Saturday, April 6, 2013

"I must not think bad thoughts" / Ruminating on cynicism and the city

Reading certain blogs make me thankful as hell that I don't live in any of Korea's major cities because I'd probably get much more cynical and loathe living in Korea. Chalk up another advantage to the country life: no neighborhoods of room salons, no packed subways, and fewer distractions. I don't have to think about loud and crazy neighbors because I don't have any neighbors like that. The 9 unit apartment building we three EPIK'ers live in has us and a few other teachers besides the building manager living in it. It's mostly quiet save for the one teacher whose family lives on the first floor. We hear their kids being kids occasionally.

That's not to say I don't enjoy the trips into Seoul or other cities. On the contrary, I'm fine with going there. On Friday nights I ride the bus into Seoul to see R and dive into the maelstrom at the Dong Seoul bus terminal. Seoul brings back the hard city thoughts I had in Milwaukee, where space comes at a premium and the noise makes it hard to concentrate. Neil Young wrote about the city life wearing him out and how he had "to think to smile" in his song and I get like that too. After a while I need get to get back to the mountains and hills of Wasu.

While biking to school yesterday, it struck me that unlike living in the city, no one expects you to do anything at night in the country. I can get up, go to school, and go home every day without anyone asking about what I do at night because there isn't much to do at night. It's a simple life, but I like it because it because it has few distractions. Sometimes the Korean teachers will ask if I'm lonely and I always say no. Meeting with the crew once or twice a week and drinking tea with Dave is plenty during the week. Besides, teaching's not a job that ends when the bell rings, and despite the ample prep time at school, sometimes there' stuff to do at night. Being at school all day can draining enough for my introverted nature, so I welcome the quiet times. Besides that, after college ended, I've never liked being out during the week because it eats away at guitar and music time.


Note: The title quote comes from the excellent X song of the same name. It's from their fourth album More Fun In The New World. They're a cool band from LA that I got lucky enought to see in 2006 when they had a reunion tour. They fused rockabilly riffing with Beat poetry and a punk ethos and their first four records are quality American rock and roll. Singers John Doe and Exene wrote perceptive and poetic songs about their relationship. Listen to them and feel the love and tension.

Note: Thanks goes to Rochelle for telling me about the Expat Hell blog.

No comments:

Post a Comment