The Little Engine That Could

My June resolution: a new post everyday. My hagwon director alone should provide enough fodder for the masses.

See ya Tuesday.


Why I'm a Bitch: Reason Number 649.

Quick! How many syllables in the word uncle? Two? Good. Now try table. Still two? Great, excellent.  Alright, what about people and riddle, little and candle? Two, two, two and two, say you? Fantastic! Congratulations, you are officially smarter than the Average Hagwon Director.  Or more accurately, my Hagwon Director.

English is a tricky language, I'll concede that much, but even my students know a syllable when they hear one. Stick to what you know, Hagwon Director, 'cause phonics ain't it.

And for the record, the -le syllable found in many English words is commonly referred to as the Consonant-le syllable.  It is often found at the end of a word and consists of a consonant followed by the letters le. It's one of the Six Syllable types used in modern English. I scoured the internets searching for the history of -le spelling (as opposed to spelling tabel, peopel or candel), but could find nothing definitive. I have concluded, through my super scientific deductive reasoning, that the wonky spelling is probably derived from the Latin suffixes -able and -ible. Ahh, Latin strikes again!

Here, for your nerd word pleasure: uncle (The word that started it all. Seriously, this was top of the list. Ah, sweet validation!), paddle, tingle, humble (Apparently a word with which I am unfamiliar...), bundle, circle, settle, simple (As in, Simple Minds.), people, trouble (What my ass is gonna be in if said Director reads these interwebs.), middle, gentle, table (Hagwon Director actually tried to convince me this was a single syllable word. Blasphemy.), example, throttle, obstacle, miracle, muscle, syllable (I just wish I'd realized this during the course of this afternoon's conversation.), poodle, pickle, noodle, saddle, juggle, riddle, able, candle, little, chuckle, tickle, fable, vegetable (Technically four syllables, but lazy English speakers omit that second e.), cable, probable, apple, cuddle, bottle, kettle, wobble, article, and double.
And of course, the Bible, 'cause that's how Jesus rolls.


Next Up: Tales From the Dark Side AND Georgina Sparks is BAAAACK!

Over the past month I have started and stopped a handful of posts. I have composed entire monologues in my head, spun charming yarns of my *adventures, all without conclusions. Drafts upon drafts have piled up, cluttering my hard drive and my mind, both of which have limited space at this point. It seems I have an abundance to say, but an inability to focus my thoughts. I guess that's what happens when I let too much time lag between posting. Lucky for you, none of those stories are going into this post.  Nope, this one's all about my neurosis and my flagging ability to control it.

Now that it's spring, and winter is a memory safely tucked away (praise jesus, hallelujah!), I've had some time to breathe and think.  First, I should prolly stop linking this thang to Facebook as the overlap of people who actually read it AND whom I know in Real Life grows to scary proportions. Lest I reveal some trivial part of my psyche on the internets, I wish only to suffer condemnation from those in the greater Tri-State area, which, as it turns out, make up the bulk of this blog's followers (thanks, Sassy Curmudgeon!) Plus, FB's privacy policies have gone all FUBAR, so they probably already own my firstborn. 

This winter was a bitch, y'all! It was long and wet and wholly uncomfortable.  It wreaked havoc on my wallet, my liver, my patience, my endurance, and my psyche.  Truth be told, I'm not very good at confronting my demons and dealing with my emotions.  I am, however, VERY good at hot-stepping right past those things which make me uncomfortable, squeamish, or frustrated in favor of more pleasant endeavors, like, say, drinking. 

*Mom, if you're reading, STOP NOW.

So I drank my way through the winter.  I suppose it's not unusual, especially considering drinking is a national pastime in Korea.  Fuck, it's practically an Olympic sport.  Rarely a day goes by that I don't see middle-aged men hobbling through the streets, suited up, but practically falling down drunk. It's not surprising that my drinking tirade was not only acceptable, but wholly unnoticed by those around me.

Apparently a whole slew of thangs were banging around in my head, most of which I chose to ignore for the better part of four months. Among the topics not up for discussion in my head:

  • My apparently unmarketable and, might I add, expensive skill set. Yes folks, I'm not actually a teacher, a fact even my mother has forgotten. I am, however, the proud owner of a BS in Criminal Justice, which affords me... well, I'm still trying to figure that out.
  • My failed grad school essay.  This one still burns.  Despite my inability to confront my own demons, I am quite adept at assessing others and guiding them down the path of enlightenment. No, really. People fascinate me in a way few other things do. Unfortunately, the application includes a highly personal essay, one which I was hardly in the frame of mind to write.  ( I tell myself this is prolly the universe's way of making me face my own shit before I start proffering advice, but really it was just an epic FAIL on my part.)
  • My overwhelming loneliness. Seoul is a huge city crammed full to the gills with people.  It seems an impossibility that one would feel lonely here, being surrounded by so much humanity. But I was longing -- for community, for normalcy, for routine -- for anything resembling real life. Those things are hard to come by here; things that are real and true.  Seoul is an gigantic misnomer.  The city is Seoul-less.
  • My crushing homesickness. My three month Summer of Awesome Shit (read: summer 2009) only served to highlight all the things I was missing. My family grew up and moved on despite my absence. My brother is married with child. He bought a house with a yard, and a sprinkler system and a bonus room. Friends married, procreated, lived. Time marched on without me. And I remain in a state of limbo, never engaging wholly in Here or There.
  • My 30th Birthday. 'Nuff said.
Anything else? Oh yeah, did I mention that I hated my job, my apartment was infested with ants, my best friend moved an hour away and the seasons of both Gossip Girl and Project Runway were sucking major balls?  

And so I drank.  I drank Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday. Sometimes I took Friday off, only to return with a vengeance Saturday. I often topped off the weekend with a Sunday night drinking binge that rarely ended before 2AM. I rocked at mid-week beer pong. I happily forked over $15 (each!) for second-class mojitos. I drank in Gangnam, and Sinsa-dong. I drank in Seocho, and Beomgye, and Anyang. I drank in Hongdae and Itaewon. I drank with friends and strangers. I drank so much I once fell asleep at the bar.  I drank until I forgot my loneliness and frustration. I drank until I forgot everything. I was a champ.

All retarded things must come to an end, and so my drinking tirade did as well. But not before I managed to alienate several friends, confess past transgressions to total strangers, wreak cake-havoc in a bar, ruin one perfectly soft and snuggly down comforter and spend nearly $700 dollars on a birthday party I have next to no memory of. 

But it's over.

The past few weeks have been filled with much contemplation and reflection, things I rarely engage in as they force me into corners of my mind I'd rather not visit.  I'd just as soon leave those corners to gather dusty cobwebs than confront the realities I have created. I'm still lost. I'm still struggling to make choices that are financially responsible, but that maintain my sanity. I do not want to be in Seoul any longer than necessary, but the reality is: America Sucks Right Now, and it makes more sense to wait it out here. And so I labor on, creating community where I can, building routine and engaging with my surroundings as much as I know how.

And Gossip Girl just got really effing good, so there's that.

The XX