Info on the contest is here. In case you are wondering as of today, December 18th 2012, there are about 12 entries. I'd say send me more, but this number is very manageable. To avoid skewing the results I've decided not to read any of the stories until the submission period is closed. At that point, I'll review each story and give it points based on things such as story arch, pacing, character, and the X factor. The X factor, of course, is something I really enjoyed or think my fellow writers have done especially well. Contest talk over. Bogging to commence.
The Cold Sore:
I woke up with a cold sore on Monday morning. I felt it growing on my face and because I'm extremely susceptible to these buggers, I raced to the bathroom and began the process of keeping it dry and keeping it from spreading. I haven't had a cold sore like this since I moved to Korea. I suspect that this is because in the winter the climate is so dry you can feel lungs drying with each intake of breath.
The Goodbye Party
Before I got the cold sore, I had to leave Korea and before I could leave Korea I had to say goodbye. I've always left a place easily but this was harder than I thought. My boss took us all out to dinner. It was a hello/ goodbye party. Hello to the new guy, goodbye to me. We had Korean barbeque. It was not cheap Samgupsal, but thick, meaty cuts of pork and fat. Thinking about it makes my mouth water, but somehow I didn't eat much. I meant to but it was really my party and because the new guy had a thousand days with this people and I had but a few hours, I reigned. It is custom in Korea to pour drinks for other people and I started pouring early. It is also custom that when you poor a drink, they return the favor. So I poured my boss several, and then went around the table. There were only 9 people at this party but Soju is strong. I drank a little beer and a lot of Soju, and was drunk like a proper Korean by the time my boss gave me two lovely scarves from Daks. I never shop at Daks but I know these were expensive. Then I shared some ramyeon (Korean style Ramen noodles) with my boss and because I was drunk, I unabashedly told everyone how much I love them. This is the blessing of alcohol. Sure, it can make you do stupid stuff like undressing on the bar and getting arrested (I plead the fifth on all the above.) But there is also a beauty to a group friends who are, by the virtue of alcohol, unafraid to tell each other things that were never said during the work hours. What surprised me was not that I adored these people, but that all of them have adored me. I knew my boss was hurting because we are friends as well as, but I did not realize how much my coworkers were hurting. The new guy was speechless and a little overwhelmed.
Between the cold sore and the goodbye party, I had to fly 24 hours. There is an energy you put out into the world and when you are open, people approach you. So it was that I met a friend for two of my three flights and by my third flight, I could barely keep my eyes open. Also, by my third flight from Vancouver to Atlanta, I was in cultural shock. I didn't experience this so much on my trip in May, but it hit me like a brick in the Vancouver airport.
I resurrected an old account on OK Cupid because you know you're supposed to be able to make friends as well as meet potential dates. I'm in the market for both, but mostly, I'd like to meet a friend or twenty. I'm lonely and sad and missing the people from my old life a lot. That old life was just two days ago, but it feels so distant and out of my reach. But if I don't find my way soon, I'll be taking another job abroad before I've settled here. Anyway, in Busan, there is Korea Bridge. In Atlanta there seems to be Craigslist and Ok Cupid. Anyway, I chose the latter because the former seems even more ridiculous. Though to be fair, as I type this, it all seems ridiculous. I'm also going to a writing group tonight, and that's probably more promising than the first two sites.
I also went to the Lenox Mall and thoroughly confused the barista. I probably left her wondering what planet I've been on. I wanted to shout "Planet South Korea!" But apologized and slunk away to nurse my pride. All this is adding to my cultural shock.
So that's how my week is going. How's yours?