September 27, 2011

29 Street South
A guy in a scruffy beard and a green hoodie came to the door looking 2909 29 Street South.  No, this is 2909 29 Avenue South.  Street is down the street.

September 17, 2011

dream – I had to kill a young cat.  I poked a screwdriver through its chest, but it kept living.  There was blood everywhere.  Later, students came for classes, but I was peeing in a toilet in the living room.  I had to stop peeing and walk into a bathroom that was, oddly enough, right beside the toilet.  Then I had to clean up blood from a table and their books.  I was cleaning out a kitchen drain.  The entire sink was filled with dirty water and food waste.  I even found an aluminum foil pie plate in it, an iron bell, and other stuff.  Mom said I was wasting my time.  Mom was cleaning a dishwasher.

September 7, 2011

Now in the airplane heading home, back to Vancouver, then Calgary, then Lethbridge.  I woke up at 6AM, as per normal, and was surprised at how the body remembers, like faded images of the past burned into the fabric of memory and experience.

I cleaned up with my new Gillette razor from Lotte Mart in the shower, got my new snappy red backpack filled up with my valued possessions, and headed out the hotel room door toward Starbucks at 정냥니.

I met Cindy online there and had my coffee & breakfast sandwich.  She is quite hesitant to suggest any closeness these days.  I don’t blame here – it’s been nearly two years since I communicated with her.  And, seeing what has happened during the past one and a half hears, I imagine she’s a little apprehensive.

I left Starbucks shortly after 12 noon and found the airport bus.  Not an express bus!  It took almost two hours to reach Incheon airport.  Absolutely nothing happened that I’d expected (i.e. immigration crap) except that I had to separate my giant blue bag into two.  Since the last time I’d flown, the maximum weight allowance has gone down from 32kg to 23kg.  I use the KPI bag for the documents and raveled it all up with packing tape.  The good thing is that the giant blue isn’t overstuffed now.

Let’s see – what else.  I felt like I again left Cindy high and dry yesterday evening as I lost connectivity at Starbucks.  Of course, Cindy isn’t 19 anymore (nearly 30, she’d reminded me), so she wasn’t as freaked by it.

I lost my contact sheet I’d used over the past 1½ years.  Crap.  I fear I left it at Cheonan.  <sigh>  So I’ll contact Andrew by email or postal mail and see if I can’t get everyone else’s contact info, like Harry’s for example and Frank’s.

Back to선영.  She thinks I should absolutely leave all my students in Korea there and not try to gain any of them again.  Frankly I also think it wouldn’t be a great idea contacting them either, but some of them have shown up on my Facebook asking for permission.  What to do.  But, as Genie’s parents said through선영, leaving with happy memories is better than not.  They would not understand why I had to leave 1½ years ago.  <sigh>  Still, it’s painful.  I’ve watched maybe two dozen of them grow up, from kindergarten to middle and even high school.  But it’s time to say goodbye.

Maybe it’s time to let Cindy out of my life, too.  Except that she suggested I should go to Shanghai to teach.  I suggested together, and she politely gave me a solid “no”.  She also suggested I should go teach in her father’s friend’s school.  Not sure where it is.  Area cold 416.  Ontario?  Not sure.  If I go to Shanghai, then most likely I’d be banging around with her (with her), which tells me she’d like to remain friends.  Date?  I doubt she’d be into that now.  I told her 2 years ago I wouldn’t want to date her again.  Seeing our past together, that’s probably a good idea – to remain only friends – but she’s changed, I guess … as have I.  So why suggest Shanghai?  I asked if she’d like to be in Canada, and again a polite “no”.  “Too boring, now that I’ve been in Shanghai,” she says.  Hmm.  Is Shanghai that special?  Many people say it is.  But it’s also really expensive to live there.  Yet, it’s been given really high rates for education.  I wonder.  But that would really be over the top with my Mom & Floyd.  They’d blow a circuit over that.

Looks like the flight is almost half over.  It’s ten and a half hours gate to gate, and we’ve been airborne for four hours.  Maybe we’ll get lucky and get in early like … last time?  Second-to-last?  It took 8 hours instead of 9½.

It’s just occurred to me that I’m rather used to sitting in one spot for hours on end without much physical movement, so sitting on a 9½ flight doesn’t faze me.  Yet, it never has before either.  I cannot count how many flights I’ve taken between Canada & Korea during my lifetime.

“Cut me some slacks.”  Funny phrase.

September 6, 2011

Been chatting with Cindy this evening, but the damn internet conked out and refuses to come back online again.  I left her in mid-chat.  I told her I was sorry for leaving her alone in Canada.  She told me it was long ago and not to worry about it.

I spent much of the day with 선영.  She picked me up at eleven-something for lunch.  Great BBQ beef place.  Then on to a coffee shop in a mall where we talked about options for my future job.

September 5, 2011

Wow – what a day.  I met 선영 last night.  She came here to the hotel.  We sat in the lobby, and we talked.  I felt so low.  So very, very low.  I can see now, this evening before bed, that I was in fact not blessed – I have been cursed my whole life, putting up with junk for a life.  Nothing good.  The visit with Sunyoung last night just nailed it home even further.

I went to immigration today.  More humiliation as I had to write and sign a paper saying I was guilty and regret what I did and will never do it again and that breaking the law will get me into more trouble.

Then a brief hiatus from that hell as I ate a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with cheese.  Back on the subway – oh, have to call Mom.  20 min. of talk, & back on the subway to Cheongnyangni station.  I bought a Starbuck’s Americano and then raced back to the hotel (which is certainly more than a short walk) to get my laptop.

Once in Starbuck’s, I finally got my red Toshiba online.  I wrote an email to Cindy, and she wrote back right away.  We exchanged emails for an hour, back & forth.  I told her what happened.  She guessed right away I was in prison.  She is nice but, I believe, does not want to be close to me again.

Lonely, I went to get ‘dakgochi’ and ‘soondae’ (chicken kabob and blood sausage) and later asked for some soju (rot-gut wine).  Another embarrassing occurrence – I tried to take a picture of me and my food with my BlackBerry phone, but a woman nearby thought I was photographing her, so she held up her hand to cover her face.  (The camera was facing me, not her, but she didn’t know that.)  I pretended not to know what she was doing in a lame attempt of saving face.

Sitting here in bed in the hotel, I brought out my Bible and Rhapsody of Realities and read what I should have read this morning.  ‘Anointed by the Holy Spirit.  But I cannot see that I am.  I see a stupid, failed man.  So I will go to bed and dream of not being me.  I hope.

September 4, 2011

Well, I’m now in a hotel room, the same day I was released from prison.  I cannot think of a greater head-spin than this.  I’m now in a bathtub with the Toshiba computer sitting on a wooden stool from the hotel.

Now 9:05pm.  Pizza, salad, beer, & a TV movie.  How do you like that.  I’ve longed for a keyboard to put my ideas onto “paper” without using a pen and paper.  Well now I have it.

So I told 선영I wanted to get a hotel near her house so as to make it easier to meet when she has time.  I have to take the money she has of mine before leaving for Canada.  However, it took a while to find one.  I got off at Cheongyangni station, but I ended up walking through a crowded, steamy, smelly #1 line subway station to an elevator.  It took me three stabs at getting from there to there as those bags I packed were so heavy.  I went up a boggling one level … to another subway platform.  Hmm.  Three flights of stairs.  Well.  Seeking out a tourist information place, I found it to be closed.  An older gentleman in a rather shiny suit asked what I wanted in an unsure, low murmur, and I explained my situation in a somber voice matching his.  He pointed me toward a door, but the man within didn’t even know I came in until I ahemed.  He kind of got the drift I wanted a hotel once I said ‘hotel’ countless times.  “Exit 5.”  I couldn’t find another elevator up until I asked another older gentleman in an equally shiny suit where I could find a hotel, and he pointed me up to exit 5.  Problem was, exit 5 was three flights of stairs.  Eventually, he got me to follow and asked the ticket machine attendant to show me the way to another elevator which brought me to another platform.  Yet again, a long walk with heavy bags feeling heavier and heavier led me to an incline.  Why have an incline in a station?  Just to piss off people with heavy bags.  Then again, it’s better than a stairwell.  A nice younger guy led me to … surprise – another elevator which took me to never-never land.  It was a corridor of whitewash walls and white floor tile that seemed like a cross between an afterthought and a temporary fix.  Perhaps both were true.  The long hallway led into … ta-da! … a train station with glitzy things everywhere.  Oh, a tourist info booth!  Great!  But nobody was there.  A girl of maybe 12 or 14 walked up to me and told me in English in starts and stops that there wasn’t anybody coming to the booth.  Okay.  Her mom came by and offered moral support to her daughter.  “Go to the ticket booth and ask,” she said while her mom looked on proudly.  After asking the ticket lady for directions, a total of four people came out to help out – two ticket people, a passer by who spoke English and wanted to help, and another tall, young, thin guy whose job it was to help out.  This thin man took me and one of my bags (lead me, but carried my bag).