.” Can one own, Phil and I wondered, when breaking even? Anyone who ever knew Josh Snider back in San Hoe would be amazed at the resemblances in their looks, attitudes and habits. To myself, I refer to Murph as Josh’s Canadian double—but much younger.
Sunday was a total wash of a headache that wouldn’t subside no matter the remedy tried. Watched movies, battled the psychotic cat who has no social skills and is an especially mean bitch to me, bearing claws and teeth and spitting when I am just sitting on the couch. Aside from defenses from the feline onslaught, I got off the couch a grand total of two times in fourteen hours. Murph slept until four in the afternoon, got up still drunk, laughing his ass off at nothing in particular except a bare-assed fart in Phil’s face, took a shower and left the house a little before five for a poker tournament down at O’Brien’s. Finally, we motivated to a chicken joint downtown where fried food and beer seemed to do the trick. After a hanger like that one on Sunday, I reminded myself once again why I don’t drink like that as much any more: I am an old bastard compared to these puppies of 25 and 26 years. But to hell with it. I’m on vacation.
0430, Murph lurches in again, carrying with him the strong scent of puke. As it turned out, he woke up in an elevator in a puddle of his own vomit. I found it quite amusing, even at that time of the morning, hearing stories of him being in a wrong building’s elevator and getting yelled at by a security guard. He also had trouble getting a cab because who wants to pick up a vomit-covered whiteboy on a Monday morning? Finally, he found a cab, gave an uncustomary tip for the kindness received and made it home. Thing that’s funny is that he just went on a “purge” of his system over the previous twelve days. You are a cartoon, I yelled to him through chuckles. He laughed and was soon snoring in the other room. He crashed out until 1015, having to be at work at 1045. Hungover and teaching ten classes—or any classes, for that matter? Done it once and never did it again. My glimpse of hell. That, and drinking OJ after brushing my teeth: mistakes made once in life.
Waited around the computer the next day to see what arrangements my new employer had set up for me in regards to the two day visa run I have to make to Japan. Also wanted to know when I could move into the new place. Got tired of waiting and around 2 went to work out, taking alternate routes to and fro so I could capture some interesting and less-seen places between the business of this big city and its streets. Walked up to the same temple I had visited on Christmas, seeking and finding a quiet escape from the vendors that sell there wares while walking and yelling up and down the apartment blocks. Heard some ceremonial drums, was nearly solitary, had some good introspection and came back here in time to clean the aparte a bit. Today off to the beach at Haeundae.