it has been almost a full month since i last posted. the last time i wrote was about the time jason left. which was also the about the time when i relocated into what was jason's apartment. i remained internetless until a few days ago.
so here i am. settled into a comfy apartment. winter settling into the tired bones of korea. sipping a coffee. my second of the morning. i feel my narrative voice may have ceased with lack of use. time to grease these rusted cogs...
after moving into sam ho building 101 apartment 202, my obsessive compulsive side took over and i took to cleaning, rearranging and settling into what is now my home. it had been eight months since i had a place to call my own. i enjoy the freedom afforded by traveling and being on the road. the adventures that come hand in hand with constantly moving. the friendships that grow when you can genuinely appreciate the hospitality of others. but after so long of mosquito infested bungalowes, hard floors and friends' couches, i find a yearning arising in the back of my mind. tucked neatly under a tiny fold in my lower cortex. a desire to dig a hole and settle in. at least for a little while. that nesting instinct is never too far away when i set off on travels. but the excitement of being in motion and the thrill of the novel always manages to keep it at bay. until the novel becomes routine.
so settling back here in sokcho, especially considering it's winter, has been a welcome relief for me. i have built a comfortable nest for the time being, to sit content through the winer cold.
though i am hardly one to just sit content.
three days before our christmas vacation was to start, sokcho was hit by a huge snowstorm that blanketed the town in white and brought it to a halt. ecc was closed and the streets were reduced to tiny pathways carved in the three feet of snow that had piled up in just 24 hours. the entire town could be found outside with shovels in hand to clear the roads. the lonely sokcho snowplow was responsible for clearing only the major streets. and even those not very well.
the day after the school closure, ecc opened again, but owing to the many complaints our director got from parents whose children had waited for hours for buses that ran late due to being stuck, she declared the school would be closed again the following day. christmas eve. which, for me was no great relief as i had already gotten the day off to go catch a flight to japan. i needed to go to finalize my korean visa by visiting the embassy in osaka. i was also planning to visit my friends in tsuyama.
though my trip to japan was brief, it was productive and very fun. it felt strange to be back in tsuyama again, a town where i had spent my last year in relative boredom, despite a good group of friends. many of the faces had changed since my departure, but i enjoyed good company at the christmas dinner at hijiris. two massive cooked turkeys with dressing and gravy and followed by a performance at taru, the old folk bar that was my most frequent haunt.
i managed to see almost everyone i'd hoped to see. mike, andy, miho, kyoko and yong su. i got my korean visa which finally let me work in korea legally. i retrieved my acoustic guitar and snowboard which i'd left in the care of mike. and i got to brush up on my japanese, which had fallen out of use since i'd left.
following my return, i attended and was honoured as a wedding singer at my friend, hyun sook's wedding. then it was time to snowboard. despite there not being a lot of snow and despite being concerned about the shape of my back after only a three month recovery time, i was stoked to hit the slopes again. the first day was promising. i took some spills but felt no pain in my back. and the boarding itself came back pretty quickly. there were four more sessions to follow and my body felt wrecked by the end of it. muscle fatigue in my legs. sore shoulders and wrists from multiple bails. and a bruised tailbone from a collision with another rider. but after a few days of rest i feel optimistic that my back has held up very well. though i think three days of boarding in a row may be pushing it at this point. a warning to not push too hard, too fast.
with school back in session, i am enjoying getting into the teaching groove again. i have students and classes that i enjoy and a staff that i get along with extremely well. josh, a friend and coworker, and i frequent a local video game parlour where there are about thirty couches, each with it's own 42 inch hd screen, an xbox 360 and a playstation 3 with a decent selection of games. winter is the perfect time for me to re-ignite my love of video games. and considering it's only 1500 won an hour, it's a steal of a deal. metal gear 4. gears of war 2. call of duty 4. grand theft auto 4. ninja gaiden 2. =fun times.
and a very contented greg.