Alright, dear readers, let’s cut to the chase here. I haven’t posted an update for four solid months now. By regular standards, that’s a pretty long time – a full third of a year! – but online, it’s practically an eternity. I’ve got a lot of ground to cover, and I’m on limited time at the moment, so let’s make this easy for everyone by using a Q&A format. Cool? Cool.
Here you go.
My Last 4 Months Explained in 10 Questions
1. Where have you been?
All over the place. My school got out for Christmas vacation on December 23rd, and I flew home to the States the very next day: Seoul to Seattle. Seattle to Atlanta. Atlanta to Gulfport. (I’ll explain this rather roundabout flight plan in a separate post.) It was the first time I’ve been home for Christmas in five years, and it was awesome. I got to spend time with my dear old friend Jeff Delapp during my layover in Seattle, visit with my family and friends in Biloxi and Jackson, and even take a week-long trip to Pittsburgh to see my old friend and former radio co-host Keith Sisson. I flew back to Seoul near the end of January and have been preparing for the new school year ever since.
2. How is Kimchi?
Kimchi is an American now. Because this is probably my last year in Korea (one more at most), I decided to leave him with my parents when I went home for Christmas. This will spare him the stress of another overseas flight, as well as the mind-numbing boredom of sitting alone in our apartment all day while I’m at work. Also, my new school offers much longer vacations than my old school did, so I don’t want to board poor Kimchi for months at a time while I go sightseeing around the world.
I’m not gonna lie. I ugly-cried on the night before I left home, and the first few weeks without him have been depressing as hell. But, I know he’s in good hands and it’s ultimately for the best. And from what my mom tells me, he’s doing just fine.
Me: I’m just worried about him. I’ve heard about these dogs whose separation anxiety is so severe that they basically go into mourning, stop eating, and have to be put on an I.V. to survive.
Mom: (in a “you’re being ridiculous” tone) J, he’s nowhere near that.
3. You said you’re going “sightseeing around the world.” Where are you planning to go?
I have big plans to visit England and Scotland at some point, but I think I’ll probably keep that trip on the back burner until I leave Korea for good. This year I’m looking into visiting Moscow and St.Petersburg. And possibly Hawaii or Australia. We’ll see.
4. You also said you went to Pittsburgh. How was it?
Amazing! I’ll be posting several updates about my adventures in Pittsburgh (and Pennsylvania at large) in the near future. Stay tuned.
5. So now you’re back in Seoul. Are you still teaching at the same school?
Yes, but this year I’m teaching 6th grade. (I taught 2nd grade last year.) The 6th grade English program at my school mainly consists of writing practice and novel study, which makes it the perfect fit for someone with my background and interests. My students are incredibly smart this year. Gotta stay on my toes!
6. Any big changes in 2017?
It’s kind of embarrassing to list my New Year’s resolutions, because I realize that they’re basically identical to the ones I made 4 years ago. The difference is, I’m really sticking to them this time. With a less strenuous work schedule and no pet-owner responsibilities for the coming year, I now have time to put all of these plans into motion.
a. Lose weight – It’s a big goal, but I’ve done it before. After some trial and error, I’ve finally come up with a diet/exercise plan that works for me and that helps me lose weight at a healthy rate. I’ve already dropped 8 pounds in the first month alone. Just gotta keep it up.
b. Write something every day – I’m trying to set aside 2 hours for writing every day. Whether it’s a story, an essay, a book review, or a blog post, I just need to write something. I’m happy with the progress I’ve been making on a project that’s been sitting around for years, and I’m hoping to post at least one blog a week. Hold me to it!
c. Become more sociable – I know, it’s hard for those of you who know me to imagine me needing to add “become more sociable” to a list of New Year’s resolutions. But, there’s definitely something to be said for total exhaustion. For the past few years, my weekday schedule has basically consisted of work, dinner, going home and getting Kimchi situated, and then passing out. This year I’m trying to remedy that by making more plans, accepting more invitations, and staying in better touch with friends and family.
d. Complete a daily task – At the beginning of the year I bought a small planner and started writing down little goals to complete each day. These goals might be something simple like “Listen to Elvis” or “Eat Indian food,” or something a little more challenging like “Learn the Bill of Rights.” Whatever it is, I’m always doing something to try and break out of my usual routine. I’m open to suggestion if you can think of any worthwhile additions to the list.
7. Still single?
Yup, but with any luck the aforementioned weight loss and improved social calendar will be changing that before too long.
8. What are you reading these days?
I just finished Stephen King’s Revival, which I’ll review at Those Sentences in the next couple of weeks, and now I’m three or four chapters into Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer. On weekends I take a break from whatever novel I’m reading and read an essay or short story. Current faves include: Nikolai Gogol, Wendell Berry, Orrin Grey, and Bill Kauffman. Good stuff.
9. What are you listening to these days?
In the spirit of breaking out of my usual routines I’ve recently created two new iTunes playlists, one called Swingabilly and the other called Sawdust. Swingabilly is a collection of big band jazz, classic and neo-swing, rockabilly, and hulabilly songs. In case you’re wondering, “hulabilly” – I admit this was a new one for me too – is like rockabilly with a Hawaiian twist. Dig it:
“Sawdust” is a collection of Delta blues, classic and neo-bluegrass, and old country. What can I say? I’m feeling old-fashioned these days.
10. Last question. What do you think of what’s going on with Donald Trump?
The truth is, I try very hard not to think of what’s going on with Donald Trump. But of course that’s nearly impossible, because, just as I predicted, a lot of my liberal friends on Facebook overreact to every single thing he does. Seriously, if Trump took an aspirin liberals would declare headaches a victimized minority and start breaking Starbucks windows somewhere. #StandWithHeadaches #HeadacheJustice #MyHeadacheGrabsBack
Is there a None of the Above Club I can join to be with other people who don’t like the president OR the “resistance?” Please? Come on. They did it in Brewster’s Millions!
Anyway, I hope this brings everything up to speed. Like I said, I’m gonna be posting about my Pittsburgh trip very soon and then trying to post at least one update every week. Drop me a line and let me know what’s up. ‘Til then, my friends, be well.