Something very odd happened during the Busan/INP portion of the Taiwan trip (Busan only stuck it out half-time, due to the fact that he was the only one at his company lucky enough to get five entire days of vacation). Something neither one of us were betting on: we only fought once.
Including the night before the trip, when Busan crashed at mine, as I am in Incheon and therefore closer to the airport and also because.... well, because, we spent a grand total of six days and five nights entirely in one another's presence, save for bathroom time, and despite the fact that we are both very stubborn and often tend to pull the rope in two different directions, we only had one kerfuffle, which has since become known as The Mango-bingsu Incident of 2012. And no, I will not be recounting it -- suffice it to say that I did not take a single bite of the mango-bingsu, and there isn't even any photographic evidence of the event.
That was on day one of our full time in Taiwan. We were both still tired and cranky from the full day of travel that preceded it, and also a little stressed from trying to get our bearings about us in the new city. And that was it. From that day forward, whenever one of us started to get geared up, we managed to throw on the brakes, have a conversation like adults, realize we were both lucky to be on such a great vacation with each other in tow, and dial it the fuck back down. Despite getting lost, ending up in horrific tourist traps, heat and downpours of rain, unexpectedly long bus trips and having to stare at each other's faces nonstop for nearly a week.
We were both rather impressed with ourselves by the end of it.
I thought a lot during that time, and I'd venture to guess he did as well, about the fact that the main idea is to be done with my job at the end of next year. Which will, of course, require getting a new apartment. In Seoul. An apartment I sort of promised him months ago when the grad school thing was a dot on the hypothetical horizon that I would, at that point, be ready to share with him.
You see, Busan's been carrying on about living together since about six months in, motivated largely by the fact that he tends to have these kind of "couples' things" fantasies that have to do with things that couples do, to which he doesn't take much time to apply reality. Ever since then, as the subject has been brought up again and again, I've been sure to point out every single time we have a disagreement how many more of them we would be having if we lived together and how obviously that's impossible for two people to ever do ever and be happy and still like each other.
But that trip, in a weird, neurotic way, kind of proved something to me. Namely, that we are both adults, that we've been through a lot by now, and that we are possibly more sturdy and prepared than I tend to give us credit for.
The truth is, it's hard for me to give up my own space. And I've had a lot of it for a very long time now.
We saw each other all Friday night and most of Saturday day, but at about 11 this morning, a text came through: "심심해". I told him I was only planning to spend the day studying, so if he wanted to meet somewhere in the middle, he was welcome to join. He brought a book written by some monk, and then steadfastly refused to even crack it open, as he sat there watching me struggle through an article about environmental and economic policy, alternating between laughing at my obscenity-laced muttering and genuinely offering to help. After I finally made my way through the entire thing, we grabbed a quick lunch and then, with an ease that surprised me when I thought about it afterward, the conversation turned to how the neighborhood we were in was surprisingly nice and unexplored by us, how it was not at all crowded, but is close to major transportation and has loads of nice cafes and restaurants, and nearby several major neighborhoods. Also, conveniently located exactly halfway between Busan's workplace and two of my top contending future possible universities, about fifteen minutes in either direction.
So we went for a walk under the sky that was threatening rain and peeked in at several 부동산 windows, to check out price ranges.
On the way back to his subway and my bus, my mind caught up to me: "Do you really think we'll be ready to live together in a year?"
Busan laughed. "Of course. I'm clean. I like your cat. I like you."
Covers all the bases, really, doesn't it?
"But what if we fight and break up because of it?"
"We're not going to break up."
He paused, put one hand on the back of my head, and smiled. "Okay let's go. I have to pee."