I went for a walk tonight, listening to my iPod and ruminating on my destiny. It started raining. The wind swept a few yellow leaves down from the trees, the first casualties of autumn. By the time I was on the street back towards my school/apartment, it was lashing down with rain, melting the headlights and traffic lights and neon hangul into one huge colourful blur.

It was just a simple circuit around Eungam – the canal, Emart, the dozens of interchangeable streets with identical franchise stories and creepy red crosses and noraebongs and PC bangs. Yet somehow it seemed different. I was looking at it through less jaded eyes, through a temporary lens. A man who understands he will not be here for long and needs to soak up what he can, whether he likes the place or not.

I love big cities. And I love living overseas: I love not being able to understand what people are saying, I love being a stand-out face in a crowd of black Asian eyes, I love being constantly bombarded with strange glyphs and signals that mean nothing to me. I love being in a place I don’t and can’t understand.

And I’m not done with it yet. My plans for this weekend are not a rout; they are a retreat. I’m not going back to Perth forever. It’s just a fallback point where I can figure out my next adventure. I tried Korea, I gave it my best shot, and it didn’t work out. Such is life. I don’t regret it one bit.

Tony got into a fight with admin today. Two of the kids were screwing around in his class, and one of them slipped over in the puddle of water which pools beneath the broken air-conditioner (I also teach that class, and have been urging the school to fix it all week because it’s a fucking liability, along with the whiteboard hanging from a single bolt in my other kindy class, just waiting for the chance to buckle and injure a child). The kid hurt himself moderately, and Tony was blamed for it because he was sitting down at the time.

Apparently we’re not supposed to sit down. This is news to me. Maybe we really aren’t supposed to and they never told us that, or maybe it’s a bullshit buck-passing backpedal made by a gaggle of morally bankrupt weasels. Tony was understandably pissed, especially when they handed him an official warning letter, and he responded by announcing that he is quitting on Monday.


He went off to have a meeting with admin after work hours, and I don’t know how that turned out. Maybe they reached a resolution, maybe not. Like me, Tony has never been particularly happy here, but unlike me, he always takes a “let’s solve this” attitude as opposed to my own preference, the “withdraw all my cash, book plane tickets and leave in the dead of night” approach. (And I prefer to think of my way as “cavalier” and “adventurous,” rather than “irresponsible” and “selfish.”) But he doesn’t actually want to quit – he said that to me several times – which is the thick line dividing the two of us. As we were discussing this over dinner I considered revealing my own plans to him, but the conversation never went that way, which is probably for the best.

So basically Monday will either be a shitstorm, or a Category-5 Kimchi Bowels Splatterfest.

It won’t make much difference to me. Leaves are falling all around, and it’s time I was on my way. YEAH I WENT THERE. I’VE HAD A BIT TO DRINK OK.