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.

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.

 

 

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

 

 

Aftermath

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.

FUCK ME!

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

Acceptance

My week in the Philippines allowed me to practice patience by accepting the fact that much there is not as it could or should be.  If you cannot accept that simple truth, you will be very unhappy living in “paradise”.  I’m still a work in progress in that regard, but I am getting better at “taking a deep breath, relaxing, and accepting the Filipino way”.

One afternoon as I sat drinking ice cold San Miguel Light beers beach side, it occurred to me that the concept of acceptance might have some applicability to what remains of my life here in Korea.  Accepting that things are not always as I would desire them to be doesn’t make my “problems” go away, but it allows at least some additional perspective that in the grand scheme of things those problems are relatively meaningless.  Certainly being in a poverty ridden third world country underscores that point.

I am not so naïve as to think that acceptance will equate to happiness, but I’d certainly settle for a little peace of mind.  Practically speaking, here’s how I see the concept of acceptance working:

  1. Accept that the past is the past.  There’s no going back, there’s no fixing it, there’s nothing to be gained by feeling sad about what is lost.  It’s gone, let it be.
  2.  Accept that negative thinking doesn’t make things better.  I spend a lot of time in my head pondering about what I don’t have, lamenting my solitary existence, wishing for something better.  It’s pointless.  Instead I want to focus my attention outwards, helping others where I can, and taking satisfaction in my existence making a positive difference for those I am able to touch.  That’s certainly my post-retirement plan, perhaps I can get a head start now.
  3.  Accept that future plans are fraught with potential disappointment.  Instead, I’ll keep an open mind to whatever may lie ahead in life, while endeavoring to live in the moment.  As the old saying goes, “today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday”.  I’m going to seek to be satisfied with each day as it comes, knowing that a bad day will give way to a new day.

So, that’s the idea.  It’s in the early stages of implementation, but already I’ve noted that I can repel the sadness (more or less) by simply uttering “acceptance!”  People probably think I’m crazy when I do, but I can accept that.

Expecting to fly

Happy Chuesok to those of you who celebrate Korean holidays.

If everything goes according to plan I’ll be on an airplane to the Philippines tonight. Getting to Incheon from Pyeongtaek ain’t nearly as convenient as it is from Seoul. Basically my options are to take a cab or city bus to Pyeongtaek station, grab the train to Yongsan station, then transfer to the slow airport train (or cab or subway to Seoul station to catch the express).  Alternatively, I can catch the airport bus here in Anjeong-ri and ride it on in to Incheon.  I’m going with the bus.

I don’t arrive in Manila until 11:00 p.m., so I will overnight there and then catch an afternoon plane to Boracay island.  First time I’ve every visited there.  From what I read it is pretty much a touristy beach area.  Considering my difficulty in securing a hotel room I’m assuming it is a popular spot for Koreans on this long holiday period.  I should feel right at home.

It’s no secret that I’ve been struggling of late.  I’m hoping this vacation will help me get my head on straight so I can man up and stop being such a pathetic whiner.  You know, that whole changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes thing.

Stay tuned.

Reading departure signs in some big airport
Reminds me of the places I’ve been.
Visions of good times that brought so much pleasure
Makes me want to go back again.
If it suddenly ended tomorrow,
I could somehow adjust to the fall.
Good times and riches and son of a bitches,
I’ve seen more than I can recall

These changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes,
Nothing remains quite the same.
Through all of the islands and all of the highlands,
If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane

Should I stay or should I go?

Came across this site in a wooded area on yesterday’s hike. Thankfully, civilians are not allowed. Unless I wasn’t supposed to take the picture.

It should come as no surprise that I’m not particularly happy with my life here, so why stay?  As commenter Brian pointed out, you can’t add time to the back end of your retirement.  Well, here’s my thinking on the subject.  Although my thinking is subject to change.

To begin, technically I’m still retired since I’m drawing my full pension.  In the parlance of Uncle Sam, I’m a re-employed annuitant.  So one way to look at it is that I’ve taken up a forty hour per week hobby with some pretty lucrative benefits.

When I originally left government service on December 31, 2010 I had a plan and most importantly, someone to share my planned life with.  Initially I was kept engaged with seeing my parents off on their voyage to the afterlife, then dealing with matters of their passing as the executor of the estate.  I also had to set up residence for myself and Jee Yeun, finding a house and having it remodeled, and furnishing said house.  There were the kids and grandkids to spend time with, dart leagues to found and run, and some travel to enjoy as well.  And with the six months there, six months in Korea routine it kept things from getting stale.  Which is not to say it was never boring, but it was a comfortable life that I expected I would live until the end of my days.

Then one day it was all gone.  A betrayal I’ll never fully understand or completely recover from.   Well, life goes on (until it doesn’t) and having a job and what passes as a social life with my work family gave me some meaning and purpose.  I’m not sure I would have made it otherwise.

Now I find myself back in the job I left when I retired and living in lovely Pyeongtaek.  I had planned to re-retire prior to the the move, but was convinced to stay through the transition to Camp Humphreys.  My employees (bless their hearts) think I’m the greatest boss ever and don’t want me leave.  I seem to be respected and appreciated by the command leadership and that feels good.  And not to brag, but my organization has really stepped up and filled some voids.  We have a “can do” reputation and I’m very proud of all that my team has accomplished.  Which is a long way of saying I do derive a lot of satisfaction from my working life and it is not really a burden to show up each day and do what (little) I do.

Well, all things must pass and I have told my people that I will not stay beyond May. Nothing real magical about that day, other than it is when the lease expires on this big ass house I’m living in (for free).  And in reality, I can leave anytime between now and then (with a 30 day notice to the landlord) if I decide circumstances warrant bailing out.

And there’s the rub.  There is nothing wrong with my life here.  Other than the fact that I’m unhappy with it.  I’m bored, lonely, and far too often, drunk.  That lifestyle is unsustainable.  But I know that until I figure out how to transform myself, those symptoms will likely continue wherever I am living.

What to do, what to do?  A girlfriend would be nice except that a) I’m incapable of love and b) I don’t want to get roped into a relationship that is doomed to end in just a few short months.  So I’m going to have find a way to deal with the boredom and loneliness on my own.  And preferably without the alcohol crutch.  I’m floundering some now, but I’m confident I’ll find my way out.

Does it get any better than this? I sure as hell hope so!

So looking ahead to my new life in the Philippines, what will I do to keep myself occupied and engaged without the benefit of a full-time and meaningful job?  Good question.  Here’s what I envision:

I’ll have my employee available to assist me and take care of me.  That should help some.  I’ll have a dog or two.  Dogs never complain about not having a happy life and then abandon you.  I could use that kind of loyalty in my golden years.  I’m still struggling with what my “purpose” will be in retired life.  I envision myself becoming more engaged with the Fil-Am orphanage  I have assisted during my recent trips to the PI.  And I have it in mind to do some other regular charity work, I’m just not sure what that will be yet.  I’ll play in the dart league and join the local Hashers  hopefully making some new friends along the way.  Maybe that will be enough.

So there’s lots of work to be done in the meantime.  I do appreciate all the support and encouragement my loyal readers provide in the comments.

Onward!

 

I will survive

To a Friend

I ask but one thing of you, only one,
That always you will be my dream of you;
That never shall I wake to find untrue
All this I have believed and rested on,
Forever vanished, like a vision gone
Out into the night. Alas, how few
There are who strike in us a chord we knew
Existed, but so seldom heard its tone
We tremble at the half-forgotten sound.
The world is full of rude awakenings
And heaven-born castles shattered to the ground,
Yet still our human longing vainly clings
To a belief in beauty through all wrongs.
O stay your hand, and leave my heart its songs!

–Amy Lowell

Why not start off with a little poetry to cleanse the palate?

But seriously, Anjeong-ri is proving to be unhealthy for me both emotionally and physically.  I continue to self-medicate with copious amounts of alcohol and I’m starting to feel the effects.  Need to slow down and pace myself so I can make it until May.  By god, I’ll do it or die trying!  Heh.

Anyway, I’m staying relatively busy and grounded at work.  Speaking of which, when I got my pay stub (well, leave and earnings statement which is posted on line) today I brought home a whopping $31 dollars and change.  My first thought was oh shit, they are paying me what I’m worth!  Then I remembered I work for the government and there is no such metric.  It seems that through some incompetence my original appointment expired on 3 September and somehow my re-appointment was never processed.  I’m told it is being “worked on” and I’ll get the money I’m owed sometime in the undefined future.

I keep extra in the checking account for contingencies such as this, so no doubt I will survive.

Welcome to the Friend Zone

So, a Korean friend sent me this in messenger. Even personalized it. Yeah, I got the message.

friend zone

noun

informal
  1. a situation in which a friendship exists between two people, one of whom has an unreciprocated romantic or sexual interest in the other.
    “I always wind up in the friend zone, watching them pursue other guys”

Lord knows over the course of a lifetime I’ve both been locked up in friend zone jail and done the incarceration.  I understand the frustration and disappointment that goes along with unrequited emotional attachments.  But, there are worse things.  Honestly speaking, in this case it was almost a relief.  I’ve been down that road too many times to think it will lead to anywhere other than a dead end.

I’m not going to love or be loved, notwithstanding the occasional weak moment of temptation.   The fact of the matter is that I do get lonely and I do crave companionship. And yes, I wouldn’t mind getting laid now and then.  Friends with benefits would work just fine, but alas there are no prospects on the horizon.

Seven months left in Korea.  Ten days until my next visit to the Philippines.  I’ll get by I reckon.

In other news, these three stories were listed in order on Drudge yesterday:

Walking to work staves off death.  Okay, I do that just about everyday.  I should be good to go, but…

Loneliness is as deadly as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.  Good thing I’m into vaping now!

And finally the secret to happiness is revealed: Sex and Sleep are the keys to happiness.  Well damn, I’m so horny I can’t sleep.  I’m not happy about that.  I’d say I’m screwed but I’m not.

At least I have the friend zone.

I hope the day will be a lighter highway
For friends are found on every road
Can you ever think of any better way
For the lost and weary travelers to go?

Making friends for the world to see
Let the people know you got what you need
With a friend at hand you will see the light
If your friends are there, then everything’s all right

 

Carry on

Well, I see it has been a week since my last post.  Regular readers have probably discerned that I must be in one of my moods.  Yeah, I’m in a funk but don’t worry, I’m not going to go there.  Much.

Let’s just say that I continue to struggle with the emptiness that is my life.  I won’t allow anyone to fill that void with love (and yes, the opportunity has presented itself) and so I have to fight to keep the sadness at bay.  Some days are worse than others in that regard, but I know I’ve been blessed in so many ways that I don’t let myself sink too deeply into despair and self-pity.  I have the power to change my life but for whatever reason I seem incapable of doing so.  So far at least.

Okay, enough of that!  I continue with my WWBD (work, walk, bike, drink) lifestyle.  Work is work but it at least provides some purpose.  Walking gives me lots of time to think, but that’s not always a good thing.  Biking is something to fill some weekend daytime hours.  And lately, drinking is what I do best.  Every fucking night of the week (but only to excess on the weekend).  But hey, it’s what passes as my social life.

Well, I’m a bar stool genius – I can solve the world’s problems
Without even trying
I have dozens of friends and the fun never ends
That is, as long as I’m buying

Who knew I’d be living the lyrics to an old Styx song?

Hey don’t go!  I’ve got pictures!

See, I can still find something to smile about. This was posted above the urinal in an SK gas station I visited on one of my weekend walks…

So near and yet so far. On this side of the fence is where I work, on the other…freedom! Well, I’ve postponed my imminent retirement date. I’ve already announced to my staff that I’ll be gone no later than May. Sooner if need be.

So, I get this weird email from a stranger asking me if I knew how to contact the owner of this beached boat. A victim of Hurricane Irma. I spent the night with my old high schools friends on the Second Chance for New Year’s 2012. When I asked the emailer how she found me she said a Google search turned up this blog post. Interesting. I’ve lost touch with Rod and Patty but I’m not sure it’s the same boat anyway.

And the seasons they go round and round. I watched the rice being planted when I arrived down here. And now I’m watching the harvest.

My trusty river rider parked at the only restrooms you’ll find for over an hour in either direction…

On Saturday I rode to the end of the trail on one side of the river…

And on Sunday my way was blocked by this collapsed bridge which had been under construction. That’s only one section, the whole damn thing came down.

But at least there were flowers to enjoy along the way.

It seems I keep missing this delivery truck when he comes by my place…

I took a trip out to Osan AFB to do some shopping. And that meant rewarding myself with some Arby’s. The French Dip was outstanding!

There’s no Namsan to walk around here, but I make do…

The weather has cooled off to where I can almost walk in comfort…

So many choices in life. Maybe one day I will make the right one…

A park…

And another park.

The path less traveled. But I took it anyway.

Death always looms large, but I just walked on by.

A juxtaposition. Gawd, I’ve been wanting to find an excuse to use that word!

And then it was “back” home. Ahem.

Been keeping the grill fired up…

And I was even on TV! CCTV, but still…

That’s how I look on a drunken Saturday night. Kinda crazed, don’t you think?

It’s not the life I chose nor the life I wanted, but it is most assuredly the life I have.  And I can live with that.

Peace out!

One morning I woke up and I knew you were really gone
A new day, a new way, and new eyes to see the dawn
Go your way, I’ll go mine and carry on

 

I’m not the man I used to be

Facebook tells me this was exactly two years ago.

This is me last night. Still need to drop 20 pounds or so, but I seem to have flatlined. Of course, all that beer drinking isn’t helping I’m sure.

Ah well, fatter and happier versus a less fat lonely wretch.  You don’t get to choose, you just learn to deal with it.  More or less.