Update on two mundane things that arose at the same time -> early May.
1. Driving a car. It’s been pretty okay. Still haven’t gone that far, the furtherest probably being down to Mum’s. It’s extremely convenient for things like that. Like all convenient things it’s easy to forget how inconvenient life was before it. I always drive at the speed limit or under it but I seem to be very much in the minority. Especially on the highway. It used to bother me a lot but less now. It’s interesting how various public campaigns like quit smoking, drink driving etc. seem to have gone fairly successfully (at least that’s how I see it) but speeding seems to be one of those things that many people do as much as they can get away with. Maybe it’s that most people think they can safely drive faster than what is prescribed, and maybe they can. It’s just one of those things (like telling half-truths) that makes life a heck of a lot simpler if I don’t do it.
I guess I don’t drive anywhere near enough to get really frustrated with other drivers. Last Monday we drove through Torquay and up through the middle of Geelong to N.Geel – through all the traffic and traffic lights – and for me that was draining. I can only imagine what it would be like driving in busier places.
It’s a bit disconcerting playing a couple of hours of GTA V then going straight out and jumping in the car IRL. I am concerned I’ll just slip into game mode an mount the kerb, run the red light and ram the guy in front. I still have moments of wishing I’d got a Cube instead of the Micra. It’s barely less bland than a korean car.
2. Cat. It’s been a whole lot of fun having a cat. Since May she’s been gradually getting used to being part of the family to the point where she’s now pretty cocky; meowing and head-butting me an hour before feedin’ time—literally putting her paw on top of my hand and saying ‘hey, … food’. Well not quite literally, but the hand part is true. Charu is obsessed with food.
I have now had to clear three (3) dead offerings out of the house. One, a pigeon in the weeks after Charu started living inside. The pigeon looked like a murder scene investigation set-up on the kitchen floor with drops of blood and small feathers around it. Charu witnessed my dismay when I found it and shovelled it out the door, and I fancy she had a facial expression of remorse, confusion or something like, ‘but I thought you’d be happy’. Then there was a small, drowned-looking mouse in winter. Then last night a full-sized rat. Both the last two placed in a central-axis of the house, near the heater and where I put my bag when I come in. Charu was lying next to this dead rat and rolling around looking all coy and happy. The rat looked very fresh and thankfully not bleeding. It’s hard to get used to this death aspect of cats.
In some ways it’s not a great co-incidence that these two things, getting a driver’s license and cat happened at the same time. We’d like to go away for longer than a night but always end up thinking about the cat going hungry. We’d like to take Charu with us but cats aren’t like dogs. It got me thinking about the history of cat domestication and I read a little about it last night. Indeed, while dogs have been around us for much longer, and are into the whole travelling nomad hunter tribe thing, cats on the other hand only started hanging out with humans once we started settling down into farming anchored down lifestyles.
My solo driving phase officially began today. After one failed attempt at getting the license 3 weeks ago, I got it last Thursday. We did some sunday-driving to a place where I once resided—Anglesea. Actually that’s where I first started this here blog, or to be completely accurate, blogging in one form or another. There’s no record of it so you’re going to have to take my word for it, but my earliest bloggin’ memory was of bloggin’ the day after the planes flew into the WTC + pentagon. I don’t know if it was even called blogging back then. Sadly those files, and maybe even files for a year or more after that got deleted at some point – but whatever. If they turn off the electricity it’s all going to disappear.
I can’t get used to the fact that it’s winter now but I am still getting sunburned if I am outside for too long during the day without wearing sunscreen. I don’t like sunscreen and it’s an alarming thought that I might have to wear it every day. I wear a daggy hat sometimes but don’t feel like wearing it every day. Non-daggy hats are useless because they don’t shade the face. There is no answer to this problem. Either the sun is getting hotter or the environment has changed. I’m sure it’s not that my skin has become more sensitive. It may have a little, but not that much in such a short time—a matter of years—since I can remember being out in the sun at this time of year and not feeling the sting of it after a few hours. I am reminded of an episode of ST:TNG where captain picard is transported to an alien world and lives a whole life in a different culture where the sun is slowly going supernova which effects the planet and eventually destroys it. This is demonstrated by gradually turning up the contrast/brightness in the camera. I may have blogged about this before.
There’s a New Balance clearance centre on smith street collingwood with 574s for 80bucks, so ebay sellers who advertise products they don’t have can go to oblivion. I couldn’t get the exact colour I was after but I am satisfied.
J-e got a job last week! [at cryptic clue: “to grok” (less deep)] I always knew that when we came here, her job-skills would be more marketable than mine. Her team is Team Baby. If it was me I would insist it be called Team: Baby! or at least Baby team alpha. Anyway, this is good news financially and so one thing we have been sorely lacking is a decent couch. We got a futon sofa couch from Back To The Futon in Preston. It’ll be delivered next week and is sure to do wonders for my posture and productivity.
Well it’s been a good two weeks now here in the new digs and things are slowly coming together. I’ve never moved into a place that was completely unfurnished and without a car or driver’s license getting the big stuff here has taken some doing, along with the kindness of friends, family and new friends. The good thing is if you’re not too choosy then you can get almost all of that stuff for free. Couch, small table, chairs; for all intents and purposes there’s no such thing as op-shops (or community) in Seoul. You see how I’m still complaining about korea.
It’s great to have soil (a really decent (decent for a flat) sized enclosed front yard) and sky (no giant buildings blocking it out and the marbling grey, blue, white approaching sunset. Different sorts of clouds, rainbows, a certain shade of blueness to the blue and rainbow lorikeets zzapping across). I’m also loving the fact that while we’re in a relatively inner ‘burb (in geelong, sure) and that it’s dead quiet at night. It seems that everyone here sleeps at night. In Seoul there was always people walking around, driving around all night. You’d see whole families including little kids out at 11:30pm—it’s nice that there’s no fear of street crime there but kids should be in bed.
Packing day is done. And it was a lot less trouble than I thought it’d be.
When I came to Korea I came with one large bag—not even a suitcase—just a cheap nylon bag I got from the Vic markets. And now there is 35 or something boxes and it all has to go in part of a shipping container. It’s nice being in the apt. with nothing here. I’d like to be a minimalist kind of person the whole time but it’s just not me. We don’t actually get on a plane til friday so there was a couple of things that had to stay back, like the mattress. It wasn’t coming anyway since 8 years of compression has left it pretty useless. Come Fri morn I guess we’ll either toss it out on to the footpath (pavement) or burn it. Thankfully the weather deities have been smiling on us and the last day and the next two has been/will be unusually mild. Tomorrow’s top: 14℃ !!!
This meant that the heavy coat could go in a box, saving precious room in the suitcase—the suitcase I’ll be living out of for the next 1-2 months. Before getting back to Australia we’re off to Malaysia for two weeks, which I’m looking forward to. Most of all I think the food. Korean food is good but it does get a bit monotonous.
Well here we are. January 17, 8 years ago I left Australia to try working in South Korea.
Today I did my last little bit of teaching English here. For most of the hour I sat waiting and it seemed like it was going to be a no-show, but then the guy arrived. It didn’t matter much to me—I get paid either way. But it was a very quiet, unceremonious way to wind it down. Not that this means I am necessarily giving up on teaching English as a second language, or as a foreign language (although I might) but I am giving up on korea.
I feel like I’ve been here about three years too long. Without having learnt the language I’ve learnt as much as much about the culture as I care to and I have grown tired of it. That’s not really as bad as it sounds. I can remember having similar feelings of boredom with Geelong and Australia before I left to come here. One thing I can tell you I’ve learnt in this time about myself is that I am grateful to be a citizen of australia and be able to return when I want. Fourteen more days here.
I seem to remember that when I was a kid the feeling of moving from one year to the next had real definition. It was a snap sudden thing that happened when I woke up. BuDdding! I’m 10!
I’ve been sliding gradually into 35 for the last 6 months.
All I got was:
an automated email from the sonic youth forum stating happy birthday
a txt msg from the g/f, also stating happy birthday
the news that I may have to refund 51 bucks on an ebay package that has not yet reached its destination
and a reminder of something terrible I did last year.