About John McCrarey

Born and raised in southern California. My career exodus has taken me to Arizona, Oklahoma, Arkansas, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, DC. And as of 23 January 2005, Seoul, Korea. Married with 6 grown children (blended family). First grandchild is in the oven! I created this blog to document my adventures as an expat living and working in Korea. I’m also pretty confident that I will on occasion feel the need to express my views on current events and other matters I find of interest.

A snowy Thanksgiving

It’s been a tough month, but I’m making progress.  I hope.  Reflecting on this day set aside for giving thanks I know that I do indeed have much to be thankful for.

My kids are healthy and immersed in making the best of their lives.  My grandchildren are happy, beautiful, and smart.  They all represent something good I’ve done in this world, regardless of how much credit is due me.

For an old fucker my health is relatively good, certainly much better than it was a year ago when I had episodes where I couldn’t catch my breath.  I’m thankful I’ve been able to get the right meds and make the lifestyle changes to hopefully scratch out a few more years here on earth.  Oh yeah, I’m down to 209 pounds, minus 17 since I started the broken heart diet plan.  Still drinking too much, but one step at a time.

I’ve got a good job (for the next six months anyway), some money in the bank and I am debt free.  Very thankful to not have to worry about finances.

It has been a blessing to have so many people showing how much they care about me.  I may not have anyone to love in life, but I am loved by many.  That means more to me than you will ever know.  Thank you!

And I can even say I’m thankful to Loraine.  She taught me that love will find you whether you want it to or not.  Loving and losing seems to be my destiny, but I’ve learned that trying to avoid that pain will only lead to more pain down the road.  I’ll be smarter and more honest about my feelings in the future.  Who knows, maybe one day I might even get lucky in love.  It could happen!

It is indeed a beautiful life.  I’m thankful to be in the game and I’m looking forward to a future of contentment.  Hell, maybe even happiness.

This morning I got up and took an almost four hour walk.  It snowed for the first half and that was a nice change of pace.  Let’s go to the photos.

I crossed the river and walked along the bike trail

The path less traveled. Heh, Frost and snow…

A thousand miles from nowhere….

See that tower in the distance? That was my destination. I thought I could do it in an hour. Took almost two though.

It stopped snowing just about the time I arrived.

I was a onesome in A Twosome Place. Seems to be my destiny…

So I enjoyed some hot coffee and the views…

And a little later my friend Mi Young, who lives in the neighborhood, dropped by to say hello.

Did the long walk back home without incident, so I’m thankful for that as well.

No feast for me today.  My nephew Justin and a couple of friends are coming down from Seoul on Saturday and we will do the traditional turkey and sides then.

Ain’t life grand?

I gotta thank mama for the cookin’
Daddy for the whuppin’
The devil for the trouble that I get into
I got to give credit where credit is due
I thank the bank for the money
Thank God for you



Working for a living

Less than six months left in my working life.  This week I’ve had cause to reflect on how much this part of my life has meant to me, especially these past couple of years.

As I look to the future of what I hope and imagine will be a life of leisure, I worry about how I will remain engaged and connected to the world around me.  I’ve got some ideas in that regard, but will they really be satisfying?  Only one way to find out I suppose.

So, what is it about working that I will miss?  This week I had the occasion to participate in the 198th session of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) Joint Committee.  Basically, this is where the ROKs and US representatives get together to resolve issues of mutual concern in order to maintain a strong alliance.

It’s a pretty big deal, and it was really an honor for me to participate in what is very likely my last meeting with this group…

It’s always nice to see my name rendered in Hanguel.

I humbly serve as the Chairman of the Labor subcommittee. Which as you might have surmised is involved in resolving issues associated with our 12,000+ Korean National Workforce.

What else?  Well, the money is good of course.  And working again has allowed me to position myself to live a very comfortable lifestyle in the Philippines or wherever else my heart will lead me.

Today we had a Thanksgiving luncheon for my staff and afterwards I met with the Korean Employees Union leadership.  We we able to bring closure to some longstanding issues and they left happy.  There is satisfaction in that.

But what I’m going to miss the most is the people I work with.  They are truly my work family.  Honestly, after the marriage fell apart I was floundering.  Having the purpose that work brought me and the respect and friendship I have for my team members made me feel a part of something much bigger than myself.  I needed that the most.

Thank you all for all that you do!

Keep the customers satisfied

(sorry for the pagination.  For whatever reason I can’t seem to get paragraph breaks inserted)
I had mentioned in my previous post that I was upset by what I considered rude behavior by Joy on Friday night.  Who knew she was a blog reader?  After three days of the silent treatment I received this message from her:
I was rude to you ..???
It’s seems like u never grow up
Me rude to you ??? Ur such a liar …
I even give u a big hug and sit next to ur friend ..whoever he is…
And u took ur stuff move to other table ???
You making a scene ??? U acted like a kid ?
And causing me out ???
I am done with you ….
On your blog u were saying I was rude ?!!! … how about you ??? Ur such a drama king and acted like uneducated person …yelling at me in public telling me I’m a fucking bitch …And u said fuck you three times… U WANT ME TO RESPONSE TO YOUR BLOG ? smh
I hate you ..
Well, I already stated on the blog that I had been in the wrong and that I was sorry for my actions.  I did not have a clear recollection of what I said, but I knew it was ugly.  I’m very ashamed of myself for overreacting this way.  I feel bad because I’m sure Joy got hit with a barrage of emotions I’ve been holding inside since the break-up with Loraine.
I’ve messaged Joy to express my sorrow and regret for hurting her with my words.  No response.  I ran into her on Monday night at the bar where we met and tried to apologize in person, but she turned her back on me.
And with this post I’ve told the world her side of the story, again taken responsibility for what happened, and said I’m sorry for the last time.
Life goes on.

Who’s your Daddy?

Had a nice surprise visit from my old buddy Duke Gates this weekend.  I’ve been knowing Duke since around 2005 when he introduced me to the game of darts.  He left Korea several years ago, but we’ve stayed in touch more or less.  When I was back living in the states we’d always meet up.  Haven’t gone back for almost two years now, so he came to me I guess you could say.

Here’s a strange story from the small world of the internets.  I’m not sure where or why, but Duke had posted this picture on some website:

That’s me and Duke I’m guessing around 2010 or so.

Anyway, Duke get’s a random message from this girl:

She works at the dart bar I used to frequent here in Angeong-ri and she recognized me. The question she had for Duke was “is he your father?” That cracked us both up.

Anyway, I had planned to take Duke to the bar I Don’t Know the name of, even though I’m probably not welcome there anymore.  But alas, they were hosting some kind of private party and we weren’t able to get inside.

So, there’s a father and not his son enjoying some adult beverages in the ville. We did a pretty nice pub crawl on Friday night.

That night did end on a sour note though.  I had invited Joy, a woman I was interested in dating (we’ve had a couple of outings, but nothing too serious), to join us.  She said she was tired and it was too cold to go out.  Well, pretty near the end of our night out drinking we had settled into a bar called The Wall.  And lo and behold, who comes waltzing in but Joy.  She didn’t come over to greet me however, she was talking to some of the other girls who work there.  I came over to say hello and introduce Duke and she made a grudging acknowledgement and moved over to the bar (sitting on the stool I had previously occupied) and started talking to the bartender.  I was a bit taken aback and the bar was full, so Duke and I moved over to an empty table to wait.  Then when I look up she’s walking out the door with nary a word or a goodbye.

Now, I was hurt and angry about her rudeness.  I was also drunk.  So I followed her out to the street and said some shit that I almost immediately regretted.  And she stormed off into the night.  I tried to send her an apology the next morning, but of course she has blocked me on messenger and is not accepting my calls.

Oh well, that’s the way it goes.  I’m ashamed of my behavior but I’ve also lost all interest in having this particular Joy in my life.

I’m pretty much resolved to not pursue any romance for my remaining six months in Korea.  There’s really no point.  I had dinner with Mi Young the other night which was pleasant enough.  I think the friend zone will be a safe place for me to stay while I wait to start my new life in the Philippines.

No ifs, ands, or butts about it…

A friend told me “just relax, things could always be worse.” So I relaxed and sure enough, things got worse.

Yesterday afternoon I went to the Good Morning hospital in Pyeongtaek.  Yeah, I know, what kind of name is that for a hospital?  Anyway, I went to see a urologist.  It seems I either have to pee all the time or I have a hard time going at all.  My concern was my prostate.  My older brother had cancer of the prostate and I was hoping to avoid going down that road.

Anyway, the doctor took some blood to do a PSA screening for cancer, stuck a probe up my ass (which hurt like hell), had me do a urine volume test, and finally an ultrasound on my bladder.  And then he gave me the news:

Benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH).  That’s fancy talk for an enlarged prostate gland.  I don’t do things in a small way, the doc says they usually begin treatment at 20 cms and above.  I came in at 43 cms.  Oh well, the symptoms are manageable and I’ve got some new pills to swallow every night that are supposed to help.

I asked the doctor about the cancer thing and was told he wouldn’t have the results on that until the following day.  So, I called at lunch and was told to call back at 3:30.  I called then and got the news.  Something I never expect to hear in reference to myself.  Yes, it turns out that I am normal.  Go figure.

So I guess that things can be worse after all.  I’m obviously very relieved to know that I’m going to be able to keep fucking and fucking up for the foreseeable future.

I reckon I ought to get on with it then.



The Dating Game

Well, as the old saw goes, when you get bucked off the horse you gotta climb right back on and ride that motherfucker.  Been dipping my toes in the dating pond, at least virtually.  In between walking and drinking I’ve filled some hours on the Filipina Cupid dating website.  It’s a swamp full of scammers and pretenders, but if you are patient you can ferret out some folks who seem at least mildly interesting.

So the way I see it, I’m a well-educated man, successful in most things (excluding love, but no one’s perfect), financially secure, and reasonably attractive for an older gentleman.  When I retire to the Philippines next year I’ll certainly be able to give some lucky Filipina a life beyond her wildest imagination.  The trick is finding the one who is worthy of all that I have to offer.

I’ve had literally hundreds of women “expressing interest”, indicating I’m their “favorite” and messaging me thus far on Filipina Cupid.  While this is certainly soothing to my wounded ego, it’s also a bit of a pain in the ass to sort the wheat from the chaff.  My parameters are age 35-50, reasonably attractive, and intelligent enough to hold a decent conversation.  The qualities I require include honesty, loyalty and a willingness to stay by my side and care for me through good times and bad. Of course, discerning those attributes over the internet (even pictures can lie) is no easy task.  I do read the profiles carefully, and if someone has put forth the effort to actually write something of significance about themselves, I’ll sometimes shoot them a message and start a conversation.

Thus far I’ve identified four potentially worthy of my time.  The first one is 41 year old caregiver named Teri, who happens to live in the exact part of Manila where Loraine resides.  I’ve not broached the subject, but I expect odds are low that they may actually know each other.  Then there is Cora, a 39 year old nurse from elsewhere in Manila. The third is Prences, 38 who does something or other for the city government.  And the latest find is 36 year old Jhanez who purports to be some kind of “artist” and lives in a part of the Philippines I’ve never heard of.  It’s very early in the vetting process and I’ve only had a video chat with Teri thus far.  There’s a long way to go with all of them and I’m in no particular hurry to get there anyway.  I certainly won’t be making a decision on any of them (and there will certainly be others) until I’ve met them in person.

And that’s the thing.  May is still over 6 months away.  I’m not going to start another relationship until I’m on the ground and settled.  I could conceivably offer someone the opportunity to be my tour guide when I next visit at the end of December.  Teri and Cora have already volunteered to do so but I’ll need to have a lot higher comfort level with anyone I commit to spend my vacation with.  Chemistry indeed!

Meanwhile, here in the 3-D world things are much the same as they have always been. I’ve been trying to get a little Joy (a 49 year old Filipina-American I met who works on base) in my life, but thus far we’ve only connected once for dinner at my place (and she brought her roommate with her).  We do have regular FB messenger chats.  My attempts at courtship are for some reason not being reciprocated.  I expect it could be because my departure from Korea is only 6 months away, so what’s the point?  My counter argument is that we could at least have some fun and companionship in the interim.  I haven’t given up, but I’ll cop to being somewhat frustrated.

I’ve also taken up an English tutoring gig to help my friend Mi Young better her skills so she can get the dental hygienist position she covets at the army base clinic.  It’s mostly just conversation, but I do assign her homework which consists of me picking out a blog post from my archives and requiring her to read it and discuss it with me over coffee. Yeah, I’m a bastard to make her suffer through my blog ramblings. We had a very nice conversation last night and she is showing improvement.  I’m still stuck firmly in the friend zone with her, but honestly I’m very comfortable there.  She is full of wisdom and insights and has really helped me come to terms with this latest heartbreak.  I admire and respect her and would not want to ruin that by trying to pursue a romance (which she has made clear she doesn’t want anyway).  She did give me a peck on the lips when she left last night, so there’s that.

And that’s where things stand.  I’m in no man’s (no woman’s?) land—stuck somewhere between my life in Korea and my coming life in the Philippines.  In the meantime I will practice being patient and learning to be satisfied with this beautiful life I’m living.

Stay tuned!

I can see clearly now Loraine is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day

Oh, yes I can make it now the pain is gone
All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is that rainbow I’ve been praying for
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day



Pride goeth before the fall

Well, first I lose my pride and now this happens:

Autumn arrives in Anjeong-ri…

This is a nice color on me, don’t you think?

Anyway, the long holiday weekend is drawing to a close.  I had half-considered going up to Seoul on Saturday, but decided to nix the idea as there is really nothing for me in Seoul either.  At least here when I get drunk I can sleep in my own bed.

And yes, I’ve been getting drunk a lot…

Decisions, decisions. What to drink last night? Started out with the red-headed slut. Then I had sex on the beach. Next a blowjob with an orgasm chaser. I’m drunk but strangely satisfied.    (that’s a joke, I stuck with beer.  But the drink menu lends itself to humor, right?)

A river runs through it. As seen on my walk around Pyeongtaek this morning.

When I wasn’t drinking this weekend, I was walking.  Too cold to take the bike out, but I just incorporated those two hours into my walking regimen.  I’ve been well over 20,000 steps each day.  Weighed in at an even 211 pounds today, that’s down 15 pounds in two weeks.  I know that pace can’t be sustained, but I hope with the increase in walking and decrease in eating (I have one full meal a day supplemented with healthy snacks) will get me down to the coveted 199 pounds soon.

Emotionally, I’m still on a roller coaster, but overall I’m making progress.  Walking gives me lots of time to think and I’m getting things clearer in my head for the most part.

Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us. (Matthew 6:12)

Look at me, quoting fucking Bible verses for Christ’s sake.  Well, yes.  Yes I am.  One thing I’ve done is forgive myself for the mistakes I made that brought me to this sorry pass.  It seems to have helped me let go of the past and prepares me for the next big thing.  Whatever the hell that will be.

It won’t be this. That’s Anna, my friendly Filipina bartender at Arirang bar. She’s smart and funny (i.e. she gets and laughs at my jokes) but alas, she is a mere 31 years old. Exactly half my age. I won’t go there.  Not that I was invited to do so.

So, I was the only customer in Arirang last night (there’s a military exercise going on, so none of the soldiers are allowed to drink).  One of the other girls was playing sad Filipino songs while I told Anna the story of my life (hey, I was buying her drinks, she had to listen!).

Just about the time I was ready to start crying in my beer, she played this song for me:

I’m letting myself off the hook for things I’ve done
I let my past go past
And now I’m having more fun
I’m letting go of the thoughts
That do not make me strong
And I believe this way can be the same for everyone

I can’t walk through life facing backwards
I have tried
I tried more than once to just make sure
And I was denied the future I’d been searching for
But I spun around and hurt no more
By living in the moment
Living my life
Easy and breezy
With peace in my mind
With peace in my heart
Got peace in my soul
Wherever I’m going, I’m already home

See, I told you she was smart.  Now I’ve got to be smart enough to actually let myself live in the moment.  That’s all I have.

Walk on!

It’s been quite awhile since I broke the 30,000 step barrier. Had a tough day yesterday and this filled 4 hours in a positive way.

I’m also down to 212.6 pounds, a loss of nearly 14 pounds in 12 days.  Happy about that!  I want to see if I can finally break the 200 pound threshold.  Lowest I got before was 205.

Got to stay strong!

Like the fool I am and I’ll always be
I’ve got a dream, I’ve got a dream
They can change their minds but they can’t change me
I’ve got a dream, I’ve got a dream
Well, I know I can share it if you want me to
If you’re going my way, I’ll go with you

Moving me down the highway
Rolling me down the highway
Moving ahead so life won’t pass me by
Moving me down the highway
Rolling me down the highway
Moving ahead so life won’t pass me by

Turn the page


Waiting to see what happens next!

Ah well, moving forward I suppose.  Regaining my perspective.  

In a different world I’d be writing something exciting from Hong Kong.  In this world you get to hear about me.  

And I’m back in full acceptance mode:

Accept that the past is the past, learn from your mistakes and move on.

Accept that it hurts to lose, but embrace the opportunity to find a woman truly worthy of my love.

Accept that old dreams die, but new dreams and adventures are waiting to be embraced.

I will not deny that I’ve been battling the onset of depression.  But I have not been fighting it alone.  I have often felt like the proverbial solitary man, and then I discovered just how many people actually do care about me.

One friend reminded me that I have a beautiful life.  I asked for an example of the beauty in my life.  And then she told me the story of how I didn’t give my daughter up for adoption.  That really blew me away.  First of all, I don’t even remember ever telling her about that amazing day all those years ago.  Or that she cared enough to actually remember it.  And yes, that decision I made as a 20 year old “man” has made all the difference in my beautiful life.  Thank you, Mi Young.

Two women that have loved me in the past and suffered because of it continually reached out with words of encouragement and support.  I’m a stubborn bastard and tend to have to learn things the hard way, but it means a lot to me that they didn’t give up on me.  Even if I deserve this Karmic justice. Thank you, Eva and Maria.

And I have had many friends who read my blog tell me “Kevin Kim is right.  Listen to him!”  So, thanks for that as well, Kevin.

I considered spending the holiday weekend in Bangkok (it’s too soon for the Philippines right now, but I’ll be celebrating the New Year there).  In the end I just didn’t have the energy to make the journey.  I’m going to spend the time instead getting comfortable with my new reality.  

It’s a beautiful life.  Time to start the next chapter.

Well it’s all right, even if they say you’re wrong
Well it’s all right, sometimes you gotta be strong
Well it’s all right, As long as you got somewhere to lay
Well it’s all right, everyday is Judgment Day

Maybe somewhere down the road aways 
You’ll think of me, wonder where I am these days 
Maybe somewhere down the road when somebody plays 
Purple haze

Well it’s all right, even if you’re old and gray
Well it’s all right, you still got something to say
Well it’s all right, remember to live and let live
Well it’s all right, the best you can do is forgive

Well it’s all right, riding around in the breeze
Well it’s all right, if you live the life you please
Well it’s all right, even if the sun don’t shine
Well it’s all right, we’re going to the end of the line


What a week

The week ended like it had begun.

Against the advice of the vast majority of my friends, I stayed in the fight for Loraine’s heart.  She was clearly conflicted and torn between two loves.  We did a three hour video chat Saturday morning, and when we finished Loraine said she wanted to share a life with me.

I was ecstatic and throughout the remainder of the day we exchanged messages about our future plans and she said several times how happy she was.  I even joked about how every Saturday we were in love again but from now on every day would be Saturday. We were going to meet in Hong Kong next week to celebrate our love.

And then late last night she sent me a message.  “I’m sorry, I love Kev more than you” . And then she blocked me on Facebook.

I walked right into that sucker punch again.  And it hurts.  But, at least now I know I did everything in my power to fight for the love I had discovered in my heart.  And I lost the fight.  But at least now I have closure. I wish Loraine and Kev all that they deserve in the future.

I averaged over 20,000 steps each day this week trying to calm my emotions, including a three hour trek to Pyeongtaek this morning.  In the good news department I’ve now lost over 12 pounds in a week.  I don’t recommend the broken heart diet plan however.

This too shall pass.

Best comment ever

Leave it to the esteemed Kevin Kim to see right through my bullshit and slap me in the face with reality:

Well… that’s why I privately suggested someone ugly—or a guy—as your caretaker. If you truly are done with the love thing, then it shouldn’t matter to you whom you hire. If, on the other hand, you really are looking for the potential for romance, then you’ll have to be honest with yourself about that fact and include it as a possibility in whatever writeup you create for your online profile. My intuition is that, if you’re still looking for a good-looking woman to be your caretaker, you want much more than an employee. In terms of breaking the samsaric cycle, I see two ways: (1) be honest that what you’re really looking for is a life-companion who can offer you love along with support, or (2) be true to the idea that you’ve sworn off the love thing, having been hurt too many times—and really stick with that mindset. Either of these paths is better than the one that leads right back to the same pain.

I’m reminded of the hilarious foot-massage dialogue between Jules and Vincent in “Pulp Fiction”: Jules tries to argue that foot massages don’t mean anything, that they’re perfectly innocent, but Vincent traps him by asking, “Would you give a guy a foot massage?” Jules has no argument, so his response is, “Fuck you.” No matter how much we fool ourselves, foot massages mean something every time we give them.

But when I read this:

“Truth is I’m really not ready to engage emotionally with anyone until I’ve worked my way through the betrayal of Loraine.”

—I get the feeling that “emotional engagement” is indeed the thing you’re looking for. For whatever reason, you’re convinced that you can’t hack this life alone, that you need a companion, not merely an assistant. If that’s the case, then you CAN’T stipulate that your next caretaker needs to understand there’s no potential for love/romance because there obviously is. So whatever you’re looking for will not be a strictly employer-employee thing, and whichever woman you finally select will need to know that. The lady might end up being a Machiavellian gold-digger, but she still deserves honesty.

My two scents, said the skunk.

Damn.  I see that I simply replaced one four letter word, “love”, with another, “care”.  Bottom line is I do want to be loved and cared for.  To have that, I’m going to have to risk feeling this way again in the future.  Is it worth it?  I don’t know yet.

Thanks, Kevin.

I’ll think of something

Ah. Bored today at lunch so I found a facebook group called foreigners looking for a Filipina.  What the hell, why not?  So I posted this:

My Filipina just broke my heart. Time for me to move on. I will be retiring to the PI in May 2018 (Olongapo area). Hope to meet someone who wants to take care of me and I will take care of her. Loyalty and honesty are my primary requirements. Anyone interested?

Might have been a mistake.  So far I have 477 “likes” on that post, half as many comments, and over 100 friend requests.  A little scary and reeking of desperation.  Probably should have just stuck to the dating websites.  I’m not about to “friend” a bunch of random strangers on FB.  Still, who knew I could be so popular?

Another day in the process of moving forward.  Truth is I’m really not ready to engage emotionally with anyone until I’ve worked my way through the betrayal of Loraine.  It’s going to take some time I think.  Who can you trust?

I don’t know how I’ll get her off my mind – but give me time
I’ll think of something
I can’t say today that I’m all right – but by tonight
I’ll think of something
I’ll find so many things to do that I wont have the time to think of her
And then if she’s still on my mind I’ll try to drink enough to drown the hurt
And if that don’t work 
I’ll think of something

Stupid man

This will be the final post in the series about the fuck over I received from Loraine.  Yesterday I once again expressed to her all that I felt for her, told her again that she had made the wrong choice, and gave her a final opportunity to change her mind.  Now or never I said.  By her lack of response, she chose never.  I gave her that chance because I didn’t want there to be any doubt about how I felt and where the blame lies. I’ve blocked her on messenger and no longer care to hear whatever she may have to say about us.  And I certainly don’t want to hear her painful entreaties when Kev proves to be the liar I believe him to me.  Heh, they deserve each other in that regard.

It has been a gut-wrenching past few days.  Haven’t completely got my mind around it yet, but I hope I’m grasping the lessons this whole sad affair was meant to teach me.  And it has been amazing to see all the people who have reached out to me with heart felt advice and support.  It really helped me get my mind right and gain some perspective.

Perhaps most impressive was hearing from two Filipina women who have loved me in the past.  I am so thankful that despite the pain I caused them, they still care about me.  I count them among the small handful of friends I maintain in this life.  Here is some of their advice:

Its like you are giving her the power of prolonging the agony if you remember her. Choose to be in control and avoid entertaining memories.

There are many who will gladly accept the pay you gave Loraine. Maybe the next one will be loyal.

Choose to be tough  There it is. An opportunity.

Its not really the person that will make it hard to move on, its more of the memories and the plans you had in the future with her that makes it harder.

John if she had loved you she can not do this to you…she can not hurt you…but she thought she would better with other man then she had to know it…you are a wonderful person and you deserve good things in life…you will be ok…I know that…and this is not a thing u should be devastated about..Goodluck again.. I pray for your welfare.
I’m also going to post some of the advice I got on the Philippines forum when I posted my sad tale there.  I really just want to have all this wisdom in one place where I can refer to it as necessary.
John, that’s a sorry tale but you need to suck it up and move on. Indeed she had a better offer and had to grab it when the opportunity presented itself. Kev was probably in a more desperate state than yourself so again had to pounce or chance losing out. With this experience now behind you there’s every chance you’ll move onto bigger and better things. There’s plenty of good girls in the Pines that are exactly what you are looking for so don’t be discouraged. Get back out there and let love take care of itself. 
 It also shows you her resolve was shaky at best which is a good thing.  Maybe in due time, the shine of the golden promises of her newfound lover will slowly reveal its leaded core, and she will be crying back to you again.  I would just bite the bullet, delete all contacts, ignore and move on…. That would be the fastest way to get over her.  But easier said than done, most of of us would probably be in same shoes.  Why not look for a younger model, at most 30-40 yo, that’s what I would do.  
I would give shit to a promise of a guy she knows since short to marry her and to take her to the UK. Must be either a looser or someone just getting into her panties with empty promises. Move on mate. Shes in for the money only. 
Followed your story with interest, brother–and while I feel for you, can’t say I’m too surprised by the outcome. 
I’m experiencing this deep truth on a daily basis myself: things rarely turn out as planned with Filipinas. In their struggle for survival–and generating support for their offspring and family–whatever loyalty they feel to some foreigner readily tends to switch over to a higher bidder.
Actually you got off easy, brother–after giving in to a classic piece of emotional blackmail. It’s Kev I’m worried about! 
Once the new-relationship energy between Kev and this mature has dissipated–and once Kev’s triumph over winning her over against stiff competition has worn off–the true cost of his extravagant promises is likely to hit home, and the whole marriage-and-adoption scheme will fall apart.
Totally predictable what will happen at this point: she’ll come crawling back to you, beg for forgiveness, and swear everlasting devotion–while, of course, keeping up her search for someone more optimal on dating sites. 
The only question I have: will you take her back? 

The next girl you crush on could be anything.  Maybe prettier.  Or funnier.  Or sweeter.  Or whatever you like. It’s a world of possibility and acceptance isn’t about making excuses for her.  It isn’t about trying to understand her so that you can understand, and gain control over, the future relationship. Acceptance is about accepting that this is how life is and embracing the positive aspect of it, which is that you have a beautiful adventure ahead of you, starting today.

The assumption here that Kev is gonna follow through with his promises. Knowing how that works, it is less than 50/50. I am worried about John actually getting back with Lorraine after Kev ditches her under some false pretext.  What do these girls know that we don’t know or refuse to understand. They know we are vulnerable after a certain age and we long for company which we don’t get in places where we live. Once they know you are hooked on, you are done. I am glad that John escaped relatively unscathed.      ***

She was playing you. If it were true love, she never would have allowed this Kev guy into her life. It is actually worse than that. She actively searched for Kev. Count yourself lucky. Now, go get yourself a younger model.                                                                     ***

And finally, this from commenter Kevin Kim on my previous post:

The Hindu concept of life is that it’s a painful wheel of existence called samsara.We’re chained to this repetitive, revolving wheel through our actions (karma). The object of the game is to gain enough wisdom about the nature of things so as to escape an eternity of repeating the wheel of life-events, again and again, all thanks to our accidental or deliberate unwisdom. Good luck as you examine deep causes and do your best to find liberation from the wheel (moksha) and bliss in your life (ananda). Every day is a new chance to walk a different path!

I will walk a new path.  Hopefully it will not lead me to more stupidity.

(with apologies to Neil Young)

You’re just a stupid man
You really got a lot to learn
To start living again
Forget about remembering
You’re such a stupid man.

You’re such a beautiful fish
Floppin’ on the summer sand
Lookin’ for the wave you missed
When another one is close at hand
You’re such a stupid man




Still reeling, but better today than yesterday and hopefully not as good as tomorrow.  Had a long walk yesterday afternoon, drank too many beers, then had a mostly decent sleep.  23,000 more steps today (so far). Still have no appetite, but I’m down 8 pounds since Sunday, so I will take that result.

I’ve really been touched by people reaching out to me through email and private messages to offer comfort and advice.  Most of which is to move on, telling me I can do better.   I have no choice but to move on and perhaps one day I will find an honest and loyal woman to share my life.  That’s really the most important thing, having someone I can depend on.  Loraine’s betrayal was especially devastating because it proved that I am a much poorer judge of character than I thought I was.  Who can you trust if you can’t trust yourself?

I appreciate the comments here on the blog.  I also posted my story on a Philippines expat forum and have gotten quite a lot of feedback.  Most of them saying to forget Loraine and find someone younger and kinder.  Many of them are very critical of her and her actions towards me.  And quite a few share my opinion that Kev will not follow through on his promises.  They expect Karma will exact its toll on Loraine and when she realizes her mistake she’ll want me to take her back.  I’ve been urged to not even consider doing so.  If she came to me right now I probably would.  If she waits until Kev is gone, I would not.  I don’t expect her to be back.

I actually miss Loraine very much.  The morning greeting and chats throughout the day were something I guess I had taken for granted.  Shame on me.  I do love her and wish her no ill will.  I don’t think Kev was the right choice, but I hope I’m wrong about his true intentions.  

So, in the moving on department.  I’m going to go back to the Filipina Cupid dating site, update my profile and begin my search for a new tour guide/caregiver.  I plan to celebrate the New Year in the PI and would prefer not to do it alone.  Yeah, I could rent a girl from a bar I suppose, but that is really not my thing.  We’ll see.

I had met a Filipina-American named Joy who works on base a couple of weeks ago.  Just friends at the bar, but we had planned on having dinner last Sunday (before Loraine became my girlfriend for a day).  Obviously, that date didn’t happen.  But Joy has been sending an occasional message during the day to check on how I’m doing.  I appreciate that she cares enough to do that.  So I’m thinking maybe when I get back on my feet I will see if I can get some Joy in my life.

It’s a start.


Walking my blues away. It didn’t work yesterday. I’ll try again today.

In my long and storied history of failed love relationships, none were shorter than the one with Loraine, which lasted all of about 24 hours.

On Saturday we had chatted and expressed our excitement with our new boyfriend/girlfriend status.  We exchanged some email, the last of which from Loraine stated:

My dearest John.I am very happy and yes.We need to be strong and face the challenges to keep our relationship work and keep the love more stronger. I Love You more John.

And then on Sunday she disappeared again.  I feared the worst, that she was back with Kev.  I frantically sent her messages and tried to call her, all to no avail.  Finally, after several hours she sent me a photo and said she was at the mall.  With who? I asked.  She said she was alone, then disappeared again.  A couple of hours later she claimed to still be at the mall.  I asked her if she was committed to me, and she replied “to you, and you only”.  Finally she sent a message late that night saying she was going home and for me to get some rest.  She still would not answer my calls or messages.  So, I knew in my heart what she had done.
I didn’t hear from her again until lunchtime today.  I had sent a ton of messages and all but begged her to respond.  She finally did and my worst fears were confirmed.  Yes, she was with Kev.  He promised to marry her, adopt her daughter, and move them to the UK.  So, it was over with me.
I’m still reeling.  I guess I could understand and accept that she felt like she had a better opportunity.  But the lies and deceit were like twisting the knife in my shattered heart.  I’m actually devastated and not sure what to do next.  Well, nothing I can do be start trying to get over it.
When we first got together as GF/BF she told me it was an answer to her prayers.  I guess the Lord truly does work in mysterious ways.  I couldn’t sleep last night and I prayed for wisdom and comfort (I never pray except when I know I’m in deep trouble spiritually and emotionally).  So I’m taking comfort in knowing that I found out how little my love for her meant sooner rather than later.  I wasted 7 years on the last wife.
My acceptance philosophy is overwhelmed right now.  God help me.

The lonely and barren road to future. Whatever that may be.

Let her go

In the beginning.  New Year’s Eve 2016.

I’ve written about my caregiver Loraine here before, I guess most recently in a post called “Paying it Forward”. A woman I truly admire and respect.

Unfortunately, I had to let her go.

When I first employed Loraine I made it clear that I was never going to love again.  If she was looking for love she needed to keep on looking.  She told me that her family was all the love she needed and she wanted the job.  And so I prepared a formal employment contract and the deal was done.

Frankly, it was wonderful having her as my tour guide and caregiver on my recent journeys to the PI.  I paid to send her to massage therapy school and she is currently enrolled in a caregiver certification course.  She seems to be doing well with her studies and is happy for the opportunity.  And I was looking forward to a future where I could benefit from that training.

When I’m not in the Philippines Loraine has provided care and comfort by keeping track of my blood pressure readings, sending me health tips she finds on the internet, greeting me in the morning and sending me messages during the day and evening to let me know someone is this great big world was thinking of me.

And then earlier this month on our visit to Boracay (a trip I made specifically to celebrate her birthday) she kept getting text messages from a guy in the UK named Kev.  She insisted there were just chat friends, but I suspected otherwise.

And sure enough, I noted that my contact with Loraine had diminished quite a bit.  I suspected something was going on, and those suspicions were confirmed when I discovered her “chat buddy” was in the Philippines to visit her.

Loraine told me that she needed love in her life and I could never give her that.  She wanted to take the opportunity to explore those feelings with Kev.  And then she proceeded to accuse me of having sexual relations with many women in Korea.  Ha! In my dreams!  Regular readers know just how empty and pathetic my life here is.

Well, her actions as described above violated the terms of her employment contract, although to be fair, seeing another man was not specifically included, but it was implied.  So, I had no choice but to terminate her employment.

And I’ll be damned.  Making that decision was very painful.  It made me face the fact that despite all my brave talk, I did in fact really care for her on an emotional level.  I had taken much comfort in thinking I would have her with me when I make my big move to the PI next year.  The prospect of losing her hurt me in the same way that losing a love does.  I don’t know how that can be when you have vowed to never love again, but there it was hitting me square between the eyes.  Whatever you call it, being emotionally attached to someone makes you vulnerable and subject to heartbreak.  I guess I’m just going to have to suck it up and face that fact.

So, I had a long talk with Loraine to let her know how I felt.  And then I fired her.

In other news, I have a new girlfriend.  Her name is Loraine.

Well you only need the light when it’s burning low
Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
Only know you love her when you let her go
Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low
Only hate the road when you’re missing home
Only know you love her when you let her go
And you let her go

A little bit of Seoul

I had a couple of meetings up in Seoul on Friday afternoon, so I drove in the morning and then booked a room and spent Friday night in Itaewon.  Had lunch with my senior Korean labor adviser and introduced her to American-style BBQ at Linus’.  She said she’ll be back.  The meetings went well enough then I picked up a few things at the PX and called it a day.  Here’s what happened after work.

A new edition since my last visit to Itaewon. There was no comforting her though, she just sat there in stony silence…

…but I had bigger fish to fry. Actually, I failed to get nekkid this trip, but I was on my way…

….to tackle that mountain named Nam.

Now, I didn’t realize just how flat Pyeongtaek is compared to Seoul. I was winded before I even made it to the beginning of the stairs. I seriously considered wimping out, but then I said “fuck it, go for it! What’s the worse that could happen?” Half way up it occurred to me that a heart attack was perhaps the answer to that question.

getting closer…

Looking to the south….

Looking north on the upward trek…

The city wall…

Namsan put an ass whipping on me…

But I reached the top and made the tower my bitch

Going down with the sun.

A pause at the Philippine embassy…

That was a lot of hard walking….

I rewarded myself with a nice evening at Shenanigans with the nephew. I didn’t get asked to buy a lady drink once. Go figure.

Back home in Pyeongtaek where the choices are much more limited….

But I can accept that. Peace out!

Buy me a drink!

My favorite bartender quit her job this week.  She was good at what she did but was not really cut out for the work, or at least not the way bars seem to operate here in Anjeong-ri.  She shared with me some of the frustrations she encountered in the biz and while I was not surprised it was still disappointing.  Here’s the lowdown:

Way back in 2009 I wrote about juicy bars and prostitution.  My experience was pretty much limited to what I had seen in Itaewon.  This burg is a whole other animal.  A juicy bar is a joint where the girls work for drinks.  It’s usually a lounge type bar where you sit with the girl and chat while she downs W10,000 drinks.  And that was about the only reason you’d have to visit such a venue.  By the time I left Itaewon there were only a handful of this type bar left.  Most of the bars were regular pub type establishments with pool and darts and food and regulars just hanging out (like Shenanigans for example).  You could buy the bar staff a drink if you wanted (and they felt like drinking) but it was always customer price.

So I was somewhat taken aback when I first explored the Anjeong-ri bar scene.  I’d go into what appeared to a regular pub and get hit up for a lady drink.  Now, I don’t mind buying the occasional drink for a hard working girl, but I really hate being asked.  As time went on I discovered that virtually ALL of the bars here operate on the “juicy” principle (girl gets a W10,000 drink, and her share is W5,000).  These aren’t regular drinks either, they are watered down versions or alcohol-free juice. It really gets tiresome being pestered for drinks by the staff, so I’ve tried to find places where they will at least leave me alone until I offer.  My friend the (former) bartender was one of those.

After quitting, she explained to me the horrendous pressure the bar owners put on them to hustle drinks.  It begins with paying a ridiculously low salary so the girls will feel compelled to supplement their income with lady drinks.  Now, I enjoyed my friend’s company, so I’d normally buy her a drink with every one of mine (which gets expensive real quick, no idea how these young soldiers I see buying lady drinks can afford it).  She told me about a customer we both like who never buys a lady drink.  The owner would get mad if she talked to him, saying he should be ignored until he bought I drink.  I said, well you know, the owner wants you to talk to other customers who will hopefully buy you a drink.  She told me no, even when the bar is empty I’m not supposed to chat with someone not buying drinks.

Well, that’s fucked up.  And it made me recall a bar I visited before I understood “the system” here.  I mean, I’m used to ordering up a beer and having some small talk with the bartender (provided she’s not busy).  But this one just moved down to the far end of the bar and sat there.  I was thinking what the hell did I do to piss her off?  Now I know.  Another bartender I like asked me one night to rate her as a bartender.  I told her I thought she was a solid “8” (great personality, good conversation, just not that cute).  I asked her why she wanted to know and she said the owner told her she was just a “2” because customers don’t buy her enough lady drinks.

Oh, and the bars hire these undocumented Filipinas and pay them even less than the Korean staff.  This is not only unfair and exploitative,  it forces these girls to be even more aggressive in pursuit of lady drinks.

Damn, obviously I’m spending too much time in the bars.  But at this rate there won’t be many bars left that I can countenance to patronize.  I’m actually down to three now.  And yes, the girls in those bars also work for drinks, but they have the good sense not to pester me for one.  They get their share out of me (especially when I’m drunk) but they at least create the illusion that it is not expected.

I would love to open a bar here and run it the right way.  Ain’t gonna happen of course because I hate the idea of running a bar.  But the bar scene here needs a kick in the ass, that’s for sure.