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.

Pay it forward

Some of you may remember the movie Pay it Forward.  I got to thinking about it the other day while walking.  The basic premise is that when someone does you a favor, rather than pay it back you pass it along by doing someone else a favor.  It’s actually a pretty sweet concept.

Well, I’m a notoriously selfish bastard (just ask my ex-wives).  But that doesn’t mean I’m incapable of performing a good deed now and again.  And sometimes through an otherwise selfish act you can end up unintentionally helping folks out.

For example, I’ve mentioned in passing the woman I’ve employed in the Philippines to be my personal assistant/caregiver once I retire there.  Obviously that has not happened yet, although Loraine does serve as my tour guide when I visit in the interim. While I’m not there I’ve been sending her to school to learn the skills (massage and caregiving) that will hopefully make my retired years more comfortable and lengthy.

Now, I didn’t have to employ someone months before I retire but Loraine seemed like a good fit for the job and she needed the income.  I guess you could characterize that as an act of generosity (charitably speaking), but also a clearly selfish motivation on my part (didn’t want someone else to hire her before I arrived).  And she’s doing good stuff for me, like keeping track of my blood pressure (I send her the readings each morning), scouring the internet for articles that pertain to whatever I may be complaining about at any given time, and being an understanding ear when I need one.  So far I’d say it’s a win-win.

Loraine is a smart gal who’s never really had the opportunity to pursue formal education.  She’s spent her adult life working in mostly menial jobs to support her family. These often required her to toil long hours in far away countries (Hong Kong, the Middle East, Vietnam).  I certainly respect that like so many Filipinos she sacrificed and did what was necessary to survive.  So it has been especially satisfying for me to see how dedicated she has been to taking full advantage of the opportunity to learn new skills. She has this thirst for knowledge that is quite impressive.  With my luck she will use her training to get a better job, but I’ll still be proud of her for making the effort.

But here is the point of this post (yes, there is one!).  As part of her caregiver on-the-job training she has been working long shifts at a school for special needs children.  Some have physical disabilities, others have emotional and learning disorders.  It’s been a real challenge for her in many ways, but she has risen to that challenge.  She’s been going above and beyond the program requirements, spending her own time and money to prepare visual and other learning aids for the kids.  She told me about one malnourished child who never has food at break time, so she shares hers.  Most of all she feels satisfaction with knowing she is making a difference for these kids by being there.  And she says that would not have been possible if I hadn’t put her in the program.

So, she is paying the opportunity forward.  And if in some small way my selfish act in hiring her has facilitated that, well hell yeah, I’ll share in the joy.  I’m already thinking that when I retire I may have her do volunteer work at a school or nursing home as part of her job.  Heh.  Hiring folks to do the charity work on my behalf seems to suit my nature, don’t you think?

At work…

Filling a void…

Making a difference

Keep up the good work!

 

On this day in history

Courtesy of Facebook comes this photo from August 29, 2010.

Go ahead and laugh sucker! I’ve seen your future and it ain’t pretty…

“It was a night of early spring,
The winter-sleep was scarcely broken;
Around us shadows and the wind
Listened for what was never spoken.

Though half a score of years are gone,
Spring comes as sharply now as then—
But if we had it all to do
It would be done the same again.

It was a spring that never came;
But we have lived enough to know
That what we never have, remains;
It is the things we have that go.”

― Sara Teasdale

Sexy too

 

“Age has no reality except in the physical world. The essence of a human being is resistant to the passage of time. Our inner lives are eternal, which is to say that our spirits remain as youthful and vigorous as when we were in full bloom. Think of love as a state of grace, not the means to anything, but the alpha and omega. An end in itself.” 
― Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

Well, another journey around the sun has been completed.  And man am I tired.

Honestly, it’s a struggle.  I’m stuck somewhere between being unhappy and being depressed.  Today was not one of the good days, but I’ll keep on fighting regardless.

I’m not sure why I just can’t seem to embrace acceptance of what my life has become. When I look around me I can see that I have it better than many folks.  I’m grateful for my blessings, and regretful for the things I’ve lost.  Perhaps most significantly, the capacity to love.  A couple painful reminders of that this weekend have thrown me off my stride.

Oh well.  I can always hope for competency,

You just got to know where to look I suppose.

This too shall pass.

In my life

Time for another installment in the fascinating journey of my so-called life.

Well, I reckon it can be summed up as WWBD.  Working, Walking, Biking, Drinking.  I suppose it could be worse.

Work is work.  My Deputy has been on leave for the past three weeks which means I am staying somewhat more active than usual.  Even had a couple of days of coming in early and leaving late.  I expect things will quiet down for us during the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) military exercise.  It starts today and runs for the next two weeks.  I have no part to play which is a good thing because I’m not subject to General Order #1 (forbidding consumption of alcohol during the exercise among other things). Anyway, things are good with the Army.  We are ready to “fight tonight” if need be, but I expect Mr. Kim will not be so foolish as to test our resolve and readiness.

 

I’ve been working on the walking and making some progress in re-losing the weight I gained when I was sick.  Although technically I’m still sick I suppose (COPD doesn’t go away, best you can hope for is that it doesn’t get worse).  The meds are controlling the symptoms though and I’m feeling pretty good for an old fucker.  I hope to keep it that way!

Always something interesting to see when you are hiking about. I guess we know what the secret ingredient must be in those waffles!

Weather wasn’t that great this weekend but I did manage to get in a couple of nice bike rides between rain storms.

The quality of this photo is crap, but the water lilies were in full bloom on the backside of Camp Humphreys.

And so that leaves the drinking aspect of my life.  I do that every night.  I consider it self medicating for my physic pain.  Not sure that it helps all that much, but I do seem to be getting a good night sleep lately.

That’s what the inebriated me looked like on Friday night…

So, as I mentioned above with the exercise ongoing for the next two weeks the bars will be even lonelier than normal.  I’m guessing some won’t even bother opening.  On the other hand, I stand to be the youngest customer in some.  I’ll probably even be more popular than normal with the bar staff.  We shall see.

In other news, I did some shopping at the Osan Air Base on Saturday. That always includes a lunch at Arby’s. America’s Roast Beef Yes sir!

What with civil war fixing to break out any day now back in the USA, I’m wanting to get me one of these.

Can you hear me now?

And finally, it seems Facebook is fucking with my mind lately.  It has this feature where it shares a memory from the same day in the past.  Yesterday I got this:

That was on a trip to the East Sea on August 19 several years ago.

And this one was August 19 one year ago.

Today featured a 2011 post commemorating my proposal of marriage to Jee Yeun and her acceptance.  That certainly didn’t go as planned.

Anyway, it hurts to be reminded sometimes.  I constantly reassure myself though that there are worse things than being lonely.

There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all

 

A table for one

I saw this on yesterday’s walk about and for some reason it made me sad:

A metaphor for my lonely life perhaps?

It turned out to be a very strange day.  Out of the blue I heard from three different women that in the past have professed their love for me.  I guess it’s nice to be remembered and I also sometimes think of them.  But I’m alone by choice.  It’s safer that way.

I do feel sorry for whatever pain I’ve caused them on account of my bitter selfishness, but there is nothing I can do to change that.  I’m a broken man and loving me is a big mistake.  I have nothing to give in return.  That’s just the way it goes.

.

Something to blog about

Well, settling into my small town life.  Not much happening that is blog worthy, but I do feel a sense of obligation to keep my loyal readers informed about the mundane details of my so-called life.

But what to write about?  Well, sometimes inspiration just comes walking through the door.  Literally.

Last night I’m sitting in Shooters bar finishing my final beer of the evening when a couple walks through the door.  I had to turn and look because people actually coming into Shooters is an infrequent event.  The guy looks at me and says “I know you, John”. Now, I’m pretty drunk and my memory ain’t what it once was, but he didn’t look familiar at all.  Seeing my confusion he tells me “I read your blog”. Outstanding!  Nice to meet you David!

In over 12 years of blogging meeting a random stranger who follows LTG has only happened a handful of times.  It’s always surprising to me.  I know a couple of friends and family members visit here regularly, but I usually just write as if I had no audience (yeah, I know it shows).  That people find enough amusement or interest or maybe pity that keeps them coming back for more is really quite humbling.  Sincerely, thank you all!

Anyway, David and his lovely Korean wife (sorry, the name escapes me now) invited me to join them at their table.  How could I refuse?  David also works on base and he was wearing a Scrooge Pub shirt (a bar I also used to frequent in Seoul).  Plus, he enjoys throwing darts.  So we had quite a bit in common. Had a nice chat and a couple of friendly dart games.  It was a nice way to end the evening for me.

It’s a small and random world after all.

New friends in town and the inspiration for this post.

Walk thoughts

Better to ask and be disappointed than to always wonder what if…?

I was thinking back to the last time I felt a strong attraction/connection to a person I had just met.  I would have been 25 years old and recently divorced.  I walked into a bank and when the teller smiled at me it just about floored me.  I probably stared longer than politeness allows, but she was just amazing.

Unfortunately, my self-esteem was at a low ebb and I just took for granted that she was out of my league.  Couldn’t get her out of my head though and on Valentines Day I sent her a dozen roses anonymously.  Several months later I accepted a job in Fort Smith, Arkansas and went into the bank to close out my account.  Sure enough, the beautiful lass was once again my teller.

As my business was completed, I told her how much I had appreciated her kindness and warm smile during my time as a customer.  She exclaimed “Oh my God!  It was you!  I’ve been trying to figure out all this time who sent me those roses!”  I confessed to having been a secret admirer since that first day I had seen her.  She looked me in the eyes and said “I wish you would have told me”.

There was a lesson to be learned from that.  Who knows if she was “the one” I let get away.  Odds are that I would have fucked up that relationship like all the others in my life, but maybe not.  Well, you can’t go back in time but all these years later I’ve remembered being rejected is not the worst possible outcome.

“Your friends will know you better in the first minute you meet than your acquaintances will know you in a thousand years.” 
― Richard Bach

Voices

I’m driving to Seoul in the morning for a meeting with the President of the Korean Employees Union.  After work, I’ll make my way to Seoul station and catch the Airport Express train to Incheon.  My flight doesn’t depart until 2200 and arrives in Angeles City at 0100.  I’ll spend the night early morning there then catch the bus to Subic at 0845.

Meanwhile, commenter and blog buddy Kevin Kim hopes I find the meaning I seek in the PI.  Well, whatever meaning means anyway.  Hell, I’d settle for some good old fashioned contentment.

Interestingly, a vlogger I follow seems to be in a similar place.  He characterizes it as finding his purpose.  I can really relate to that.  I don’t want to be the guy sitting at the bar at 10 a.m. because I don’t know what else to do with myself.  And really, when you are retired you have to have something meaningful to occupy your time.  I’m hoping I’ll make some social connections through darts and joining the Hash club.  And perhaps enjoying the beach and bay views will be enough.  Time will tell.

And then, one of my favorite writers, Steve Rosse, posted this piece today.  It spoke to me on several levels, but I’m still processing those lessons.  More to come on that perhaps.

And of course, spending time on the road (21,500 steps today) invariably leads to some subliminal messaging from YouTube.

Say something, I’m giving up on you
I’ll be the one, if you want me to
Anywhere, I would’ve followed you
Say something, I’m giving up on you

And I am feeling so small
It was over my head
I know nothing at all

And I will stumble and fall
I’m still learning to love
Just starting to crawl

Say something, I’m giving up on you
I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you
Anywhere, I would’ve followed you
Say something, I’m giving up on you

And I will swallow my pride
You’re the one that I love
And I’m saying goodbye

Say something, I’m giving up on you
And I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you
And anywhere, I would have followed you
Oh, oh, oh, oh say something, I’m giving up on you

Say something, I’m giving up on you
Say something

I gave up a long time ago, but the song still stings.  Ah well, off to bed.  New adventures await.

Distemper

I’ve never been a particularly patient man.  And lately I seem to be in a perpetual bad mood.  Little things I could and should ignore just irk the hell out of me for some reason. Or maybe I’ve just become the proverbial grumpy old man.

My irritation seems to manifest itself most often in bars.  Not surprising I suppose since I spend too much time in bars these days. I guess the bar I frequent most often is IDK. They have darts and a reasonably friendly staff.  But I stopped in early on Friday night and was served my customary Miller Lite beer.  There were a couple of guys playing pool and me alone at the bar.  They were playing the crappiest music I’ve ever heard (hip hop?) at an eardrum piercing loud volume.  Now, I can tolerate crappy music.  I can put up with loud music.  But crappy and loud crosses the line.  I could have said something I suppose, but it’s not my bar or my place to tell them how to run it.  Instead I voted with my feet. Plopped W7000 on the bar (6 for the beer and a tip) stood up and headed for the door. The owner was surprised because I never only have one beer and asked me what’s wrong.  I just pointed at my ears, shook my head, and walked out.  I was back last night for the dart tournament and the music was played at a more reasonable volume.

I have crossed a couple of other bars off my circuit for various minor irritations. I don’t have to put up with bullshit so why should I?  One thing I don’t like is being asked to buy a drink for the bartender.  I’m pretty damn generous in that regard and I’ll normally make the offer in due course.  I usually do it as a reward for good conversation/friendly service. But not likely if I’m asked or its expected.  I understand a lot of the gals make “commission” on drinks they receive, but that whole “juicy girl” routine is not my style.  I’d rather be alone than pay for company.

Anyway, if I had a life I wouldn’t be spending so much time in the bars I suppose.  It’s a social thing because I do need to get out of the house and be around people.  Here in Pyeongtaek most of the bar scene caters to young soldiers, not exactly my demographic. Still, I got drunk with a group of combat engineers the other night.  It’s all a little fuzzy but I remember this song was being sung.

Good times!

In other news, I got a series of text messages from the woman who parked her car in my driveway.  It was clear she was using a translation app, but I played along.  We did the name exchange and the what do you do here thing.  She asked me if I had any plans this weekend and I’m thinking “hmm, this might get interesting”.  When I said I had nothing going on, she started in on the going to church thing.  Damn.  Told her I wasn’t religious and didn’t need to be saved.  And suddenly she lost interest in chatting.  Oh well.

I had a successful work day in Seoul on Thursday and spent a few hours in Shenanigans afterwards.  I guess folks were glad to see me, so that was nice.

Left my hotel at 0530 for the drive back to Pyeongtaek and encounter no traffic jams or vehicle malfunctions.  Didn’t get lost either.  My Waze app did the job even though I didn’t understand a word she was saying.  I can follow the arrows!

What an exciting life I’m leading here in the countryside!  I’ve got pictures to prove it:

I don’t know if this is a custom restaurant or a costume restaurant. I did note that if I ever get a hankering for dog stew, this is the place to go. And no, I’ve never had nor will I ever have the desire to dine on dog.

Rice planting season is in full swing. I’m told the real joy comes when the start applying fertilizer. Woo Hoo! Something else to look forward to.

Quite a lot of Filipinos in the area. Although contrary to what the sign indicates none were for sale or on the menu…

Discovered this park on my hike around the neighborhood this morning…

And this one. I’ll give the city leaders credit, they’ll put a park up anywhere that is not suitable for rice cultivation.

I’ll keep holding on.

Can you help me remember how to smile?
Make it somehow all seem worthwhile
How on earth did I get so jaded?
Life’s mysteries seem so faded

 

 

A bitter pill to swallow

Actually, many bitter pills to swallow.

I took the afternoon off work to go on a quest to find the Good Morning Hospital.  My Waze app, despite being in Korean, got me there with no problemo.  Finding the parking lot was another story.  But eventually I did.

I was without a clue (shuddup!) when I walked in the doors of GMH so I was happy to see the Foreigner information desk.

And the English spoken here was surprisingly good.  Noteworthy in fact.  So the way it works is you tell these folks why you are there (COPD) and then they walk you over to the appropriate physician and serve as your translator.  Well, my main goal was to get some prescription refills and make sure I didn’t have anything else to worry about  The pulmonary doc I saw didn’t seem to be all that concerned so either he doesn’t give a shit or I am not in any immediate danger.  He did take an x-ray and told me I don’t have pneumonia.  So there’s that.

They’ve already given me an affectionate nickname at Good Morning– Jo*. Hell, I’ve been called worse.

Anyway, another nice feature is they fill your prescriptions right there at the hospital.  Easy Peazy.  Although two of the drugs I requested were not available, so I’ll have to find them on the economy I reckon.

These are the drugs I did bring home from GMH.

Add them into my other daily drugs and I’ve just about reached the pharmacy level.

Anyway, the hospital is about 15 minutes away by car and I’m glad to know where it is in case of emergency.

When I got back to the house there was ANOTHER car parked in my carport.  What the hell?  I called the number on the windshield and a woman answered.  Apparently she was getting her hair done at the salon across the street from my palace.  She came running out all apologetic and she was pretty cute for a fortyish gal (meaning hadn’t gone full ajumma). I tried to flirt a little bit, but alas, her English was next to non-existent.  And of course with my limited Korean all I could have asked is get me a beer please.  By way of explanation she did go to Google translate on her phone which told me that my house had been vacant for a long time and she thought that it still was.  Fair enough.

Tomorrow I’ll be driving up to Seoul to attend a couple of three meetings.  Will spend the night, take leave on Friday, and come back down to Pyeongtaek for the long Memorial Day weekend.

Ain’t life grand?

Welcome to my Palace

All moved in.  Most of my stuff put away.  Let’s take a tour.

A kingdom of one.

 

My street

I’ll set up my grill at the back of my carport…

The “mud room”…

Downstairs living area.

My modern kitchen.

With a dishwasher and water dispenser…

…a big ass fridge…

….gas range with oven.

My bedroom…

dresser alcove…

and master bath…

My office room…

…with adjoining bath

I’ll have an American washer/dryer set up in my laundry room tomorrow…

Then there’s the upstairs…

Featuring a huge ass great room I’ll likely never use…

A room I can imagine making a nice office.

Another bathroom….

And another bedroom…

The upstairs master bedroom is exactly like the one downstairs…

As is the 4th bath…

The view from the back…

The view from the front…

And the view from the side. How convenient is that convenience store!

That’s where I live.  More on the life here soon…

Goodbye to you

Farewell to Seoul, my home for most of these past 12 years. It’s been swell and sometimes hell, but the memories will last a lifetime.

but new adventures await.

Thanks to Shenanigans for the alcohol fueled farewell last night.  It was good to see so many familiar faces one last time.  I’ll post some photos when I get home.

This morning I’ll check out of the Crown Hotel (okay for less the $50 a night), catch up on some emails at the office, then meet my landlord at my former residence where hopefully some money (in the form of my deposit) will change hands.  I left the place cleaner than I found it, that’s for sure.

Back to the office for a pizza and cake event to celebrate the May birthdays on my team, after which I’ll load up my work computer, and head on down the highway for Camp Humphreys.

See you there!

Pride goeth before a fall

I created a little excitement in Shenanigans last night.  I had been enjoying a couple of gin and sodas and chatting with some dart league friends.  I remember standing up and coughing.  And then I remember being helped up off the floor spewing blood from my mouth.

I hate when that happens.

And it has happened before.  Back in February 2006 I had a black out in Dolce Vita.  That earned me an ambulance ride and a bunch of stitches in my forehead.  Stupid is as stupid does, eh? 

Then there was the night in May of 2008 at Metro Bar that also left me in stitches.

I guess you might say that blacking out and falling down in Itaewon bars is something of a tradition with me.  I couldn’t very well leave town without one last fall for old times sake, now could I?

Last night’s tumble went down just like the first two incidents.  I stood up, I coughed, blacked out, and went face first into a table.  This time I came away with only a split lip, so I’ll consider myself lucky.

And for the record, I was not drunk, nor was I drunk the other two times.  The fact that it only seems to occur in bars is purely coincidental.  I’m not sure what it is all about, the combination of standing and coughing seems to create a lack of oxygen flow to the brain or something.  Hell, I don’t know.  Fortunately, it doesn’t happen frequently and it’s always good for a blog post.

As I was being helped up from the floor and regaining consciousness, I was in a dream-like happy place.  I didn’t want to leave there.  It wasn’t exactly a “walk towards the light” moment, but if that is what dying feels like it won’t be so bad.  Of course, there is only one way to find out and I’m really not THAT curious!