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Monday, June 11, 2012

Frustrated Artist? Me?

It will be June soon, the beginning of the middle of the year. Summer. When being sticky is less hobby and more obsession. We will pay good money to be in places with good air conditioning, and are talking about purchasing an improved model for our humble apartment. Something to aid the dehumidifier in the fight to keep back the black mold that was only delayed, not driven out, by the change of wall paper.

But summer has not yet come.  I can still bike to work without bathing in my own sweat.  The 6.4 km ride used to take more than 25 minutes, but I recently got it down to under 15.  The stoplights and traffic and wind have to cooperate, but I can do it. Of course, I now have to take closer to 25 minutes to avoid the sweat bath, and by the end of June I will probably need 35 minutes.  Still better than cramming on the subway, hoping to stand under the aircon, breathing in kimchi breath and farts and whatever else has made its way onto that car.

I took a personality test during my Wednesday night Fellowship group, and it described me as, "The Artist".  I wasn't exactly thrilled to find this out, but the label feels very accurate.  I enjoy teaching, but the part I like best is explaining something so well that another person understands it easily.  I love having the right words.  When I was young... no.  Scratch that.  I'm 42 years old, "young" takes in a depressingly large chunk of my life.  When I was a teenager, one of the most important lessons I learned was this:

Not every clever thing you can say should be said.

Of course, there are undoubtedly many friends, family and acquaintances who would testify that I still need to  learn this lesson.  Including the people who I work for now.

This year I decided to not talk in staff meetings.  I decided that whether the emperor was wearing a robe, nothing at all, or a peekaboo teddy, I would not be the one to point it out.  I would smile and nod, confident that others in the crowd were also shutting away a part of themselves, studiously ignoring the banging on the inner room in which one locks up one's sanity from time to time.

But I digress. My point was this: I loved saying the clever thing. Still do. Because I love the words.  I am a frustrated word artist. My idea of visiting a museum is reading a book. I love reading something that is well written, and long to create things that are well written as well.

I've done well in the classes I've taken the last few years, including passing a standardized education test with flying colors.  The assignments were all essays, of course. The test was half multiple choice, half essay.

Some of you reading this will be saying the same thing I am saying right now: I shoulda been a writer. Living hand to mouth (not so different from being a part-time math teacher in that respect), depending on my brain rather than a roomful of kid brains, getting paid (hopefully) to take the same old words everyone else has access to and put them in slightly different orders to amuse and inform other human beings.

Is it too late?  We're looking at a school for Maxine that will require us to come up with about $9,500 for her to start in March.  I'm going to change jobs to something that sucks away a smaller percentage of my soul, but no telling what sort of housing, if any, will be provided. It's such a crazy time to be having thoughts like this.

And I'm 42 years old this year.  The year of meaning. The year of The Answer.

I sure hope it's not a midlife crisis.  Gotta try to get my hypertension under control.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Directions to Our Place

To get to our home, take subway line #2 to Namcheon (남천) Station.  The first option, for the lazy, is the elevator:
Take the 2-4 elevator.  When you come out, walk straight ahead (maybe 10m/30ft) and take a right at the wooden furniture store, then a right at the bathhouse.
For those interested in getting some exercise, or stopping at the store on the way in, take exit #4.  As you are coming up the stairs, you will see this huge building that is still mostly unoccupied, but looks pretty awesome.  It's on the other side of the street, if you are doing it right.
At the top of the stairs keep walking until you get to the corner with the bakery:
Tous Le Jours has some lovely breads and pastries.  I buy their 7-grain bread all the time.  Turn right just  before the bakery, and on the right side of the road you will see the "Big Sale Mart":
This is a good place to get drinks, fruit, milk, eggs, ramen, peanut butter, spaghetti, candy (Hersheys and Korean), lots of stuff.  I tell you, kids these days have no idea how good they've got it.  Back in the day, I would have had to traipse all over town to get the stuff I buy in one shot at this little corner store.
Keep heading up the street, and turn right at the cow head soup (소머리탕) restaurant.  (I haven't tried it yet, so don't ask).
Walk one block, and you will come to my neighborhood bath house (on the right side of the street).  This is where you will bump into the lazy people who took the elevator, because they are probably walking so slowly that you've caught up to them by now.
On the left side of the street, across from the bath house, is an awesome little meat restaurant which we hope will be open if we invite you over for a BBQ and it rains.  Unfortunately, they do not seem to be overly dependent on income from this restaurant, as they are frequently closed. Go straight on through this intersection, but watch for traffic.  Ahead on your left is Namcheon Church:
It is right across from our humble villa, Insan Heights (인산하이츠빌).  The parking lot has been painted a lush green, in a vain attempt to be a yard.
We've got a security door of sorts.  Combinations given to people who really need it, as it changes regularly.
Once you're inside, please press the little button to lock the door behind you.
Then head up the stairs to the fourth floor:
Unless you get tired, then back down to the elevator:
Our apartment is on the 4th floor, number 402, but the roof is one flight of stairs up from the 5th floor.  It is a pretty nice place to hang out:
We have a dozen plastic chairs to fill the space, and a couple of tables on which we can serve food.
There is room for some games, and the wind is usually not bad.
The people who live on the 5th floor can hear you shuffling around up there, so we try not to party too late.
The view of the neighborhood includes Namcheon Elementary school:
Some expensive homes:
and the road you walked to get here:
That's pretty much it.  I will try to take some indoor pictures after we get our apartment cleaned.

A Brief Introduction

Roblog is my writing lab. It is my goal to not let seven days pass without a new post. I welcome your criticism, as I cannot improve on my own.

Here is a link to my cung post, which remains the only word which I have ever invented, and which has not, as far as I know, caught on. Yet.