Christmas in Jeju?/Vietnam. Again.

So, our dear Willie has sent me a message that's made me realize that (hello) the holidays and, more importantly, vacation time are just around the corner. These things always sneak up on me. I get too dug in at work and work is all I can see -- I forget that any vacation time is ever, ever coming again.

W's headed to Jeju-do for Christmas and New Year's and I'd love to join him, honestly. I haven't been yet, and maybe it's just all the harking the locals do about Jeju-do being Korea's Hawaii, but I have images in my head of some kind of year-round tropical paradise where it's always 85 degrees and sunny. Obviously that's not the factual state of things, but this recent cold snap has partially frozen my brain and it's all I can think about.

So I went ahead and pestered Coteacher about what our school's schedule will be, exactly, in the coming few months. The trouble is, I only get one day off for Christmas (Christmas), and then I have to be back at work on Monday. Then, Tuesday is apparently an overnight teachers' trip, which, if not attended, may mean three days in the freezing ass school by myself. Then one more day off for New Year's and that's it. Which means if I do go to Jeju-do, I only have a three day weekend to do it. And I'd probably have to travel ON Christmas day. Fantastic.

I'm not looking forward to Christmas, though. Not that I ever really am. The only good thing about it Stateside was that I got to make the trek from NYC to Texas to visit my family. Now, I don't even get that. I realize that I live in a different country now -- one I'm lucky even acknowledges Christmas at all. But it is hard to adjust to it just being a one-off, one day minor celebration, instead of the really crucial family holiday that it is back home. As I've tried to explain to many a Korean, not being with your family on Christmas is basically considered the saddest, most pathetic thing that could happen to a person back home.

Anyway. I need to learn how to fucking make up my mind about these things. My actual vacation will have to happen sometime after the first of January and before the eighth of February. And I really, honest to God, hope to make it to Vietnam (and possibly also Cambodia) this time. That's in two months. TWO MONTHS. Earth to Liz. Get your shit together.

When I first set out to move to the ROK, I had visions of skipping off to globetrot every chance I got -- that was one of the major advantages of the decision: 1. being in a completely different part of the world, where I would be close to many places I wanted to visit and 2. finally having enough money to make that possible. But. Then I arrived. And I got far more sucked into my job and my life here than I ever really intended to. So now vacation rolls around and I'm like a 45 year old who just wants to lounge around my apartment in my pajamas, catch up on a few classic novels, see movies in the middle of a weekday and sleep past 8 in the morning.

One thing I know by now, however, is that when I do stay in the ROK during a vacation, I eventually start to go stir-crazy and cause a lot more trouble for myself than is necessary. I'm trying my damndest to stay on the straight-and-narrow these days, and away from that kind of meaningless nonsense. So I guess I should be off to Kyobo this weekend to pick up a guidebook on Southeast Asia. Nonsense doesn't count if happens in another country, right?

Oh. I've got a lot of work to do. It's just too damned cold. For tonight, anyway, after a ridiculously ill-made decision to have company over until past midnight last night, despite being exhausted to begin with, I think I'll just crank up the ondol, lay a mat over the warm spot and watch a stupid teen movie from the mid-90s that I've seen probably close to a hundred times. I'm also going to try to figure out how to prepare some preposterous instant meal purchased from the local GS25 for dinner.

I am an adult. A woman -- not a bachelor. Some of this shit has got to stop.


Anonymous said...

Meh. Come to Daejeon and hang out with me and my uber cool kid. It'll be, like, Korea - but also a totally different planet. :)

I'm liking your blog, btw. You have this kinda 'new' perspective (new by my standards, I mean) but you manage to steer away from all the boring stuff that comes up on some other blogs.


Anonymous said...

If you go to Kyobo, find the Portable Library of Korean Literature series in the English area. Find "The Wings" by Yi Sang for starters, if you haven't already.
...... anonymous admirer of you and your writing ..... santa fe, nm.

I'm no Picasso said...

Melissa -- thank you very much. Checked out your blog -- I'll definitely be back there after work to snatch a few songs. Your kid is cute as a button, by the way.

Hello New Mexico. Thanks for the tip. Why so anonymous?

MikejGrey said...

I'll meet ye in Nam Liz.

I just read a short non-fiction piece thingee about an american ex-pat in Vietnam and it made me miss Korea a bit.

Anonymous said...

Oh, also, "A Dwarf Launches a Little Ball" by Cho Se-Hui. the yongsan massacre sharpens a bit.
.... :) santa fe, just back from san antonio.
i am very happy in the "wings" here, when I have time. you're full of life-intelligent, on the edge, good at what you do, perceptive, no-shit-kickass, sensitive. someday, i will tell you a story and perhaps ask a favor which is in gwanghwamun. have a great day.

Kel said...

Yeah that xmas schedule is weird. I was only supposed to have one day off for xmas as well, then work the following Monday and Tuesday...then off again for another 3 days before winter camps, but I managed to convince my principal to give me that Monday and Tuesday off which really gave me the whole week off! I just have make up the classes before I go *which I already did*. I was surprised at how flexible they were, but S only has that one week off @ xmas (hagwon), so it was either that or spend winter vacation apart (not an option).

Philippines, here we come!

PS You should go to Jeju with Willie. Think about how hilarious it would be.

PPS I also <3 Melissa's blog!

Willie said...

You should totally come down!!! Flights are going quick though! Check out JinAir, EastStar, and JejuAir online. Booking is easy especially with the help of a korean!

I'm no Picasso said...

Mike -- I really, really, really wish you were coming to Vietnam with me. We could spend the whole time sitting around drinking super strong coffee and pretending to be Thomas Fowler(/Anthony Bourdain).

Santa Fe -- I will definitely see if I can find those two. The title of the second has me excited already.

San Antonio is a great city. I get the feeling you dig the dry heat -- me too. And I'd like to hear your story. Stories are my favorite.

Kel -- It's better than last year when Christmas was on a Thursday and we had to be back at work on Friday. That was terrible. Also, Christmas in the Philippines with your girl! I'm jealous!

Willie -- I'm going to check out flights now and mull it over. What day exactly are you heading down? Also, do you know how to book without a credit card? :(

MikejGrey said...

We should seriously try to meet in Vietnam at some point and make this a reality. Then maybe we can watch Brendan Fraser die in the jungle