On Nine and Counting

Sunday morning I woke in the most comfortable bed I have slept in for some time, in an apartment about seven times the size of mine, halfway up Namsan mountain, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking all of Seoul. Well, all of one-quarter of Seoul.


Saturday night had included blue shoes, hamburgers, hot chocolates, 1/3 of Ocean’s Thirteen, wine, live music, Coronas twice the price of an entire six-pack, Paris Hilton in the next room and middle-aged American assholes in tuxedos with an inflated sense of entitlement.

There are two kinds of people in this world: People who, when they hear Paris Hilton is in the next room, want to go meet her and people who want to leave. Can you guess which I am? How about the Dude in the Tuxedo? Can you guess which he is? Let’s just say I did not see Paris Hilton, nor did I over-talk about it loudly in my tuxedo.

The following morning, despite headache, lack of sleep and an exceptionally rosy demeanor, I forged on for a delicious brunch in Itaewon with YoungDoo and Bill. We sat among the golden glow of gingko trees and discussed The Future over pancakes and eggs benedict. I skipped off to spend a solo afternoon in Dublin, for a matinée of this beautiful film which stirred me and filled me with tears and smiles and delight and music and memory and swelling hearts.

It was exquisitely simple. If you’ve not seen it, you must.

After some reckless consumerism and a purchase which has officially propelled me into the 21st Century, I returned home to a splendid evening spent listening to NPR podcasts while scouring every inch of my apartment, the afternoon’s love songs trailing through my head. My 21st Century Purchase sitting unopened on my desk.

Somewhere around scrubbing the bathroom floor it occurred to me that it was the 11th, my nine month anniversary in Korea. Most astonishing was the revelation that this was unremarkable. I’ve stopped counting. The last few weeks have been unwaveringly present, full of perfect dates with my city, exploring new corners and new friendships. A newly discovered local watering hole with new co-workers who have made this wacky place feel like home. And then, as I walked through my neighborhood to my local tofu restaurant for dinner, I realized something else.

It will be hard to leave.

7 Responses to “On Nine and Counting”

  1. jodi says:

    sounds like you had a wonderful weekend.

    yes, nine months in to my time in japan, i knew it would be hard to leave. you’re starting to feel more like you actually live there and less like you don’t really belong there.

    and once has to be one of my all-time favorite movies. wasn’t it incredible? i’m going to see the swell season perform next monday. i can hardly wait!

  2. hannah says:

    i am so happy you have found your present. but you know what makes me happier? when you find that future waiting for you. hot damn.

  3. marya says:

    I know — this whole great post and all I want to know is WHAT was your purchase?

  4. mom says:

    me too!!!

  5. Natasya says:

    An update! Yay!

  6. Liza Kate says:

    I haven’t seen that movie yet, but hope to soon.

    Has it really been over 9 months already?

    I remember when you were planning to go and now you’re practically Korean.


    Oh, and I also want to know what sweet purchase made you a woman of the times.

    You and your mystery blogging.

  7. Leilani says:

    Hey, how go the travel plans?

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