Well, kids. Here I am… and it has been officially one year since I have come to Korea. And, as many of you know, I will be here for another year more.
A lot of things changed for me this past year. Some changes you can see, others I believe only I am really aware of. Both, I believe, have been for the better. Overall, and most importantly, I think that I have been really happy in Korea.
I also have done and seen a heck of a lot. Here’s a brief overview:
– got on a flight for the first time since I was 11 and moved to a foreign country
– had a seriously effed up back and did 8 weeks of physio to fix it
– saw palaces and such older than 100 years (about the oldest shite gets in BC)
– cut off all my hair
– had laser eye surgery
– got comfortable walking around the showers at the gym naked… even with people I know around
– went to Thailand
– moved three times (each time to a bigger, better place)
– had a serious cancer scare (thank God it was just a scare!)
– earned my black belt in Tae Kwon Do
– started Teukgong Moosool (at a green belt, currently)
– went to Geomundo Island
– found out I have to watch my blood pressure and that I have an irregular heart beat
– went to Bangkok and Cambodia
– overall, have met some seriously kick-ass people
– had to already seriously miss some kick-ass people because they have gone home
– got some pet squirrels
~Side Note on the Squirrels~
Okay, this is actually a true story. I have two pet squirrels. I have pictures posted on Flickr, but no real explanation. This is causing some people (read: Frances) some discomfort. So, here is the story of how I acquired a couple of pet squirrels.
~An Aside to the Side Note on the Squirrels~
I REALIZE that they are probably, in fact, chipmunks, but "squirrel" is a much funnier word. Seriously. Outloud, say, "Jodi has pet chipmunks." The funny level is up there, but not way up there. Now say, "Jodi has pet squirrels." See how much funnier that is?? Okay, whatever. It is funnier to me. And they are my damned squirrels, so I’m going to keep referring to them as squirrels.
Last Saturday, after drinking all night at the gas station in Suji (that’s not a typo), I got up and met Brendan at Insadong Market. After walking through there we took a cab to Itaewon to grab an early supper. Then we were just wandering around Itaewon when we saw this dude selling wee animals in birdcages on the side of the road. He had all kind of birds, and rodents, and even a kitten (poor thing!) in one of the cages. Well, we saw the squirrels, and at first… we were perplexed. Neither of us had seen caged pet squirrels before. One of us said, "That’s the weirdest looking rat I’ve ever seen." Once I realized what they were, I was interested. Even though one of them looked dead at first (it wasn’t). And even though I begged (BEGGED) Brendan to try and convince me that I didn’t need a pair of pet squirrels, he did a shitty-bum job and I ended up buying them. As a final note to our trip to Itaewon, as we were walking to the bus stop, Brendan turned to me and said, "Itaewan is usually the one place in Korea where white people aren’t stared at. Way to go." People were definitely staring at us and our cage of squirrels.
I really like them. They are extremely cute and they will eat from my hands now. They sleep a lot. One loves to run in the wheel. I have named them Martin and Jim. Martin is the one that loves the wheel. He will be the first to escape. I sense it.
~End Side Note~
There’s so much more than that… but those seem to be the major things. Let me know if you think I missed anything. On the schedule for the next year…
– get my second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do
– get as far as I can in Teukgong Moosool
– be able to run 10km without stopping to die
– learn the Korean alphabet
– get Martin and Jim comfortable enough with me that I can let them out of their cage
– go to China (Thanksgiving)
– go to Malaysia (Christmas)
– go to Japan (spring)
– go to Tibet (Summer)
– move to Thailand (Summer)
I’m going to be busy, I think. And in a good way. I also have a lot of books to read, a lot of beers to drink, and a lot of people to meet. It should be fun.
At times, I wonder about my decision to stay longer. Even though time here goes really fast, and I really do enjoy it overall, twelve more freaking months sounds like a long time. However, I’m sure it will fly by, as the last 12 months has. Then again, talk to me 3 weeks before our Christmas holiday… I’m sure I will be screaming about how much I both rue and lament my decision to stay. But for now… I think I’ve done the right thing. I think. I’ll let you know when I have convinced myself!