Monday, March 30, 2009

Like a Thundering Herd

Day 196

5 military helicopters in a low fly-by wrest my attention from Cidade de Deus.
Cherry trees are blossoming, I'm keeping to myself.
I teach at the Hagwon.
Things are okay.

One Hour Later

The shadows of four more helicopters pass over my persimmon tree. Did you know that persimmon trees produce magnolia-like flowers? The helicopters sound like giant swarms of bees.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Whiling the Time

Days 162-173

There is a consistent feeling of waking from one dream into another; one surreality into the next. On top of that, actual dreams are more vivid and memorable than ever. Why, just last night I held my favorite giant purple chicken, with glowing mink fur in lieu of feathers, on my lap in our old neighbor's climbing tree. We talked for hours while friends dressed as characters from Robin Hood gathered at a party hosted by my grandparents.

On my third day back to Korea, I am released from work after two hours. With my unexpected afternoon, a trip to the city seems in order.

Upon reaching the train station, I am nearly an hour early for the local train to Daegu. I buy my ticket and wait outside in the sun, watching a throng of older men take turns tossing four sticks, one side rounded, the other flat. Occasionally they argue, and pass around W1,000 bills. At one point the argument gets so heated that one man turns in a huff, takes his bike and walks away. After cajoling and jeering, he heads back to the circle to place his W1,000 bet once more.

The time to leave arrives and I become lost in thought on the way to Daegu. I vaguely recall a mental note on something about a sub-commentary to self on internal monologue. Something about experiencing life as a constant narration. Who knows? Whether I'm narrating to myself or to others, narration is happening, right? Within us all, right? What? OH. I'm in Daegu already. Time to meander.

These seem to be the days where one may say "...and she lived her life quietly and contentedly among the foreign world of which she was now a part," or some such drivel. The once healthy drive to write even a sentence for every day has diminished markedly. There are many possible reasons for this.

I have a renewed interest in NPR and pancakes. My Sunday home activity is: waking early to make pancakes and brown sugar simple syrup, and some coffee, while listening to NPR. My weekend away, well, that is something different altogether, but there seems to be a Westernized theme.

Saturday morning, I wake early to head for Daegu once again. This time with a purpose other than aimless wandering: Korean lessons with other foreigners at the YMCA. That's right. The YMCA has outreach even in Daegu, South Korea. 91 years of it, to be exact.

I struggle to pronounce 만나사 반가우ㅓ요 (mahn-ah-saw ban-ga-wuh-yo (i.e., nice to meet you)), while my classmate struggles to unwrap a triangle gimbap.

Afterward, I meet familiar Gumi-ites for a stroll around town with a stop at a virtual roller coaster and an introduction to a restaurant with genuine Western breakfast at 2pm and an un-sugared Bloody Mary.

Sunday, post-pancake, I go to Gumi, a nearby city, to deliver a keyboard and see a movie. The Watchmen,

"An adaptation of Alan Moore's landmark comic book series, Watchmen is a story set in an alternative 1985, where the world is ticking closer to the brink of nuclear war, and a plot to eliminate a band of ex-crimefighters is instigated, but why? and by whom?..."

turns out to be just under three hours long. An uncommon opportunity for Scrabble presents itself post-movie, and I spend two more hours in good company, involved in movie discussion, swapping jokes, and racking up a pretty high losing score at my favorite board game. Ween knew gnu knew no new pundits for pun times. Oh, Scrabble!

Day 174

Finally, the 백만 Won that the bank lost in transfer shows up in the right place. Whew! A sigh of relief for that one! A new week begins today.