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I am approaching the age that my 20-year-old self used to see as some distant thing in the future that seemed impossible, like time travel, and then one day my 30-year-old self said, “well shit, if 30 years old and the Internet can happen, then 40 is looking a little more real.” But now I am approaching it with less impending doom that I expected.

Hello Folks:

It's good to be back to our regularly-scheduled blogging here, every two weeks to the T. Just in time for me to point out that I likely won't be posting in two weeks as I will be in London visiting a dear friend not seen for far too long!

Whoops? :)

One of the frequent questions I get regarding teaching and living in South Korea is about food choices. I wasn’t super familiar with Korean cuisine before I moved to Korea and I was very pleasantly surprised to find that when I came home, I missed it terribly, and still do. There are so many lovely dishes and they just don’t taste quite the same out of their country of origin.

Rudyard Kipling wrote, “the first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.” No kidding. I’ve spent a great deal of time in South East Asia. My senses have been abused beyond what I thought possible, to the point where the sight of some things don’t affect me like they once did.

I get approached a lot by friends and acquaintances to help their friends or relatives move to South Korea to teach. I would say that about 50% are actually serious and an even smaller percentage of that 50% actually take the leap.

Me Thursday morning: “We’re going to Sapa today! We’re going to hike in the mountains in the fresh, cool air. I have such a good feeling about Sapa and overnight bus rides are always fun!” My friend mirrored my enthusiasm on our last day in Hanoi. We slogged through humidity thicker than chocolate pudding, dodging cars and motorbikes as we crossed the street.

I’ve avoided writing about this for some time because I fear it exposes my ineptness as a world traveller and an aspiring good person who is clouded by materialism. I am clumsy-minded, prone to inner torment and attached insensibly to things that have very little value in my goal towards being a more spiritual person. But here goes…

Out there in the world, Canada is like the forgotten kid on the playground, but it doesn’t care. It’s the underdog to the United States, what a friend of mine calls “America’s attic” (and can you guess where he is from?) When I lived in Indonesia, nobody ever guessed that I’m from Canada. They would hit on nearly every developed country until I finally tire of the game and just tell them.

I’m leaving Surabaya at long last. Of course I’ve left a dozen times over the course of two years to go on holiday but I always came back to my job and my apartment. Real Life was always there waiting for me to resume it. There were a handful of get-out-of-jail-free passes but I resigned myself to the shackles of responsibility and moral obligation to return to work after my blissful holidays.


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