The past month has flown by (almost literally, I have been on eight flights), yet at the same time, it feels like forever since I sat down at my desk to write. There have been ups and downs, good things and bad things, interesting things and mundane things that have happened in that time. Let’s go back a few weeks to when I was on Jeju Island.
I was trying to have a good time, enjoying my little group of ten sweet 10 year olds and their spontaneity, creativity and intelligence. Sometimes it was fun, most of the time it was exhausting. By night, there was time to relax and rejuvenate by using the incredible gym and pool facilities, or going for a walk in nature. And as always, thank God for the Kindle app which meant I could have any book I wanted at my fingertips. Alas, there was one piece of the whole experience that really irked me. Like really fucking pissed me off.
It is a fact of life of living in Korea, and I should be used to it by now, but maybe getting used to it is a kind of acceptance. And I am resisting the reality, coming up against it and trying to deny it. It is the large population of idiot white males who come here for the social life (read socially acceptable and sanctioned alcoholism) and the women (“the sea of pussy”) as one of them told me. I dislike them for many reasons, not least of which these unqualified, unprofessional imbeciles get paid more than me because they have a penis. I detest the chauvinistic, misogynistic, derogatory way they treat and talk about women. It’s appalling. And yet, nobody cares and there are no consequences. I guess it annoyed me more than usual because I was the minority (white female) trapped on both an island and a campus with them and therefore could not escape or avoid them.
At least it’s not as bad as the situation between foreign men and local women in Thailand. But still.
My time in Thailand will be for another post. For now, having been back in the country a few days, my focus is on forgetting those jerks as much as possible. And, mindful that when I returned from Cambodia months ago, I fell into a bottomless pit of depression (not for any good reason, maybe just a combination of transition, hormones, stress, unrealistic expectations, processing of experience, perspective etc), I am now slowly re-entering my life here. Although, because I wasn’t away for long, the transition will be much smoother. Still, I couldn’t face the world upon my return and so opted to spend three days lying in bed reading and catching up on random websites. In fact, I spent one entire day looking around this incredible site, Brain Pickings, which can best be described as book porn. Or, in the words of its creator, “Brain Pickings is a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why, bringing you things you didn’t know you were interested in — until you are.”
If I had more time, energy, willingness and technical know-how, my vision for this blog would be similar to Brain Pickings. A little sleuthing revealed that the founder of the site, the woman who creates most of the content from her apartment in Brooklyn, dedicates 100 hours a week to it, in addition to having another job. I’m like, ‘whaaat?!’ That’s crazy. I struggle to give two hours a week to my blog.
But anyway, you get the gist – it’s a really amazing creation. And it brought to my attention this gem from legendary Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl:
“Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!”