I will not apologize for the amount of poetry-related content on this blog. Just wanted to put that out there. But more on that later. I promised a glimpse into my life in Seoul so here are a few things.
- Both my building and apartment use touch screen keypads and it’s so liberating not to have any keys (though it occasionally freaks me out)
- I can get a decent variety of triangular kimbap (pictures forthcoming eventually…) at 7-11 right down the street for ₩800 or a little less than 80¢
- The apartment has heat, so that’s an infinite step up from the house in Dublin
- I live maybe a two minute walk from the school
- Korean Netflix is more reasonable than I expected, it’s growing quickly since it’s relatively new here
So those are a few things that have helped make the transition easier. I regret (so very deeply) that the cracker situation is pretty hopeless. As great as Paris Baguette is, it simply cannot compare to those Tesco doughnuts and I don’t even want to talk about crackers. Alas, you can’t win ’em all. There are crackers here, but I think once you go Tesco Cream Crackers, you just can’t go back.
I’ve also now found out what I’ll be doing on Wednesdays. I will spend three hours calling students one-on-one to have ten minute conversations with them. They’re mostly not my students in class, we just talk. The headset is very uncomfortable, but otherwise it’s not bad. Occasionally I will also do intensive study sessions or review groups with small numbers of students. But mostly it’s the phone classes, at least for now.
In terms of Korean experiences for the week, I haven’t had many. Other than getting a bank account and having barbecue, I’ve pretty much stayed home. As you know, that is my default setting. And I won’t be rebuked for it. I know I said that I want more out of this year than just work experience, but that doesn’t mean that I have to spend all of my time eating Korean food, wandering around, seeing what can be seen. I have time, I have eaten food, and nothing’s wrong with me cooking for myself. I want to see what I can see, but I also want to be me and me is a person who stays home nine times out of ten. I came to Korea, that’s plenty for the moment.
Also, first post-departure contact with a certain very pretty kitty. The other was indisposed by illness, unfortunately. He’s on track to recover though.
So about the poetry that I mentioned earlier. Here’s the thing: because I have so much of it in my head, much like music it can suddenly pop in and get stuck like a song, but just a couple lines of text. This one has come to me occasionally for years and I really like it.
Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul!
This, of course, is from Oliver Wendell Holmes’ wonderful work The Chambered Nautilus. In it, Holmes describes the way in which the nautilus is always moving onward and upward, building itself larger and more lovely shell space until at last it is freed from the mortal (and nacre) coil.
I don’t even have anything in particular I wanted to say, that poem has just really been sticking with me this week. It really is a lovely poem; it is a song of freedom and release. To close yourself with a dome more vast until you finally expand beyond all confines. Ugh, I don’t even know what I’m saying, but read the poem, I really like it. More stately mansions indeed.
Till thou at length art free.