It appears I will survive.
I’ve spent the last few days with a cold. There is nothing like having a cold abroad. There is nothing like having any kind of sickness when you’re abroad. Everything your body does, from running at the nose or shivering and sweating with fever, magically feels more foreign and violent when you’re in another country.
I can’t explain this phenomenon but I have now experienced and lived it first hand.
Don’t worry, I won’t rant about it. I’ll waste your time with other affairs.
But be warned that when people say the winters in Korea are hard, they are speaking euphemistically. What they mean to say is that you will, inevitably, become miserably sick. The air is too dry and polluted and cold to actually breathe. Your floor heater will only dry out the air even more. Your lips and nose will crack and bleed and burn from dryness. The warmest clothes in the stores don’t exist. There are no clothes warm enough. The warmest boots won’t fit.
So, while you’re sitting in your living room thinking about coming to Korea, shrugging off what I’m saying, thinking ‘it’s only a year,’ you Californian, listen carefully: this is what you’re in for. This will be your day-to-day.
I’m not saying you can’t handle it because it’s not like its impossible but just take a moment to ask yourself if it’s really what you want to experience. Give your mind a moment to imagine the reality. This way, you at least won’t be able to say that nobody warned you.
There are colder places to live.
But there are warmer places too.
California is one of the warmest, obviously, so I can’t help but cry about it.
But in all fairness, I was just grateful to wake up this morning feeling like a human again.
I bought my first humidifier today. Her name’s 휴 미 (hue-me). I’m at work and she is puffing away to make my room feel like California in time for my arrival tonight. I usually don’t name my appliances but it’s sort of become a running joke between Chris and me to name only the most beloved and extraordinary appliances. Chris’ plug-in space heater, Holmes, started the trend because he was such an exceptional heater that we worshipped and relied on last winter.
I admit that I haven’t really been obeying the contemporary philosophy of practicing “now-ness.” All I’ve really been thinking about lately is “later-ness.” My heart has already gone back to Sacramento. What will I do while I’m there? I have no idea. But one thing is certain- I will nest. I will bunker down with some books and my boyfriend, in some cozy little one bedroom in midtown, and I will revel in my knitting and the sunshine and good produce and nice cheese. I will drink real, and affordable, wine. We will kiss and talk in person. I will not use Skype. Not once. We will go on walks and run into old friends. We will drink real coffee. I will make friends with perfect strangers because, why not? We speak the same language!
I admit that I am already scouring Craigslist for apartment listings and job openings.
The apartment openings are looking good. The job openings, not so much. Is it just me, or are job titles becoming increasingly bureaucratic and vague? I can’t imagine calling myself a project manager or systems operator. What the hell does that even mean? It sounds like code for bullshit. What kind of day will that actually entail? Sitting around and pointing at things for people to do? Sitting at a desk all day in a high rise, sending emails in complete silence? Discussing protocol and procedures and hierarchy?
Maybe I’ll join the masses and go back to school.
It appears I will survive.