Late October

For some reason…it’s so exhausting to write about what I’ve been doing here. Since I last wrote I’ve done so much that I can’t remember everything. I’ll add photos and some more brief posts later. For the most part, I have been enjoying, in a very simple way, a very simple life here.

My feelings are confused. I’m meeting lots of new people. I’m making some friends here, and that’s, to be honest, something I thought I probably wouldn’t do. When I was in England, I didn’t make friends. I enjoyed the time alone. For some reason… while I’m here, I really want to meet people. I want to use my fledgeling Korean and I want to improve it. I actually enjoy meeting the people who are becoming my friends; the interaction, the newness. I met someone recently who says things are “fresh,” or have a “fresh feeling.” I think about this often, now.

I don’t know what changed. Something in me changed.

Maybe because I didn’t know when the change happened and I didn’t expect it and I don’t understand it—that’s why sometimes I’m just racked by feelings I’m helpless to explain. I slept for three hours last night… I’m on a break at work before going back and working until almost 8PM.

I met my first friend last night and he asked me if I’m satisfied with my life here. Sometimes—sometimes I can so easily say yes, I like it here. But last night I paused and thought for a while. I told him I didn’t know. I don’t enjoy my job lately. The kids are worse than before. I’m tired all the time. I’m busy all the time. Weekends are too short to see everyone. So I don’t know if I’m satisfied with my life here.

He offered to call my apartment’s managing office today to ask them about how to set up internet. He also set up a quite detailed curriculum for our studying English and Korean together. I have reason to be grateful, but I’m also overwhelmed. But I think I’ll start to learn Korean quickly if I have to speak it regularly while being corrected and guided.

So my hopes are that soon I’ll have internet in my apartment and I’ll be able to post more regularly—and that my Korean will begin to improve noticeably. It’s frustrating not to be able to express ourselves perfectly, trying to build a friendship. With some friends I’ve made, the realm of feeling is a natural place to go with conversation. We speak about it in English, mostly. They ask, “how do you feel today?” or “what about your feeling?” They ask “did you eat breakfast?” “did you eat lunch?” “did you eat dinner?”… they tell me to sleep well and have good dreams. They’re quite simple about it: I want to see you soon, I like to talk with you, let’s be friends. I’m struck by something jealous—and a bit sad—when they seemingly so easily express themselves this way—then I remember, they’re translating from Korean, and Korean works that way. Still.

I’m trying to be honest. I’m trying just to say what I want to say, trying to stop guessing what they’ll think or how it would sound. I start to write sentences that I’m not sure are correct. I start to practice double-non-aspirated-consonants in front of others. I cried today in a coffee shop. I write letters to people that I can’t ever send, watch the white moon barely crest the building opposite my apartment through the thin curtains, wake up when the sun comes up. The weather’s getting colder. Last night, waiting for the bus to the subway, I was truly cold for the first time since I lived in England. My coworkers ask me, You didn’t bring any warm clothes from home?

There wasn’t winter at home, I say.