TYPE B in TAIPEI, PART IV: The Pursuit of Happiness

Temple in TaipeiSomewhere along the way, I must have made the right decision. In light of how things have turned out for me over the past few years, I really can’t help but believe that I’ve played my cards well. When I was a kid, I would often wish I lived or was from somewhere else, anywhere else. Well, not quite anywhere—a place where things happened would have been nice. Unless people have lived under the soul-crushingly oppressive boredom that looms over backwater hinterlands like southeast Oklahoma, they can never truly understand it. Seriously, I wouldn’t be surprised if “Hillbilly Deluxe” by Brooks and Dunn, which glorifies this drudgery, was written about my hometown. In fact, the only way to survive in such a place is to somehow inoculate oneself against boredom, or learn to partake in the the things which people in these areas do to occupy their time—things like shooting animals, satellite television, and driving back and forth up and down Main Street on Saturday nights. Obviously, I never quite succeeded. Continue reading

TYPE B in TAIPEI, PART III: Time, and What to Do about It

Siluo Elementary SchoolComing to the end of an adventure, no matter how short, always seems to provoke a period of introspection in me. The length of the period of self-reflection seems to increase in duration corresponding to the length of the journey. Basically my entire final semester of college consisted of pre-dawn mornings spent drinking coffee in my dorm room staring out the window and wondering what in God’s name I was going to do next. I spent the last two months of my time in Korea after returning from celebrating Christmas with my family in America counting the “lasts:” the selling of my possessions, the last times I would visit my favorite hang-outs, the last time I would say goodbye to kids at the English village. Just two weeks ago, the curtains closed on my most recent adventure, in rural Yunlin County, Taiwan. It was only about four months long, but it felt far longer. Continue reading

THE KOREA KRONICLES, PART XIII: There’ll Be a Great Homecoming

Happy ThanksgivingNine months. I can hardly believe it, but it’s true: I have now lived in Korea for nine months and it’s mind-boggling to consider just how much I’ve changed and grown in that short amount of time. Just two days ago, the faculty and staff of the English camp celebrated a wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner together at a fancy buffet restaurant in Daegu and I can hardly believe I just typed this sentence. THANKSGIVING?!?! Where the hell did 2013 go? By the way, the photo at right shows English camp’s ORU presence in a moment of revelry at said dinner. As it is now approaching the end of the year, I don’t intend to say too much in this post as I am already working on the next installment in my Story Arcs series. In just a quick teaser of that post (or, as is likely to be the case, those posts), which I will publish somewhere around the end of the present year, I can assure you that the transformation I’ve experienced over the past three-quarters of a year is quite a story and I look forward to sharing it with you all. Continue reading

THE KOREA KRONICLES, PART X: Seoul Patrol

At the PalaceWell, it’s happened you guys. I’ve been absolutely smitten by a city. Sorry, Daegu. A light load of kids this past week at the village meant all of the teachers got a day off work. Alyssa and I, we lucked out and got last Friday off. Hashtag three-day weekend, hashtag mini-vacation, hashtag awesome. You may not have read my post from a couple of weeks ago about the Week from Hell, but just know that I needed a break. Last week was a great opportunity to recharge and be reminded of the reasons why I like my job.

Most significantly, I only taught a grand total of seventeen classes—and bear in mind that my classes are only forty-five minutes long apiece. It was like, “WHAT DO I DO WITH MYSELF?!? LOL, JK.” Trust me, I can handle free time very well. On Thursday after we’d finished teaching, Alyssa and I hopped a cab from the village to Waegwan and, from there, took the Mugungwha-ho (slow train) to Dongdaegu Station, Daegu’s version of DFW for the national rail network.

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