shopping therapy

This weekend’s foray followed girlfriends coming to visit me here in the country.  Despite the torrential downpour, we managed drink and eat non-stop for an entire day.  And talk.  About almost nothing but adoption.  It was nice to see them but maybe it’s best to see them individually?  Sometimes I wish I could erase OTHER people’s memories…out of self protection…I emailed the boy the other day and told him to stop breaking my heart too.  Okay.  Let’s just have a spotless mind free-for-all and zap everyone.  Myself included.

Unfortunately, there was no such thing as sleep because Korea’s summer break is essentially America’s spring break and CheongPyeong’s riverside is Daytona Beach.  Drinking, fireworks, whooping and hollering, throwing up, shrieking, etc.  The only thing not spring-break about it was none of the girls were taking off their shirts for release on DVD.  I went outside to bang on the stainless steel door of our inn neighbors to tell them to shut the hell up for the third time and was shocked to see that while I was cursing and tossing and turning, the sun had already come up.  All those things I said about CheongPyeong being vacation in my backyard?  Go during the school week.  Preferably exam week.

Repairing the art installation for re-exhibition means traveling to Seoul and back, sleeping in strange places, spending money on transportation and crappy food, and being surrounded by adoption.  It’s totally draining.  And also solitary work that’s not glamorous and that nobody wants to be part of.  This is on top of the usual TRACK work, which can be characterized as self-motivated work at a computer screen after your day job – again solo and in isolation.  The work that NEEDS to be done just takes a huge amount of time and commitment.  It’s jealous work that doesn’t appreciate you doing anything else.  It keeps your head in adoption land too.  And since, for me, there’s no counterpoint, then it’s probably not very healthy for me to do.

So there was no room at the adoptee inn the following night and they wanted me to pay for the couch, so I decided to CONTINUE doing TRACK work on my laptop and took a cab to Seoul’s all night shopping district.  I went up to a second floor coffee shop called SEATTLE and got a tiramisu and coffee set.  I was amazed to get cream containers, but of course the cream containers here are ALWAYS past their prime and they ALWAYS separate and coagulate in your coffee.  If it’s not totally gone, I always just drink it.  It’s just not worth the hassle to correct, and they just give you more of the same anyway if you do.

SEATTLE was refrigerator cold and I could barely sit still for the ten minutes it took to eat my tiramisu flavored cake-shaped whipped cream and coagulated cream coffee.  But somehow, somehow I managed to stay the two and a half hours until my laptop battery died and then some.  I went and asked for an Irish coffee and had to tell them how to make it.  I also indicated I was freezing by hugging myself and shivering, but I think they just turned the air conditioner fan higher…They played Elliott Smith for two hours and I thought I was going to go insane, whereupon they switched to Wilco but also had that on a loop forever.  At 5:00 am, thinking I’d rather wait in the hot, moist, stuffy underground for the first subway train, I settled my bill and tried to chat up the cashier about the music and I asked him if he was from Seattle.  The kid just looked up kind of dazed and said yes, but I don’t think he understood a thing I said..

I must add that I fell asleep on the train, missed CheongPyeong and not wanting to wait another hour for the next train took the bus back home.  Nothing like taking three hours to get home.

Jane asked me, “so what do you think about dating adoptees?”  Okay.  Relationship is just the counterpoint I need.  But more adoption land is not the kind of thing I need.  So I’ve met two married adopted couples here in Korea, (who didn’t meet here) so I guess it happens.  I’m skeptical though.  Was it Jackson Browne who had a song called, “lawyers in love?”  When work and home are a continuum, what does that do?  Don’t they want a vacation from law?  From being the same?  From their pointless lives?  From armageddon?  The answer Jackson?  Shopping.

I got home after two nights with not really any sleep, read my email and was it just me being tired or did the whole world get stupid overnight?  And then I hopped back on the bus to transfer my money so I could pay my overseas remittance in the closest bank, which is in Chuncheon, another hour ride away. I wish I got frequent flyer miles for the train and bus…I probably racked up eight hours this weekend.

Myeongdong in Chuncheon is actually a nice little stretch of shops.  The buildings are only about 4 stories tall, and the three blocks of it are 100% pedestrian so it’s got some nice atmosphere to it.  I proudly didn’t purchase anything frivolous and only spent about $11.00 at Daizo.  Which is something I would do in Seattle if I were back home.  It’s really amazing what $11.00 bucks will buy at Daizo!  And Chuncheon’s is four floors high, so it’s about twice the size of the one in Seattle.

And then I ate at Han’s deli, where the sign said:  돈트 worry, 비 happy.

I ate chili shrimp spaghetti and a cola and it was yummy.   Then I took a cab back to the bus-seu teu mi nal where I got stuck in E-mah teu and got some fish tank gravel (for my paper-making project – long story) and a shelf tank top which will allow me to reduce one more layer while dressing as a school teacher.  (woven shirt must be worn with an undershirt to hide bra = 3 layers during 85-90 degree heat with 60-70% humidity)  And some nice-looking beef, since I have to cook for myself this whole summer break.  Waited an hour for the next bus and another hour bus ride home.  And then slept a couple hours only to write this.

Tomorrow:  * lesson plans to submit to the board of education, TRACK work, repeat from * across, every day, until Friday whereupon it’s train to Seoul to become an adoptee again on the weekends, and then one week of vacation where I’ll work on TRACK work.  And then repeat from * two more weeks, followed by 6 more months of school.  At that point it will have been two years here.  Certainly not the taking culture lessons and being near fluent in Korean that I’d imagined before coming here!

Looking forward to next month’s payday where I can begin to buy winter clothing.  The shit emergency clothing I bought, along with my converse, are toast.  Eat, consume, die.

2 thoughts on “shopping therapy

  1. Women and shopping — it’s Yin & Yang, Baby!!

    At least your apparently secure gig allows you the luxury of making all sorts of interesting mistakes — until you finally get it right, somehow.

  2. I’m a huge proponent of the hook up with someone completely different from yourself school of thought.

    It does mean more sparks, but I like those myself.

    But mostly? After 20 years with the same woman who I don’t see eye to eye with on almost anything, I’ve never been bored. Not once.

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