Published: February 27th 2008January 22nd 2008
Cairo and I
One can't blame Cairo for not smiling since he doesn't yet have teeth!
Indeed it's true! I enjoy work and life in Korea more than one should be allowed. Because of this, I forfeited a $26,000 Scholarship to Kenya to sign my second contract with the Chung Dahm Institute in Busan, South Korea. The decision didn't come easy. Months back it was no decision I cared to make quickly, and I did not. I had a month of deliberation to decide weather or not to forego my scholarship/service opportunity in Kenya or stay a subsequent year in Korea. In recent weeks, civil war has become the loud voice of Kenya's plight and I am not so sure how my path would have otherwise changed amidst violence and chaos. Interestingly enough, part of me desires to be amongst the violence to empathize better with the real world but a much larger part of me is further reaffirmed I am to be in Korea.
Recapping the past couple months is like rereading a dusty book from high school as I've not thought much about it. I've managed to grow further attached to my life as a Head Instructor in what I call the best academy in Korea, CDI! It's not that teaching English is the most virtuous path to enlightenment but I am blessed to work with so many bright students and rather than the unmotivated. Their drive to push themselves is rewarding, motivating and supersedes work without reason.
In October, my brother and two friends were able to make it to Korea to see the Busanese culture and experience a day in the life of Jareb. We kept ourselves busy with market tours, the beaches, temples, restaurants, bars etc. Their trip went off without a hitch unless one considers lost luggage a hitch. Their luggage was in a storage facility in Seoul for 80% of their stay and lots of effort to get it had little avail. At least my cloths can fit my friends!
In November, a co-worker and I made a get-a-way to Seoul for the Joongan International Marathon, a marathon in which we were not supposed to be running. Thanks to a Korean friend and our International status, we were given acceptations and allowed to run despite missing the registration deadline. As I finished my 26th mile in the Olympic Stadium of Seoul, I looked up at the stadium seats trying to imagine the life of an Olympian. The vocals of Frank Sinatra's My Way played on the loud speakers and in spite of a 3:43 finishing time, I could not help but feel like anything but an Olympian for a few moments. Our second real meal in Seoul was a repeat of what we’d eaten the night before at a great vegetarian restaurant. I ordered food for two for myself and enjoyed the company of friends who came to Seoul to meet up. November was not all fun and games. I did join friends to hike and take yachts to a cultural shrine on an island a few hours from Busan. Or wait, I guess that was fun too! Admittedly, my social life is a little bit of fun and games.
December was my celebratory month! I enjoyed added pieces that’d I recently purchased for my studio apartment including a reasonable aquarium of 10 gallons which lead to a larger aquarium of 85 gallons which lead to a Shih Tzu puppy that weighed less than a gallon of water. Yeah, to sum things up, I’ve a massive tank with Oscar fish and a small tropical tank in addition to a little guy who goes by Cairo! Cairo’s my helper, though I’ve not yet figured out what sort of help he can do. No matter where I am, he’s right there in my shadow. I should also mention that my other dog, Nairobi, was taken from my apartment while I was asleep one night in June. Although dog soup is served in restaraunts in Korea, I am quite sure he was taken as a pet and not for a meal. Even with the friends I bought, I refrained from being a homebody 100% of December. I had a nice ski weekend and also a temple visit and afternoon to a ski cabin for Christmas with Santa hats and Christmas decorations aglow. Christmas Eve was a gluttonous cheese and wine party with friends. It was then that Jareb said farewell to alcohol for a little while. I love my wine but have decided to take a break for a bit.
January proved to be exciting in that I started out a new year with a goal of staying in shape and eating well. I’ve been keeping journals on my foods and exercise which has helped me to maintain the chi that I’m looking for. I’ve read a few great books and participated in my 2nd Polar Bear Swim in Busan. Thankfully, I’ve some awesome co-workers who are not afraid of fun and signed up with me. The 7 of us charged to waters of the East China Sea to shock our bodies with some chilly water. I imagined myself as a passenger on the Titanic swimming to stay alive after the ship had gone down. I stayed in for about as long as you could and then went directly a spa to warm up. Sadly, my signature to sign in the spa looked like the cardio scan of a heart beat instead of my name. I must have had extra fat on my body last year because this time around I was much colder than I recalled feeling in 2007.