Being Careful

1987 in Busan, South Korea

November 1
My reservation is confirmed and it looks like I'm gone. I must be careful this week. Carrie called. We went to Paradise twice and the DJ thought we were from London. Halloween party. My whole family called and I talked to Jeffrey about marrying my sister. Weird.


1987 in Busan, South Korea

October 18
Sunday again. To the base and back. This week was busy. Class on Saturday. I didn't see Young-sook once. I saw her tonight. She is rad but she doesn't love me. She is too worried about some other guy. I was just a passing thrill. Brian told me he is going home. He isn't on a contract like me so it's no big deal. I might die here but there is no honest way out except to tell Mr. Shin I am leaving and go. I got a letter from Loaf and Jeff. They love each other. Did Young-sook ever love me?! Referring to what she said to me last week, I asked her about it and she said, "So, what about it"? At least I have my book to read.

October 22
Referring to the question above: the answer is "no." I am convinced that I must leave here soon. Brian will leave in about 2 weeks. He told Mr. Shin. He was pissed, but what can he do about it? It's cold. I can't even stand the sight of Mr. Shin. My head spins for my worries.

October 28
I'm writing so sporadically. Twins won the World Series. I must jam. Tomorrow lunch with Mr. Shin. I wonder what he'll say when I tell him I'm leaving. I'll go home with no money. I am shamblesed.

Straight to Seoul

1987 in Busan, South Korea

October 7
Long time. Chuseok. 5 day vacation. Young-sook came over today after we saw Mannequin together. She was too bored so she left. Lately it has been terrible. Maybe I'll just die. I think Young-sook is done with me. I only have 5 classes in October. We had a party here and it was dead. The only highlight was KHI Goddess Miss Kim coming. She called tonight and I am bored now. Brian and I will go to Suncheon and Seoul.

October 10
We didn't go to Suncheon. Straight to Seoul and we shopped like crazy. I bought two rad pairs of shoes. I love them. We bought tons of shirts and American food and there were so many box chicks. Seoul is paradise and I am trapped on the outside of it. Our new saying is: "That's Seoul." We bought [unintelligible] and a suit. We spent all of our money so we had to come home. There was no bus. We took the night train from Seoul to here. I talked to my dad too.

October 11
We got invited to a party on base. When we got there it was almost over. Though on the way I stopped and called Young-sook but she acted like she didn't even want to see me. I am now still deep in sadness. I called Vince. On the subway some lady's kid peed on my leg.

New Digs

1987 in Busan, South Korea

September 30
We moved and we are settled.* Young-sook came over but she left early. I am convinced but... Soo-jin and Eun-sook came.** Eun-sook is rad. Our beds are here.*** I have been sick for several days. I talked to Miss Jang twice in one week. I want out.

*We moved into a new, larger apartment in a newer neighborhood. Mr. Shin took care of all the finances; lodging being part of the compensation package. It seems like the neighborhood was 구서동 or 수서동 or something. I remember that taxi drivers never knew it by name (coulda been my pronunciation).

**I have no recollection of these young ladies. Rad or not.

***Brian and I bought beds. After 5 months on the floor, I figured it was time to take care of #1. It was a nice piece of furniture with a full headboard with book shelves (I read The Last Phase of the East Asian World Order in that bed) and drawers for added storage. It had a firm queen size mattress. A perfect complement to my wellness shortcut.

"You better not turn your back on a Paradise"

1987 in Busan, South Korea

September 20
Sunday. We didn't make it to Taegu. We hung out. Yesterday too, nothing. To Xanadu for free with two women whom I didn't want to be with. Tonight to 쉼표 for the last time.* Young-sook called later and she is my Sister of Mercy.** Mr. Shin's mum died.

September 23
Yesterday to Seo-myeon with Young-sook. She is box. Today to Yangsan and I met Miss Kim the goddess of KHI. I love her.***

*Certainly these are hollow words of empty promise. I most definitely kept going to 쉼표 for the culture and society. Oh, and obviously for the rest ;-)...

** "No Sister of Mercy oh don't cry for me. (Sister of Mercy) No Sister of Mercy it's all awright for me."

***I must've mentioned this goddess Miss Kim 10 times by now. Sadly, I have no recollection of her at all. I'm not even sure what I meant by "met" in this case. I already knew her by this time so I am not using the "nice to meet you" sense of "met." I don't recall any one-on-one "미팅" either. I am guessing I just ran into her in some unexpected fashion. Still, I wonder what it would be like to meet up today and talk it over. Prolly more awkward than cool I imagine.

My little sister got married nearly three weeks ago. After the wedding there was a reception/party where all the old school folks from the hometown come around to greet the new couple. It's a nice reunion of faces not seen for many moons. Lots of laughs, a few tears, the mini donut maker from the Saturday Farmer's Market was there making mini donuts. Go figure.

I caught up with a nice lady from the old hometown. Her husband is in Afghanistan with the Guard. Her son is home from Iraq missing one leg. Her sister is there with her. Many people thought I would marry the oldest daughter of that sister. Nope. I told her I see her son Jed (I didn't tell her I see him pulling hard and long on the hookah), she just rolls her eyes and says "Jed."

Later, I'm standing by myself loading carbs via the cinnamon-sugar mini donuts, and my Mom's old friend Marilyn walks up. She says, "Do you remember me"?

I think to myself: Of course I do; I had the biggest crush on you when I was younger. Should I tell her that? It might be funny...

But she's standing with her grisled old farmer husband, and my brain can't compute any mathematics that would have made it OK for me to have a crush on her when I was younger. So I holster the "I had a huge crush on you" line and we exchange pleasantries for a few. Mom later tells me Marilyn is 13 years older than I. She married in 1978 or 9. I would have been 13 or 14 when I was crushing. Nothing wrong with that I suppose...?

Maybe it wouldn't be such a great idea to "meet" the KHI Goddess Miss Kim again.

The Lick and the Snap

1987 in Busan, South Korea

September 16
Class and nothing special. Young-sook came over and she was bored and I fear lest I am losing her. Everyday to Yangsan and I have too much free time. Nothing happens.

September 18
Well complain about nothing happening, catch this. Alex killed in Table tennis. I met Eun-sook and we all went to the Downtown where a huge fight ensued.* What can I do?

*And now, the rest of the story...

A new nightclub opened in one of the hotels down on Haeundae Beach. It was called "Lalique." We joked that Lalique was French for "The Lick." "Let's go to 'The Lick' tonight."

The DJ at The Lick was a British bloke with favorable music taste. Since Brian and I were commonly the only foreigners in there, he would play songs we liked and we would dance dance dance. Definitely a recipe for good times.

On this night, Brian and I were dance dance dancing when I noticed a group of Korean guys staring, pointing, and mocking our dance style. After enduring them for some time, I finally snapped. I'm not typically a violent type, don't look for or get into fist fights, don't recall ever punching anyone; I'm more of a verbal brawler you might say.

Anyway, I snapped. I charged over and gave the ring leader a solid two-handed push in the chest. That alone was probably more than was needed to convey my message, but I was in another's body it seems. He reeled backwards and fell down against one of the giant speakers on the edge of the dance floor. Before he could get up I was on him. I had my left knee in his gut and my left arm around his head, my right arm punching his face and head while I cradled it. His friends grabbed at my swinging right arm trying to pull me off, but I pushed them away and kept at him.

Finally they got us separated. Brian and I--sweating and fuming--went and sat down. The snappee, not much worse for the wear, came over a few minutes later attempting to apologize in English but I wasn't having any of it. I said "죽을래 (you wanna die)"? He went back to his friends and we left The Lick.

Cherry Blossom Tribute

May 6, 2009
Hometown USA

Sadly, I am not in Korea this spring so I cannot post a series of Cherry Blossom photos like so many others have done. Instead I have decided to post my own blossom photos from my property as a form of tribute. I hope you relish them as much as I.

Unplanned bloom against a cloudy sky, dappled by Autumn Blaze Maple:Unplanned bloom framed by Foerster Feather Reed Grass
Sango Kaku: a form of Japanese maple with bright red bark and green leaves that yellow in Fall. Expensive but attractive. Same as my college girlfriend. 3 Tulips Potential Tulips Unwanted visitors (thanks to the neighbor):
Lilacs in bloom. This tree was included when we bought the house.
Dwarf Alberta Spruce. Aunty gave us $30 when my dad died. I bought this tree with that money.
Stella D'oro Day Lily. It will bloom one day...Look how pretty. Anyone know what this tree is?
A closer look:
Honey bee doing work. Packing a load of pollen. That is a Prairie Fire Crab Apple tree. Lovely blooms. Lovely tree. The added bonus is the persistent crabs. (That means the fruit never falls off; no mess on the ground.)
Last but not least, my 무궁화:
Close-up shot of the buds. Feel free to get metaphorical.

Boss and Box?

1987 in Busan, South Korea

September 4
Class and all. Yangsan. At night I met Young-sook. She is so rad to me. She will come over tomorrow.

September 5
My closets came. We re-arranged. Went to Spa. I bought some pants and went to the Casino and lost 30,000 won. Came home and Young-sook came over and she is so boss and box. I have 7 digits in my bank account. I'm a Won Millionaire. OK.

September 13
Sunday. Much has happened. Young-sook is always near me. The other day before her day off she dragged me off to a 여관. We spent the night there together. She is so rad. I can't help but feel that I am lucky to keep her attention for so long. I am spending too much money on useless things. Like the Casino for example...Carrie called long time 만에. She works at a company in Yangsan. Brian and I stayed in all day.

September 16.
Class and nothing special. Young-sook came over and she was bored and I fear lest I am losing her. Everyday to Yangsan and I have too much free time. Nothing happens.