Monday, January 2, 2012
Out of Oz
I had ten, glorious days in Korea. I slept most nights in a jjimjjilbang...when I left, I figured I was about as clean as I could get...and wandered Seoul like a very large, very cold amusement park during the day. I spent three days in Daegu with Wilmarie, Nam-Hee and their boys (would have liked to put a couple of pictures up, but I seem to have misplaced my camera), and an evening in Bundang with my Dark Lord and Master (and his wife and spawn). It was not a remarkably eventful trip, and a little disappointing (the Asia Eros Museum, which I was going to visit, has vanished - apparently it closed down), but I got to see my peeps, got to have two lessons with Belynda, in which we worked out most of Kashmir, and ate some great food. I also had a lot of conversations about leaving Shanghai. I have been planning to escape since, oh, October, November? I've made no secret of this. It's a daily struggle, dealing with my neighbors and the idiotic things they do. Not that people don't have a tendency to be idiots no matter where you are in the world - they're just more tightly packed together here. And things at school are...less than satisfactory. I mean - my fellow art teacher is a GREAT teacher, but otherwise a complete moron, and I have to share a classroom with her. But as I was walking around Namdaemun Market on Thursday, my last morning in Seoul, I began to question my decision to leave. There are SO many places I want to see in China, and I've hardly scratched the surface. I could possibly get experience teaching middle school, if I could get the school to move me up (and if I could stomach the colleagues I would, then, be working with). I have a great apartment, I'm not far from the subway, and there are things I like about Shanghai....the fabric market, for example. I'd have to figure out how to live with the Shanghainese without going crazy, which would be challenging, but I've been with people who HATE their host country neighbors, and I don't want to be like that. But more than anything else? I'm arms reach from Korea. I don't know if I want to go back to live...it's never the same, is it?...but it's nice to know I can hop a plane if I want and be there within two hours. Is that worth another year here? Maybe not. But with all the other reasons to stay, I think another year in Shanghai might be warranted. Unless the school in Istanbul calls. Then I'd be out of here faster than you could say, "Yallah, habibi!"