I have no clocks because I don’t like to be reminded of the passage of time. I don’t remember what the book was called, but something I read once talked about how we took power away from God when we made clocks and set them up as our new idols, forever worshipping the efficient use of time. Killing time, spending time, allocating time; all new ideas that turned time into currency, to be bought and sold, and, most condemning of all, wasted. The notion that we could waste the seconds, that they somehow should be wrung out for all they are worth, is not ingrained in the human psyche. Rather, it was invented along with clocks. The ticks, so arbitrary in reality, march our lives along to a beat, and woe to the one who steps out of line to admire the view. He will be crushed beneath the march of the future.
So I don’t keep clocks. The ticking drove me mad. I can’t sleep when I hear ticking, thinking of all the time I’m not sleeping, not using well, but lying awake as the hours tick by. You could drive me insane quite easily if you stuck me in a room with a clock. So I don’t keep them.
Going along the highway and being able to absorb the ads and billboards is like having your finger on the pulse of the culture. When I’m in a bus riding down the Korean highway system, I don’t have my finger there. I can’t feel it. Usually. Today I was able to (probably) correctly translate a phone company billboard. It said something like “Customers are family too.” It’s the kind of inane, cliche thing billboards usually say. It was weird, because in that moment something shifted in my perspective. All the mystery and attractiveness of foreign life flickered, shuttered, began to fall. The mystery is being shaken slowly down, until life in Korea becomes as commonplace and media-saturated as America was.
As soon as I sat down all my words dried up. The words that had percolated with the coffee while I was washing the dishes, that swirled and seemed ready to drip down my fingers, slid back up with gale force speed as soon as my digits headed for the keyboard. Is it because I forgot to close the cupboard doors?
Getting lost is not something to romanticize. Getting lost is scary and dangerous. What if you ask the wrong type of person? What if no one knows? What if no one will try to speak your language and you end up staying out all night? Getting lost is scary.
Who stopped by during the night to gurgle and wake me up, and drop me off a feeling of desolation? This is why I shouldn’t read about deserts first thing in the morning. I get all dried up.
And there is a bubbling sensation in my left shin. Like something has been blocked. Maybe I just need to exercise, or maybe I walked too much. It’s hard to say.
My body is only a vehicle for my head, after all.
I dreamed of a sunburn and blistered skin last night. I looked it up today to see what it meant. Dreammoods.com said “To dream that you have a sunburn indicates that there is an emotional situation or problem that you can no longer avoid. Some urgent matter is literally burning through to your soul and demanding your immediate attention.” Well that’s true. I have an external and an internal problem. Externally I am worried I might be deported. There is talk, and lots of teachers at some Canadian schools have been. So there’s that. Mostly I am afraid of dealing with a lot of stuff. Not the actual event itself. I would live, and it would be amazing writing material.
Then there is the matter of if I were, what to do with my life. That is always an internal situation, but this threat makes it seem more real, more immediate, thrust the question into the forefront of my brain. That frontal cortex so famous for making us rational beings. Anyway it was a burning question yesterday, so my brain turned it into a weird sunburn on my back and pus-filled blisters on my chest. I tried to go deeper into meaning but blisters didn’t turn up anything useful.
I listened to a sermon about Joseph and dreams today. I wondered if any of my dreams are like his, showing me my future. Or are they just my brain turning problems into pretty metaphors and the result of too much pork?
I just ordered pizza online. This is a huge moment in my expat life. I have never EVER ordered food by myself to be delivered. I have had friends call for me, and have gone to pick up food oodles of times, but this is my first time doing it all alone. I am stupidly nervous and proud. What if they ask me something in Korean? It will be okay. I am telling myself it will be okay.
They said they will deliver around 3:24. Seems oddly precise.
Travel writing. What is it? The definition I just found on Google says it is writing in which the author describes places they have visited and their experiences while traveling. Or something. Am I a travel writer? No. I don’t really travel. I just happen to live in a foreign country. But I do not travel around and have experiences on purpose. They happen more or less by accident. Just as interesting.
Take, for instance, that fear that many people have that when they are out and about everyone is watching them. If you’re a foreigner in Korea, that’s not just idle paranoia, but a fact of life. You either perpetually hate it or end up resigned to it.
This morning on my way to work I dropped my trash off. I hate taking out my trash. For one thing, I’m always scared my landlord will come and yell at me that I’m doing it wrong. For another, I have to walk by the convenience store and other shops there, and it’s weird to do something as personal and gross as taking out the trash so publicly. Like anyone sitting outside the convenience store has to watch stanky trash go by. Way to ruin the ice cream and chatting, yo.
At one point, I hated taking the trash out so much I had about six bags on my balcony, and had to take them out all at once on a weekend. I decided never again, and have since just taken them out like a danged adult in the mornings. Paying the bills is another danged adult thing I dread. It’s easy, really. We pay at that same convenience store, and there’s a nice young kid who does it in the morning. But I have to do it before work, and usually I’m just not up for anyone saying anything to me at all. I wish he didn’t speak English, because then the exchange could be in silence. Much like going to the cafe down the road.
Amazing how quickly a mood can go from great to terrible in the space of five minutes. Just give me three thousand questions from five kids and that’ll do it.
Today is Friday. Thank God It’s Friday. On the one hand, it’s really nice having a consistent daily schedule. On the other hand, it sucks feeling like you only get to live on the weekends and for about 3 minutes every night.
I bought a new ergonomic bag for my trip to New Zealand. It’s just as silly as it sounds. It has a billion pockets and zips in such a way that doesn’t let hooligans MUG ME. Come at me, bro! My zippers are body side and protected. It’s really only for the one trip, and maybe camping if I ever go. B said I should wear it in Seoul. That’s a laugh and a half. You don’t dare be unfashionable in that city.
I am writing in the early morning, around 10am, and it feels good. It feels flowing and natural. 6am might be too early, but 9 or 10 feels just right. Coffee in me, juice at hand, food in my belly.
Keep it locked up tight, the worries. Don’t borrow from tomorrow.
“This is being a writer. This is being a real writer. Forging ahead. Figuring it out. Working with zero budget and borrowed minutes from an already-busy life. Not knowing if you’ll get that dream agent, or if your book will ever be a bestseller, but sitting down in front of the page anyway to make the sentence in front of you the most beautiful sentence that it can be.” – Lauren Sapala
This amazing quote will help me forever. Thanks, Lauren!
Today is going pretty well. I have a lot of extra time since we’re doing nothing but testing this week in LA. I should have lots of time to write and read. I could also be working on Summer Camp stuff. Oh yeah.
Let’s see how creativity goes at school. I might read a book. I might write a new story. I might do none of those things. But whatever I do, I want to do it nicely and gratefully and not worry or stress out too much.
This week does feel a bit like a copout week. Like even the classes without a test feel like they should be lax, easy, not real, where I can sit and just relax.
I just sent off my reports cards. It felt pretty anticlimactic. There wasn’t the feeling of intense pressure to get it done. That’s down to my incredible planning skills. I had as much of it done as I could do a couple weeks ago, and added in what I got when I got it. No hurry, no worry. Of course some of the teachers were late getting their grades to us, but we expect it by now, so we can plan in their lack of planning.
Last night was strange. My dreams were intense, but I can only remember part of one. At one point I woke up slick with sweat. Actually dripping. I don’t know if it was from the heat or some brief illness. Either way, I had to strip, and so then woke up cold around five. Interesting night. I feel okay now though. I did my meditation as soon as I could and listened to part of a TED talk from Ann Lamott. I’m really getting into TED. They’re bursts of inspiration for life.
I also found out I’m a multipotentialite, which is a word I love. Emilie Wapnick is my new hero. I’m excited to delve into that topic and explore more. I keep finding out that I’m not as weird or crazy or flightly or spastic or lost as I thought, but just very very different.
I kind of don’t like that though. I’m getting tired of finding out I’m super different than the world. I’m going to have a list after my name of all the reasons why I don’t fit in and am NOT LIKE YOU. INFJ. HSP. MP. When will it end? And I hate that this is a concern but I feel like I’m trying really hard to justify myself, and no one is going to take it seriously. Oh my gosh, they will say, you have so many things special about you. You must be the most unique snowflake to ever sputter and fall from the sky.