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.

Too low for zero

Two pair of socks. Underwear and long underwear. T-shirt, dress shirt/tie, fleece jacket, sweatshirt, ski jacket, scarf, gloves, knit cap, hat with ear muffs. That’s how I make winter my bitch and walk to work when it’s -12 C.

Not bad for a cold ass weekday, eh?

And even though the weather outside is frightful, Anjeong-ri is looking delightful…

well, at least more delightful than usual.

My last winter in Korea.  Gonna make the most of it.

I’m too low for zero
I’m on a losing streak
I got myself in a bad patch lately
I can’t seem to get much sleep
I’m too low for zero
I wind up counting sheep
Nothing seems to make much sense
It’s all just Greek to me

You know I’m too low, too low, too low for zero
You know I’m too low, too low, too low for zero

What’s cooking?

One of the lonely paths I traveled yesterday on my way to…

…over 40,000 steps. A good day for sure. Followed with 30,000 today. And I weighed in at 206 pounds, down 20 since October and 7 pounds away from my goal.

Started the day with this hearty breakfast.

Then pulled together the ingredients for a pot roast.

Put them all in the crockpot…

Set the timer, then slaved away all day cooking…

Decided to ingest some carbs, so I whipped up some corn muffins…

Pot roast is finished…

Let’s eat!

…and so ends another rainy Sunday from yours truly…

And if you think my blog is boring, you should try living my life!  It’s bound to get better.  Or so I keep telling myself…


A river runs through it

More of the same from my so-called life.  Working, walking, drinking.  Luckily, I am pretty damn good at all of them.  Anyway, just filling in the hours, however comfortably and well.

So I drive to the office on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Drop off my garbage and take care of errands (shopping, getting my mail, banking, etc). Then I come home at lunch to drop off the car and walk back to work. So, yesterday I get home and this car is completely blocking my driveway. Who does that? I called the number on the windshield and expressed my displeasure in English while some woman expressed not understanding in Korean. Eventually she figured out that I did not approve of her parking. A few minutes later she came out of the beauty salon across the street from me and moved her vehicle. Pain in the ass!

Took a long riverside walk home from work yesterday. The river looks nice at dusk, don’t you think?

Last night I did my typical beer drinking tour of Anjeong-ri.  What was atypical was running into a woman I was formerly acquainted with.  I had met her several months ago at Galaxy bar where she is friends with the owner.  I had a falling out with said owner and no longer frequent the joint.  I popped into Crystal Bar for a brew and was surprised to see Yun in there calling me over to the barstool beside her.

We had a nice little chat and then she asked me if I still had her phone number.  I checked and I did.  She said “how come you never call me?”  I honestly told her because I never thought you were interested.  We’d been out as part of a group a couple of times, but I didn’t get the sense she was looking for more.  Last night (and maybe she was drunk) she gave every indication that she wanted to see me.  So, I finished my beer, said it was good running in to you, and left.  Why?  Well, she is pretty enough and I’m damn lonely, but 1. She is Korean and 2. I’ve got six months left in country.  I’ve had a bad history with Korean women and what’s the point of starting anything that is destined to end in a few short months anyway?  Just not worth it to me.

I’m still looking forward to meeting Gem at the end of the year, but I’m also keeping my guard up with her.  Yeah, I have some trust issues.  Go figure.  For example, today I logged on to Filipina Cupid for the first time in a couple of weeks.  It’s time to renew my membership so I was going to cancel and save the money.  While there I noticed that Gem had been active within the last hour.  Kind of a red flag don’t you think?  I asked her if she was still looking and she said “no, I only chat with you”.  Maybe, maybe not.

Anyway, I finished my Friday night at the 3 Stooges Bar.  Only the second time I’ve been in there, and I was enjoying myself and the music.  Especially this song which features a really great video:

See how happy it made me?  A bit later I was told I couldn’t vape in the bar, so of course I left and I’m unlikely to return.

Up early this morning for a long cold walk into Pyeongtaek.

I took the river route of course…

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
–Robert Frost

Two hours later I was on the mean streets of Pyeongtaek city…

…where I rested up with a warming cup of coffee before the long walk back home…

Admired these pillars which seem to have been erected for no apparent reason in a little neighborhood park I passed on my journey home.

I was damn hungry when I made it home so I grilled up a steak with a side of asparagus. Hit the spot just right.

27,000+ steps all told.  Going to head out for another hour now and get that up to 35,000 for the day.  That should have me primed for a beery Saturday night.

And they say I have no life…

The river flows
It flows to the sea
Wherever that river goes
That’s where I want to be
Flow river flow
Let your waters wash down
Take me from this road
To some other town

All I wanted
Was to be free
And that’s the way
It turned out to be
Flow river flow
Let your waters wash down
Take me from this road
To some other town

These days

Well I’ve been out walking
I don’t do that much talking these days
These days-
These days I seem to think a lot
About the things that I forgot to do
For you
And all the times I had the chance to

And I had a lover
It’s so hard to risk another these days
These days-
Now if I seem to be afraid
To live the life I have made in song
Well it’s just that I’ve been losing so long

I’ll keep on moving
Things are bound to be improving these days
These days-
These days I sit on corner stones
And count the time in quarter tones to ten, my friend
Don’t confront me with my failures
I had not forgotten them

This pretty much captures my “acceptance theory”, although it has proven to be easier said than done. I am however making progress each day, so I’ll be satisfied with that.

Woke up to a snowy morning and more is predicated tonight.

Looking out my front door.

In other news, single life is not all it’s cracked up to be:

Story of my life.

But, it can always be worse I suppose:

I hate when that happens.

Actually, it did kind of happen to me in a way.  My first Korean girlfriend (some long time readers may remember Se Hwa) broke up with my via email.  While we were living together.  That’s about as fucked up as it can get I suppose.

Well, in the category of “what comes next?”, I’m trying to stay in the game, more or less.  Finding a suitable woman on dating sites like Filipina Cupid is like looking for a needle in a haystack.  I didn’t find a needle there, but I did come across a Gem.  Well, Gemma, but she goes by Gem.  Technically, she found me I suppose, sending the first tentative “how are you?” message. We’ve been chatting for three or four weeks now, and so far I’ve found nothing wrong with her.  Other than she is not the one my heart is aching for.  Still, letting go of what’s gone and being satisfied with what remains is my new modis operandi.  More or less.

Gem was formerly an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) where she worked as a caregiver in Israel.  She got fucked over by her Israeli boyfriend in a way that puts my sorrow to shame.  He cheated with her best friend (some friend) and knocked her up.  That was two years ago and she tells me I’m the first guy since that she’s been willing to take a chance on.

Gem seems to have her shit pretty much together.  She tells me she owns a house and condo which she rents out, freelances in real estate, and is doing alright financially.  She she just wants someone to love to make her life complete.

And the other night she told me she was sorry, she knows I just want to be friends for now, but she can’t help falling in love with me.  Damn, that does freak me out.  I guess everyone defines love in their own way, and I’m certainly now open to being in love (better late than never, right?), but like I told her, there’s no way I’d ever fall in love with someone I’ve never met in person.  She said she understands that.

I told her she was welcome to join me in Subic for the New Year and she has agreed.  She even has a car and is willing to drive us there (she lives in Manila).  So, we will see if the in-person chemistry and compatibility tests are successful when we meet and go from there.  She seems excited about the week I have planned for us, so it’s a start.

Gem. 49 years old. Two grown daughters. Smart and fun loving. What’s not to like?

Today Facebook reminded me that exactly one year ago I posted a poem on love by Kahlil Gibran.  My comment on the poem at the time was “it almost makes me wish I believed in love again”.

I was so arrogantly stupid to believe that I could avoid love or live without it long term.  And that stupidity cost me big time.  So my heart is now wide open to all possibilities, but I’m not going to be in any hurry.  I’m looking forward to getting to know more about Gem and I hope that we get along as well in person as we do online.  After that, we’ll just let nature take it’s course.

But at least I’m moving forward again.  Baby steps, but forward motion regardless.  Wish me luck!

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

–Kahlil Girbran


Normally I avoid trite phrases like a plague, but today is in fact the first day of the rest of my life.  And when one door closes, another one opens.  Completing the trifecta of tired cliches, I’m still riding the emotional roller coaster, but hell, it feels almost normal now.

Anyway, each day is a new opportunity for adventure (shit, I can’t help myself).  This is how the past couple have gone:

Last night I attended the birthday party for Hanna, my friendly bartender at Arirang Bar. I baked that cake, but damn, my oven is not level apparently because the cake came out lopsided. I had a bite though and it was very moist and tasty.

I also purchased a nice ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins.

There was also an array of delicious Filipino dishes to sample (not the staff!).

Anyway, it was a nice gathering.  Started feeling old (young crowd, young music) after awhile, so I moved on with my evening.

What else, well I continue my mission to feed orphans and dogs and that brings a small measure of satisfaction to my joyless life.

Had an amazing week of walking, which I very much doubt will ever be replicated by me in this lifetime:

229,179 total steps

Avg. 32,740 steps per day. ▲10,281 more than last week

total floors

total floors
▲ 172 floors over last week

total miles

total miles
▲ 21.24 miles over last week

avg. daily calorie burn

avg. daily calorie burn
▲ 427 cals. over last week

total active minutes

total active minutes
▲ 448 min since last week

exercising this week

7 of 5 days
exercising this week
▲ 1 day since last week

avg. restful sleep

6 hrs 6 min
avg. restful sleep
▲ 0 hrs 2 min over last week

avg. hrs with 250+ steps

8 of 9 hrs
avg. hrs with 250+ steps
same as previous week

avg. resting heart rate

78 bpm
avg. resting heart rate
▼ 2 bpm since last week

Although I’ll continue to search out the roads less traveled.

Oh yeah, today I made arrangements to participate in the Subic Hash House Harriers run/walk on New Year’s Day.  Looking forward to my first ever Hash and also joining the club after the big move in May.

-10 Celsius this morning, but I walked on in to work anyway. I do believe it is colder down here than it is in Seoul.

Anyway, I’ve done my working and walking for the day.  That only leaves the drinking aspect of my life.  I reckon I better get out there and get it done.  Cheers!

I took my love, I took it down
I climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills
‘Till the landslide brought me down

Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m getting older too


Carefree Highway

I mentioned the other day that I was going to attempt a 50,000 step walk today.  I came up with a two-phase plan.  First I would walk around the perimeter of Camp Humphreys, from outside the fence.

This is a crappy picture but the only one I could access. It basically shows Camp Humphreys overlaid on Washington, DC. The point being, it’s a big ass base.

Phase 2 would be taking the long way into Pyeongtaek city.  I figured both walks to be about the same in length and I thought they’d get me pretty close to the 50,000 step total I was looking to achieve.  But could I actually walk that far?  Let’s find out!

I began by putting some fuel in the belly then headed out into the cold morning air around 0715.

I was mildly optimistic…

So, I expended 2058 steps getting to the main gate, then had to return home…

Because like an idiot I forgot to bring my vaping pens…

So as I continued my circumnavigation of the base, I passed the walking gate at 4075 steps.

Passed the Dongchong-ri gate at 6364 steps…

Passed the back side of Eighth Army HQ where I work (the grey building) at 7084 steps.

Made a left turn on the river at 8405 steps.

Passed the railroad trestle at 12,347 steps.

Turned off the river just before the highway bridge at 17,508 steps…

Near the Dodu-ri gate at 18,605 steps.

Entered the deadly quite village of Bonjeong-ri at 21,950 steps.

Got to the CPX gate in 26,397 steps.

And completed the circuit around the base in 29,318 steps.

Made it home at 30,411 steps. I was tired and hungry. Made me this fine lunchee and rested for an hour.

Time to start Phase 2. I usually do this park after work because I can walk it in the dark. But I gave it a once around today as well at 31,648 steps.

Back to the river, but this time I turned right towards Pyeongtaek city which you can see off in the distance. 35,269 steps to this point.

The KTX blew by me at 38,311 steps.

Made it to the bridge into Pyeongtaek at 41,725 steps.

I arrived at Pyeongtaek Station in 43,610 steps.

Ah. Civilization does exist in these parts. Only required 44,183 steps to get there.

And there it is! My I just walked exactly 50,000 fucking steps face!

Made it the rest of the way home and preserved the evidence of a successful day of walking.

I do believe this was a once-in-a-lifetime event for me.  I’m tired and sore, but thankfully no blisters or other signs of wear and tear.  I do feel a sense of accomplishment which is a good thing for me.

Things are bound to keep getting better.  Right?

Turning back the pages to the times I love best
I wonder if she’ll ever do the same
Now the thing that I call living is just being satisfied
With knowing I got no one left to blame

Carefree highway, got to see you my old flame
Carefree highway, you seen better days
The morning after blues from my head down to my shoes
Carefree highway, let me slip away, slip away on you

C’est la vie

Sometimes you have to let love go before you can find it again.

Old dreams must die before new dreams are born.

Go ahead and call me Captain Obvious, but those were insights gleaned during this past week’s walking extravaganza.

And what a week of walking it was!

184,658 total steps

Avg. 26,380 steps per day. ▲10,281 more than last week

total miles

total miles
▲ 13.60 miles over last week


I do believe that was a record breaker.  This week my goal is to cross the 200,000 step threshold.  That will require some massive walks over the weekend, but weather permitting I’ll push myself to achieve new heights.  Is 50,000 steps in a single day possible?  I aim to find out.  And if I fail, well, I will just take it in stride (ahem).

And I’m down to an even 208 pounds, a loss of 18 pounds in a month.  Nine more to go to reach my goal!

Anyway, life goes on much as it always has.  I’m sad, but less often.  I continue to strive to look forward to the future and not back on my past failures.  And there is much to look forward to.

My upcoming trip to Subic/Olongapo for one.  It will be difficult in some ways because much that I do there will be filled with memories of Loraine.  But I need to man up and move on because I still plan to make my home there come (what) May.

Speaking of which, I discussed the recruitment plan for my replacement here with my Deputy today.  We agreed to announce the pending vacancy in mid-February which should afford ample time to get the new person on board around the time I depart.

My days remaining at Camp Humphreys are dwindling down. Less than six months to go by my reckoning.

I’ll probably miss these noisy birds that are always flying around my office…

And the beer is still cold and wet in Anjeong-ri, so there’s that at least.

Heh, I can be both!

Life is good and bound to get gooder one day soon!

There are people in your life who’ve come and gone
They let you down, you know they hurt your pride
You better put it all behind you, ’cause life goes on
You keep carrying that anger, it’ll eat you up inside

I’m learning to live without you now
But I miss you, baby
The more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I figured out, I have to learn again
I’ve been trying to get down to the heart of the matter
But everything changes
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it’s about forgiveness
Even if, even if you don’t love me anymore



A feast among friends

Yesterday I had the nephew and some friends over to celebrate a belated Thanksgiving with the traditional feast.

My guests–Wan Jun ahd his lovely wife Becky, Dela and her fiance Daniel, and nephew Justin.  My friend Dennis was also in attendance but he doesn’t like his face on the internet so he graciously served as our photographer…

The bird. I bought it from Popeye’s on base already cooked and ready to eat. It was actually delicious, one of the moistest turkeys I’ve had in quite some time.

It carved up nicely and provided ample meat for my hungry guests.

The sad remains of the carcass. All gave some, some gave all.

The Popeye’s package came with potatoes and gravy, cole slaw and a dozen dinner biscuits.

I made my Aunt Pat’s Recipe World Famous Fruit Salad, my personal Thanksgiving tradition.

And for the first time ever I prepared a green bean casserole.

I also made candied yams for the first time. Forgot to take a photo, but that’s them on the buffet table just above the cranberry sauce…

I also baked a pecan and a pumpkin pie. By “baked” I mean I took them out of the freezer and put them in the oven for the specified time.

That’s what my full loaded dinner plate looked like.

After we had exhausted the alcoholic beverages at the house we ventured out to the bars to contemplate the true spirit of Thanksgiving…

Wan Jun, Becky and Justin stayed overnight.  So I cooked up a little breakfast this morning.

Fried up some bacon…

Baked some blueberry muffins…

And some cinnamon rolls. Wan Jun cooked up some delicious scrambled eggs.

“How’d you guys like your breakfast?”

After I took the group to Pyeongtaek station for the train ride home I embarked on a 3.5 hour walk.  I was too busy to get my steps in yesterday and I’m sure that high calorie feast was going to convert to some extra poundage.

A new path today.

And that’s about it from your intrepid reporter.

Except for this sunset shot I took the other day.

Yesterday was the best day I’ve had in a quite awhile.  I needed it!

Wasted on the way

So in those rare moments when I’m not wallowing in self-pity I have been busy with a couple of other things to keep my mind engaged in positive thinking.

For example, today I booked a flight to the Philippines where I will once again welcome in the new year.  It’s a positive step in the direction of getting my shit together and moving forward with my future plans.  It won’t happen the way I once imagined it would, but there are new dreams to be found, I’m sure of it.

I’ve also been more involved with Asan Angels dog rescue shelter.  This place houses 300+ dogs that are in constant need of something, including food.  My friend Mi Young has heroically done most of the heavy lifting these past four years almost single handedly.  I was able to post some stuff on the Pyeongtaek Living facebook page about the situation and some good hearted people stepped about and created a volunteer group.  Now there are dozens of people stepping up to fill the void. It’s been an amazing response and I feel really good about the small role I played in making that happen.

I’m also just now getting involved in helping out a local orphanage.  I was hoping to donate some money to the King’s Fil-Am home in Olongapo, but they never responded to my request for where to send a donation.  I’m meeting up with one of the volunteers this afternoon to assist in purchasing a washing machine for the orphanage.

Heh, I’ve decided to donate the monthly stipend I was sending Loraine to charity.  It feels good to be making a small difference for those who are in a much worse situation than I am.  Perspective is a wonderful thing.

Look around me
I can see my life before me
Running rings around the way it used to be

I am older now
I have more than what I wanted
But I wish that I had started long before I did

And there’s so much time to make up everywhere you turn
Time we have wasted on the way
So much water moving underneath the bridge
Let the water come and carry us away

So much love to make up everywhere you turn
Love we have wasted on the way
So much water moving underneath the bridge
Let the water come and carry us away
Let the water come and carry us away

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