Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dear Penelope, [part 1-departure]

Much has transpired in the last week, that were I try to recount it all, it might bore us all to death, but of course that's exactly what I'll try to do... the processing must begin somewhere.

 First: it was freezing. Let's start there. And I had shipped my coat the day before. It took a bit to determine what layering combination would work best. My last day of work. My least favorite student wasn't there and as i stared at her empty seat i realized my other least favorite student hadn't been there the day before either- at which point my eyes gazed heavenward to God's infinite mercy. And there were lots of last looks from students coming and going and smiles and waves. And there the day went rather ordered, and the end rather awkward where sg tried to first shake my hand then hug me. She's been isolated I feel for far too long. As she thanked me somewhat matteroffactly and said she was bad at these things. That was after first wanting to keep me the full hour at the end of my day, then saying no i could go, and then rescinding the offer since she didnt want to finish my grading for me. It was my fault since I should've just thrown them away in the first place or not even tortured the students with them, and saying rather idiotically that it was "challenging but i'm glad i did it". As it is I was treated to my last greentea bingsu by my coworkers with cranberry decked egg tarts and a cappachino. And then home to pack. And mtoo trying to induce me to stay at a lovemotel. Oh godhelpme.

Second: I met Yesal and Sara for a last cuppa at the coffee farm. Divine. And then onward to the yearlongwait for the early dweller settlement village. She tried to charge us and seemed puzzled when we told her we lived on the island. We sat in a hut, we froze, and then we went to eat fried chicken. It was amazing. Cut up, eaten with our fingers and chopsticks, and pickled radishes on the side. I crave it even now. I should've paid attention however to the subtle signs of Jeju trying to reject me, but one remains optimistic despite because the good of the coffee and chicken outweigh. Because then after not finding socks and a 1/2 hour wait at a bank that wouldn't help me close my account we played the worst 2 hours of smbrothers ever, only to be outdone by going to Jeong-ehs for the last time and being told we couldn't sit because there wasn't any room and then being obstinate about it we stood there until in a savingface sort of way they allowed us to crowd in once they saw we weren't leaving. Then there was being overcharged 7,000w at the sushi place and yeasl being forced to intermediate with her k-skills. and leaving tearful because they were basically assuming she was a liar. So we just left. And then the startled look of the server at the pajon place who just seemed terrified to encounter foreigners again! It was best that we called it an early night. Though it ended on a lovely note with an almost tearful goodbye to the innisfree lady saying she would never forget me. We took our picture together. Yeasl bought me a nailpolish named Caseopia. Stardust and paintspeckles all in one.

Third: The last day. It was one of those things with a whole bunch of very quiet introverts and Mtoo. Sentries and unsatisfying hurried goodbyes. Where i was too tired or frazzled or emotionally brimming for proper goodbyes or gushing farewells. My last breakfast delicious. My too heavy pack. 18.5kg. The last giveaways. Giving sg the key as mtoo waited in the taxi. Getting edgy with her speaking korean which complicates things because then instead of being succinct in our directions it becomes a convoluted guessing game- where is mini-mil? Do you mean here? There? Oh hell! We arrived early. They wouldn't let us in until we waited 10minutes after and began knocking and drawing sad faces. Dammit mini-mil! Honestly!

We played speed scrabble. We had a taste test of americano v. my dutch handdrip. Obvious difference even in the blindtastetest with cookie palette cleanser. Delight.  Agoodmoment. And then mtoo giving me a hard time for being on a budget in seoul while i'm on vacation. Which almost made me lose it and finally came to a point where i told her she had to stop or else. At which point she realized just this once, that it wasn't going to, shouldn't be all about her. Or otherwise there would've been some rather unpleasant things said, as I shook my head looking tearful and violent about it all being a bit too much. Since though only expressed with an occasional "i'm sad" my whole earthy self was being displaced and oozing into the ocean. That said, despite protestations that we could stay longer I felt already that we could delay the inevitable no longer. So we hailed a taxi and mtoo and me went off into the afternoon. I was able to text Y later to express dissatisfaction at the rather hurried half hugged departure. I blame mtoo for disrupting the balance but then without her it wouldve been hard to drag myself away from the combined loveliness of e, y and s. And emily insisted i take her jacket to seoul. Aww...

Anyway, till tomorrow.
Part 2... i know. wait, what there's more!? oh hell! in writing and catching up I will perhaps find myself back in the present where i belong. Eating lychees out of a bag and chocolate bark and trying to fight sleep because it's only 930.

my love, m.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Admittedly, I thought maybe I could sneak under the blogging radar a bit while you were traversing SE Asia, but no - there you are, hiking stairs and food touring and Facebooking and attracting new friends like a magnet. In all your loveliness. And saying, "Um, friggin' blog already." So here I am.

K.Lo's ear tubes in/adenoids out went well, considering. I mean if we did it all over again with the help of our crystal ball, we would not have had to arrive predawn at the hospital to bargain for a price with a fatted calf. What? Yes anyway - you bargain for a price at 5:45AM in the morning and if you're charming enough you get 30% off the estimated fee and decide you're fine with that. We witnessed K.Lo loopy, gazing at the cloud-covered florescent lights and the curtain walls and saying, "Wouldn't it be great if we lived in a hospital all the time and played hide-and-seek..." which was charmingly slurred when she spoke it. And then they said, "Whoops, have to go back to the other room and wait for x amount of time, we're not really sure how long, because it's too warm in the OR and we can't regulate it.' Which sucked, because she was literally all set to go. And then became very hungry, and very restless, and very whiny. But we all lived, and managed. Stinging ear drops were the most traumatic aspect of the weekend, but cake and birthday presents from Grandma and Grandpa compensated. And then one of the tubes became blocked, and if I had a nickel for every time that school nurse called me by now... it was a sub, and he randomly was all - I looked in her ear, and I think this is the problem - followed by some very specific details. And so we went to the doctor two days earlier than scheduled and it turned out he was exactly right. 

Meantime: drinking too much coffee? Trying to pare back by at least a cup anyway. Five is overdoing it, at least when one's thoughts and heart begin racing excessively. So more tea maybe. But I do love coffee. And hair? Approaching or ensconced in another phase of Awkward, so should I cut again or pin up or... I think I'm going with pins, for now. And silent suffering. I have an end-goal in mind. I did taxes today. It's always a nightmare somehow and makes me feel so. on. edge. but I persevered and am nearly certain they are correct this year and the payback was a good one. 

And the next few days will be a whirlwind of errands for K.Lo's science-center party Saturday and birthday Sunday, and something about a big football game for which we are having friends over? So snacks for that. And art and garden planning, somewhere in the midst. I feel like there are suddenly a lot of events coming up: book club, V-Day, possible movie outing (Beautiful Creatures), possible road trip, cabin camping  in March, anxiously awaiting the fate of the won, and a book-themed baby shower and some other things. Women's Bible Study and retreat weekend and possibly knitting? too many items cycling from hands to air to hands to air and demanding to be caught. But I suppose they'll all land in their place. 

Some random pictures: N.Lo had Western Day at school. I crocheted hearts and hung them on the fireplace. K.Lo at the ear doctor for the bazillionth time. Fearsome medical instruments. One of five shadowboxes displaying Things Removed at said doctor's office in the late 70s, early 80s. Bender hears something. K.Lo's surgery incited a Tooth Fairy visit, as well. My mom does awesome needlework. J.Lo does awesome woodwork. I made doll bedding! two mattresses, pillows and sheets. And N.Lo has a cold, too. 

xo to you, who has much to tell! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

#33 Prep for Launch

Ok so since we last left off... it's been awhile. I haven't had my yoger presso days of relaxing to update at all properly. And this one was filled with Meaghan and some talk about what to do in seoul though my coffee for the first time ever was on the house- about time! And strong enough to leave me shaking. But since the yoger lady is leaving and I'm leaving- it was a good last. I dont have much time to relate- i suppose only in a slapdash way-- there was friday. Then somewhere in there i packed everything including my coat against my better judgment even though it's going to be below freezing in seoul. Whatever! Saturday, we went to the stonepark museum again. There was coffee. Walking. More wandering. More singing. More innisfree if you can believe it. More free socks also. What else. Then it was Monday and there was the postoffice where the original suitcase was 30kg, then Tuesday where i can't recall at all what might have occured except for my least favorite class, Wednesday was the pension office and a pen purchase and the day went on but i was optimistic even though it dragged and the students cursed and asked questions. We made a good end with those classes and i think at least a few students are sorry to see me go. And now today- the last day of class. The last days in seoul mapped. The last wander, the last coffee, the last meal... my apartment almost cleaned, and the k teachers rallied. We're going for coffee and dessert tonight after class. And in the much necessary proof of love kris who helped me with my cat, joined facebook and added me as her friend. So i'm soon to go up the hill knowing they love me and hopped up on caffeine.

I'm over budget and hoping to rein it in by sunday. One of the sara's actually begged off last night because she was overbudget and while i was like lame- i was like no, thats good. That's what people need to do, say no, go on with life, and not overextend themselves on credit. Sure i do hope to pay myself back with final paychecks but still. I will say the pajon i had was AH-mazing. And it gives me ideas for the kind of party i'd have when i come back- have select gatherings where i give people korea socks, they do facials and manicures, and we eat k food and watch a kdrama. What else-- oh yes AA's question-- it's rather obvious in that you almost forget- they're all english teachers. All in a state of transcense- transcience and contractual start and end dates. aLMOST every single foreigner here is an english teacher. Unless you have another type of visa, and missionary visas are relatively new so even they- teach.

Allright i am too ancy to focus-- my mind ablaze. Tomorrow is finally seeing the early dwelling village, coffee farm near me, maybe an oreum if the weather holds for a walk and a wander and then some serious gaming session, maybe popcorn and an all day DAY sort of thing. Saturday I'm dropping off the key, and heading to shin- for the minimil coffee last of lasts... and then to the airport. Allegedly damon is going to meet us... and all i hope to accomplish is a garden tour (somewhat ill-timed but winter etc... must do), a museum and a traditional neighborhood. That's it. Though I think Mtoo has an idea that there will be fancy cocktails and tango in my future... maybe.

No one knows for certain.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

dear old-same,

The storms they are a-brewing. Last weekend it was 70s and sunny and there was much lamenting that it was going to be one of those years with no snow. But now! It's like snow mania. We are mere hours from what is supposed to be a 4-inch fall of perfect snowman/snowball snow. Anticipation is high.

K.Lo's ear saga continues. I took her in Monday for what I predicted to be a boring follow-up, a yawn and everything is fine after so much fuss appointment. And then before I know it I'm scheduling ear tube insertion and adenoid removal. As in surgery. Which isn't as big an ordeal as tonsils, apparently, but still?! Didn't see that one coming. And K.Lo cried a lot, from nerves, which I don't blame her. So that's happening next week on Friday. Yipes.

And then in the midst of my adenoid googling, I happened on all these cross-searches for sleep disorders and was all...??? That's a thing. Maybe it's been K.Lo's thing, her whole sweet, sleep-deprived life! Wouldn't that be amazing.

Oh, so you never answered AA's question which I also had in my brain, on your traveling church members, what do they do on the island (and do they live there all the time or just for a little while)?

A side note about foot-binding and how it is a perfect example of humans being weird and illogical and occasionally insane. Okay, so a culture reveres small feet. But those aren't small feet! Those are broken, folded, squished stump things that used to be feet. I mean, besides the excruciating pain these women went through at the time of binding, it affected their mobility for a lifetime! The whole thing makes me gag. Especially when it can probably be traced back to a single, sadly influential perv with a (mangled) foot fetish. JUST SAYING. This is how crap like Nazism evolves and takes over a people.

Are you wearing the coat home? Could you ship it? (We actually have one of those fur-coat bears! from my dad's mom's coat. But yours would be more of a parka bear.) Anyway, it doesn't've had it since Chicago...I don't know...

Cooking: beef and vegetable soup
Children: quiet
Fireplace: roaring

love to you as you pack it up, or restrain yourself from doing so ~

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

#32 The WALL

dear old-same,

I'm not sure how you could think i wouldn't have googled footbinding. Though even in looking at it- i still find it inconcievable and horrifying... The book ends with her laotong dying in a messy ugly cancerous way and she must repent of all the ways in which she misunderstood the friendship and her friend- though i was surprised at how little insight snowflower had to the things Lily said to her- but perhaps that's the problem with two horses matched together. I don't know. One is tame and safe, the other is wild and chained. They both speak the same language and yet how did they fail to look beyond the words of one another. It's hard sometimes to look beyond them i know. Oh context.

Anyway, i know i'd be perfect laying hands on people but that's because i've been at it for a while now- i'd encourage you to not disavow what is a, stepping int-o spiritual authority- but perhaps just a step back with a, God what is that? And how does one? It really is just a blessing. And i think you're going to find a way to do it eventually with a confidence of knowing that God speaks and you listen and from your heart knowing what the people need, even if it's just what you need- they all sit there with the same tenderness. And I know you are attentive.

Here on the island, I have to endure what is my last pointless staff meeting. Though trying not to resent having to go to work 1/2 hour early. I'm just glad i didn't repress it from my consciousness...

[insert here: i have my first ever successful coffeeshop skype session and boy was it a whopper. my poor friend matt! details later. i mean i seriously thought he was making it up when he was like oh, i can't write it down. he was not being overly dramatic. aka hyperbolic.]

Meanwhile my flatmate V was late to the meeting. And she couldve had the courtesy to text R and me to let us know so we could fuckaround more instead of working a 1/2 hour longer. I was pissed actually but it's my last meeting. And the usual tension of soul sucking children and good moments apply for what was a typical wednesday.

I was going to relate the weekend. But it was one of those - we pushed it maybe, did a little too much. We did praise our ability to travel well together and after some really superb coffee and my innisfree boon and the hair touchups we negotiated and decided on bbq duck for dinner. So it wasn't all bad. I just had that overspent feeling both financially and emotionally. Sjt is convinced we'll meet up for 10minutes in the airport before I leave forever and she'll be coming back from thailand to say a real goodbye, so she was MIA most of the time, and was like ive seen you for 2wks straight. Yes, yes. I KNOW. By sunday we were dragging down and after a different than normal goodbye lunch which was offkilter and weird because we were all OFF, we went to have some more excellent coffee and in a twist we played clue. I won. I'm really good at it. I should've been a detective. That and i'm equally good at deception so...  And then we closed the night with baked chicken and the movie clue. Check that off my list! and then i came dragging into monday and thankgodtomorrow is friday!

But lets talk about my innisfree boon. NO its ok we don't have to. But really it's been such a fun thing on the island thanks to matt and a couple friends. V-VIP forever. I used up all my points and i'm shipping some of their awesomeness homeward. Hope it all fits.

Anyway tonight coffee with meaghan at pangs. I have to remember today is Thursday. It is not Friday. No. We have to get through today first. And no it's not mentally healthy to take down your curtains and undo your pillows and photos and trinkets until next week at least. Meanwhile fighting the itch. Even if the suitcase is staring at you and the question looms if everything will fit and do you really have to break up with your coat? It pains you to leave it behind and yet your smaller now- and your waiting for the last allergy test and debating one last visit to the chiro- what are the last things? I dont know. Perhaps it's too much.


old-same, Together, we are better.
let us both rest a while,
and then return to the hill,
on which the shade tree waits.  



Saturday, January 12, 2013

dear old-same,

Aw, I read Snow Flower last year. I'm totally on board. I can't say I remember how it ended, but the experience of reading it stays in my heart. And the foot-binding! I was a little obsessed with that. Do I recommend google image-searching it? Perhaps. Or no. No, don't do it. But maybe. If you find yourself in a darkly curious mood.

Let it be said here and now that I won't continue in a leadership role with C.Council after this term is up (November? lord help me). I'll serve on the council, but I'm just so not a leader. Not saying I'm a follower, because I feel like that's not true either. Maybe more like a one-girl wolfpack to your sleeping-dragon. Or some other solitary creature that's more delicate than a wolf but ornery, but willing - no, seeking - to aid other creatures with love or art or insight. And then fly away, back to my nest for awhile.

And why are there no pills to help a person think on the fly? It's such a weakness and I try not to dwell on it but sometimes, there it is. You want me to - um, er - lay hands on my fellow council members and pray over them? I know you'd be perfect at that, old-same, but not this Catholic-raised spirit. I don't know what this even is, and please don't make me do it with ZERO warning. And thank you God for friends who come to my immediate rescue.

Sigh. That was awkward.

I'm up to purple on the rainbow, after yellow and before white. I'm suddenly in charge of a paper mosaic decoupage thing due late February and I'm currently thinking it should look like stained glass, but how. Can it be done. Also, I'm suddenly-somehow in charge of creating a resurrection garden like this one and can that be done. And there's a city photo contest whose winners will form a calendar... Anyway, all these things emit some light.

Making a new soup tonight - Zuppa Toscana or somesuch? Outlet shopping with Mom tomorrow. Children alternately dazzling and exasperating me in the meantime. Opening the second YA book in my pile, the first absolutely delicious and consumed in the manner of cake. Hoping for the best come March travel and still wishing we could hash it out together rather than individually determining its impossibility and unintentionally wounding the other in our silent stress-filled conjectures. Together we are better, is this not true, old-same?

And Jeremiah - I cannot be-lieve!

much love to you on our virtual secret fan,

Thursday, January 10, 2013

#31 Coming down

Coffee shop. Check.
2 shot cap.
Money in the bank.
Over the wires.
Blue skies.
Warm almost.
And it's Friday.

Things must be slowing down somewhat. I feel a little clear even if i can't manage to go to the postoffice or e-mart. Buying travel insurance must have settled me a bit. I'm reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. I would start this letter by saying, Dear old same, or laotang though we really haven't been pledged to each other, though you know that's the sort of thing I would totally be into, and i'm not sure how the novel is going to end, but they write to each other on a fan and I think we have a better relationship than they do ultimately and our feet haven't been bound so- there's that going for us also.

I love your rainbow crochet and that you actually crochet- remembering the blanket i began once in 4th grade and never finished. I suppose my industriousness is different- I have almost finished another photo album of my journey here- but haven't come close to having photos printed off of the epic adventure. So many projects await me when I come back from Narnia.

dear old same,

when will we meet again? when will i be able to sit by your side and breathe in the same air and learn of you and your quiet and sometimes turbid waters? why does life and circumstance conspire to keep us apart? you know that I hate to wait- a lust for the now and the immediate always throwing me off my gate. i am the sleeping dragon and when awake impatient and huffing on my target. when set upon something it takes a long time to pull me back and reorient me. it need not be devastating but since i am a large fire dragon it takes a lot to right me after having to veer from the course originally set- even if only in our minds and hearts and not in actual plane tickets. what can we say? but we hope and perhaps. though i've not completely given up on the idea of seeing you in march, it seems tenuous and too much to try and breathe life into it, unless the moment is right and it strikes then it'll come together otherwise it seems no use trying to hold something so fragile. we must wait. i can't bare to look at it too closely.

you asked also of these friends forged here- that is the gift of the roaming church. i wasn't kidding about that- they're all from church. the people i know not from church have not rooted and i never see them and there isn't the same impassioned loyalty of- let's do this and THIS, at least not with me. i suppose born of the diligence of trying to stay together every sunday. i can't say that it was really ever so epic until september or october- But we are actually known on the island as being part of the church group- which apparently didn't exist until last year or really fully this. so it's a oh, you're a part of THAT group.

i've gotten to mentor a couple women spiritually and that's been awesome. and i suspect no matter how far a field we go in the world and from facebook and talking there will be a 'remember when' with at least a few of my friends here- a let's reunite across the world sort of thing. i'll be interested to see how it plays out. this kindred-ness. but i don't really know if they'll just be a fond blur or a part of something lasting- which reminds me i've had a blow. and since i know mom is listening, i'll say it to you both- remember jeremiah? my friend of so long ago and so much drama and chaos- is alive- and on facebook. there are no words. i just found out. he was there suddenly commenting on an acquaintance's post. that was tuesday night? i saw it and i've left it there dangling for two days, and busy enough to let it be so. i simply just don't know. but there he is.

but that's how fast i'm going. he's a curious blip amidst the motion of to-do's and meet ups. monday night was rest. tuesday night skype with sjt. wednesday night w/yeasl. thursday night rest. friday night out with jenna for a last of. tomorrow the same. sunday the same. and then my last full week on the island.

my love to you from across the waters,
from this the 15thish day.


Monday, January 7, 2013


See I would have cheated when posting all those epic adventures, splitting them up into 4 days' worth of posts and backdating them...but then we'd only be fooling ourselves, I suppose. But the number count would be all higher and then you could be like, nyah-nyah, Penelope, I posted waaaaay more than you!

What is the nature of the disaster that your mind can't handle? This scary-sad phrasing did not escape my attention. Perhaps a convo between Jeju and VA? Because just then my stomach plummeted.

I'm in awe of your farmhouse coffee-going and noraebang-ing and sledding! especially. All these friendships forged - do all of these lovely co-expats work at the same school as you? Will you return to them one day, or is it a magical moment in time.

Meanwhile I've eschewed new year's resolutions as per recent years but then it's dawned on me the past few days that perhaps I'm in a funk and should resolve some-things if not for the sake of the new year but to uh, buoy myself up a bit. Like cook more - observe wittily more - be mindful of actual joy, rather than guarding myself against it. The usual strategies, maybe. Oh and get back on Twitter and Pinterest not only to stay marginally mindful of the news but to be inspired more. About ideas and projects and things. And to never stop taking pictures. And to not devalue or discount my art, as it seems I readily do. To adorn the porches with plants. And water them.
The list is longer but at that point I get tired and cognizant of its too-muchness, so I'll stop. It's that balance between being over-excited/burning out with the frenetic energy of it all and retaining some level of yes, I am actually excited about xyz. Some sense of moving-forward, or purpose, of it-matters, and quelling the thoughts of well-we're-all-just-going-to-die-so-why. Because sometimes that takes over, it's true.

In accordance with the need to brighten up the days, I learned a new crochet pattern, sort of miraculously - have you ever read such instructions? Insanity. And anyway here is the start of a new blanket of rainbows. 'Til tomorrow or the next day -

#30 On a Spree

So I left you somewhere on day 30/29ish. And a record number of days have passed with no mutual harassment of you should be blogging. I have some sort of sinus headache and a full week awaits me. I have the mild heartache of someone who is leaving all her loves behind, but just vaguely and mostly unaware of the cost. Except it's loss. And love. And a nagging sense of things to do.

I feel of course I must compulsoraily recount the days since.

Somewhere in there the new year rang in. There was the hiking in joelmul on Saturday. I wore my stripped socks. It was unseasonably warm and the snow was melting. We came right under passable for the wander Yeasl and i wanted to take. But somehow we only managed 3.5 hours, my legs felt it though. It was, I recall now, I wanted to see if the coffee farm was open near my house. To go of course. Since in all the days I hadn't yet. But it ended up instead to be a sit down, get a delicious sample, be fed mandarins and cookies and wait for the handdrip handroasted 2 shot/cap awesomeness humming and buzzing and then get on the bus and get gone sort of affair. So we had to take in the experience before we wandered across the upper base of halla-san into cedar forested scenicness. That day I felt i was a pheasant- black, irredescence against a silvered, metaled, glittery forest. Mysterious and luminous. From there we had beef bbq and coffee and we played supermariobrothers and mariokart at the multi-bang.

Then the next day a group lunch, more multi-bang, i think really good coffee to go and snow flurries- and indian food at a place called the raj mahal. There was a little group discontent as s ran off with c into the snow after certain members were chastised for their lack of community- so we all found it rather inappropriate and hypocritical. And well- careless really. But nevermind. That night I was a bright red phoenix in a black laquered and carved room. To which c replied, good luck with that" as he ate his samosa and i glared at him while picking the tandoori spice from under my nail.

I got home much too late and it was only a blurry day break before I was going to meet the group for new years eve dessert and go home at a decent hour but then i was carried away into a couple dart games with coworker james- the worst i'd ever played in my life- but we won't talk about it, and then cajoling sjt to come and suddenly we ended up eating more beef bbq and not until 11 seeing the rest of the group at the substandard but ambience rich coffee and dessert place where we found out harris and craig were going to be live on the radio for new years- so of course we ran on over- james realized in a flash after a lot of english glibness and sarcasm that we were serious and this was a real radio station- he backed out of the door and was like, "i don't belong here" and we lost him into the night. C on a whim felt he needed to be amidst something as the clock ticked, which is the only reason why sjt, jenna and myself found ourselves horrifically surrounded by drunk and obnoxious foreigners at a place called "the factory". We stayed a full minute and waited downstairs for the boys. Sjt felt she could've escaped but i felt as I had in the early days of my island life, inexplicably pulled into the H, C, J orbit and couldn't detach myself from them even if i had really wanted to/tried. Which is why after armed linked wandering across sichong/cityhall and into a cafe bene for a 2shot something and some random dance off did we find ourselves belting out into the universe for 3 hours at a noraebang. Which in itself wonderous and awesome. I almost had them running off to the sunrise for new years since we were already up so late- then sjt and jenna came home with me. i should've now that i think about it. Because it wouldve been epic and perilous and it wouldve paid off. But I didn't.

I didn't push it.

I should've pushed it.

I regret it. But i was asleep by 5amish and 5something hours later awake for brunch. Awake for coffee. Awake for a trek to seongsan for the sunset- it was a curious thing. We made it to the top- and it was one of those mild post-apocalyptic sunsets where it's all grey and orange- like an industrial revolution over london town- and the sun doesn't set, it's just suddenly erased and blotted out as if it never was- dickens bleak i think. but the new years is already setting out to be that yin/yangish of the good and the bad. I bought cookies and water. I was with friends but at a horrible bar. I was up all night singing just short of brilliant. I made the trek to the eastern end of the island but the sunset was only so so- still... i feel the year bodes well overall ? I dont know. Hard to say when i only see a blankspace. Anyway,

It took me 3 days to recover only to do it all over again for my trip down to seogwipo- a place i never got to know really. An hour 1/2 too long away which has warmer weather and more sunshine and less grey. To see the pillars. To walk the trail. To take the group photos. To share roasted potatos with craig. To yell at sjt. To tell everyone we shouldve bought more mandarins. To complain about stopping. To once again find myself at a table with the roaming church eating a delicious chicken dish and inexplicably after a too milky cap and a chocolaty wonder thing from paris baguette- at the noraebang for another marathon singing session. And a late night drive home thankfully thanks to c listening to bon iver and staring out into the dark black island. We got back to shin and sjt and s were both like you can't stay at my house! I was a bit horrified. I wasn't in the mood to cab it. And my dear yeasl opened her home and there i stayed with a kindred hospitable spirit. until church the next day.

C stood up to say goodbye and I almost cried at my own leaving. The sermon was awful and i asked God to give me mercy for the torrent that was coming up against my ears. I drew a tattoo on my hand and waited it out. We ate pizza and salad again, with the group to end all groups- the last 2 weekend being really standouts for group unity compared to our normal factions- and then what- coffee! we had to check in and see about our random act of kindness and how it went over- it seemed underwhelming at first- but i think it was received well- free coffee to the next woman in line. And then we sat and chatted at another horrible coffee place that yeasl, sjt and me abstained from. I held juans hands in mine- they were cold. I talked to emily and she shared her coveted US chocolate with me. And then...

Yes. We went sledding.
We raced. We laughed. Our faces glowed. It was FUN.

Then we caught the bus back to town for dakgalbi and a mulitbang cooldown of excess, and c's goodbye hug to me about the mothering and love i extend to everyone which just reminded me of the absence of that love which floats out and dissipates- and then home. I frankly don't know how i'm still conscious. It's admittedly a bit hard- and i have a hot shower awaiting me. I want to say more about the sledding- and the jokes about how i hold everyones hands because mine are always warm. And how it's just an excuse. Which it is. And not. And entendres about my dreamy backpacker.

But there's a drying volcanic mudpack on my face and my neck is tight and i need a hot shower 1 hour ago. I dreamed i wrote a blood oath with sg's daughter (WTF), autumn has shingles, trying to visit VA has become a disaster my mind can't handle, I have to finish planning my SEA trip, and there's all these floating things i can't hold or write down or process because i'm going too FAST. Let alone the last day of christmas and Epiphany. Christ come. And now with expectancy we WAIT. We hold Him fast. He is with us. But I am screaming against the wind. And i hope at least the last four days will calm the beating in my ears.