Slipping between the beats

These past few weekends have seen me involving myself in such activities as: sleeping in, drinking coffee until two in the afternoon, matinees with girlfriends, date nights with Dave, sitting alone in coffee shops with my computer drinking black tea lattes and listening to the white noise that is the Korean language reverberate around me. Shots at Pavox with friends, glasses of red wine at home with Dave, movies and episodes of CSI and Scrubs found on the internet. In other words, dear readers, I’ve been relaxing. And let me tell you, it’s been a while.
Weekends in Korea, for the vast majority of our stay here thus far, have ranged from fairly busy to jam-fucking-packed. Seoul is a variable cornucopia of sights to see, places to go and things to do. If New York is the city that never sleeps, Seoul is the city with perpetual insomnia that keeps forgetting its medication because it’s drunk most, if not all, of the time. Museums, art shows, shopping, restaurants, movies, theatre, shopping, sightseeing, clubbing, shopping, and even the occasional pig roast thrown in there as well. I’ve been busy, what can I say?

Weekends prior to my coming to Korea usually involved working at one of the many part-time jobs I insisted on keeping myself occupied with, running around to the various rehearsals for shows that were coming up for me, hanging out with friends and/or family, performing in said shows that I was rehearsing for, doing all that annoying shit that builds up during the week like cleaning or running errands. But I didn’t mind at all actually, I like being busy. Too much downtime makes me feel uneasy, anxious. I like my life shaken AND stirred.
The first months of 2008 left me drained, physically, emotionally, mentally, you name it. And for the first time in memory, and I say that in absolute truth, I actually wanted to relax. I wanted to have a Saturday that didn’t start at 6am with an itinerary that kept me running all day long. I didn’t want to plan the weekend from Friday night to Sunday evening. I didn’t care if I felt unproductive or lazy; I just wanted to chill the fuck out. And I have been. And it’s been glorious.
For the first time in a very very very long time, I feel like I’m slowing down, and I’m ok with it.
And a good thing too, as what’s left of me has been consumed as of late with thoughts of the future, the whole what-the-fuck-am-I-doing-with-my-life thing once I leave Korea? And the scary thing is….I think I’m actually starting to figure it out. In little chunks, piece by piece. And even though I receive emails from my amazing friends back home telling me about their own lives full of newly bought houses with freshly painted baseboards, careers that are taking off, masters degrees being worked on, dreams being realized, etc, etc, etc…….part of this whole slowing down process is teaching me to accept where I am and not stress about where I think I SHOULD be right now. Part of my brain is condemning me for being 27 years old, in debt, and not having a solid sense of direction or purpose as far as a career/finances go. And I’m learning to turn around, and bitch slap that part of my brain. I’m learning to explain to it that I am ONLY 27 years old, in debt because of my university degree, in a foreign country teaching so I can make a dent in that debt, and so full of passion and creativity and ideas it’s sick. Often it bitch slaps me back and I end up in a crying mess on the floor…..but hey…it’s progress.

Korea surrounds me in all of its unique insanity these days. I find myself wishing to be walking the streets and alleys in Insadong sipping cinnamon tea from a paper cup more then longing for the streets of Kensington. I wait to cross a busy street in Gangnam and can feel the city swirl around me in a way I have not felt since New York, and I relax into it, revel in it. I crave the quiet twinkle of Jeongja in the evening; it’s rich flavor and almost European feel. I’ve come to expect and almost appreciate the distinct Korean flavor that is brought to everything here, from its native foods to services provided. The oddities that catch you off guard, the intense metrosexulaity of Korean men, women in spike heels in a snowstorm, sweet potato lattes. The sweet smell of pastry as I pass one of the thousands of bakery’s that line the streets, the taste of galbi, the hum and buzz of shopping the streets of Meyong-dong or Dongdaemun, cheap shoes, and the ever presence of little hands with big voices, small heads of black hair and broken English.

I keep thinking how weird it’s going to be when I will be able to read street signs, labels and menus again. When I will be able to understand the conversations going on around me, when I will not be stared at because of my hair and skin.


Anonymous said…
What a great f---ing blog. It makes me even more excited to experience this place with you.
Shannon Duke said…
wow your mom is cool...

can't wait to meet her!
Poorlittlelamb said…
This was a great reminder of just how amazing Korea really is. Your words can always explain things that I'm thinking but don't know how to say....
wow I feel like a just took a trip to Korea and back, your words are amazing, so visual so mesmerizing. You have a real talent for writing

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