Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I'm a Seoul Man

Big news today, dear readers. After a year spent languishing here in Oxford, trying to figure out just what, exactly, I'm supposed to be doing with my post-graduate life, I have unexpectedly happened upon a great adventure. For the next year, I will be teaching at an English language school just south of Seoul, South Korea.

As always, there's a story attached to this odd little turn of events.


A few weeks back, my mom was working in the gift shop at Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos Catholic Church when in walks Mrs. Belinda Corley. Mrs.Corley - or "Miss Belinda" as I've always called her - is of course the mother of Brent Corley, my childhood best friend. (Brent and I buddied up after my previous childhood best friend, Emmett Lawrence, sold me out and left Nativity for Fatima - an offense I've never truly forgiven him for, along with that whole nasty "you can't have dessert unless you finish your lunch" episode. But I digress.)

Anyway, my mom and Miss Belinda got to talking and had a conversation that probably went a little something like this:

Miss Belinda: Hey Cathy!

Mom: Well hey, Belinda! How are y'all doing?

Miss Belinda: Just fine, fine. How's Jason? [Note: that's me, for those of you who've never called me anything besides "J"]

Mom: Oh, you know, he's up in Oxford, just sucking at life, being a constant source of disappointment to me and Tommy. How's Brent?

Miss Belinda: Well, Brent was doing pretty much the same thing until just recently. You'll never believe what he's up to now, though.

Mom: What?...Don't tell me he's back to peddling crack at the old folks home again.

Miss Belinda: Oh lord no! He hasn't done that since he and Jason were kids! Actually, he's going over to Korea to teach English.

Mom: Really? Korea?

Miss Belinda: Yup. We're shipping him to the other side of the world for a whole year. Let's see him try to borrow money from that far away! (diabolical laugh)

Mom: (beginning to laugh diabolically herself) That's the most scathingly brilliant idea I've ever heard! Maybe we could ship Jason over there too!

Miss Belinda: It's worth a shot!

[The two break down in evil laughter together. Scene fades to black. Cut.]


And so it happened that my mom sat me down and explained what Brent was doing. "I know it sounds crazy," she said, "but does that sound like something you might be interested in?" Naturally, I jumped at the chance.

You see, dear readers, there are some people in this world who hesitate at Life's big moments. They sweat during important job interviews. They get cold feet before their weddings. They worry about whether they're capable of doing the things they most want to do. They get nervous at the thought of living on the other side of the world for a year...

I am the exact opposite. I don't get nervous and frustrated when Life presents me with a big chance; I get nervous and frustrated when there are no big chances to take. For better or worse, I'm a free spirit. Part pirate. Part Kerouac. Part carnie. Part salesman. When Keith calls me and says, "We're hopping the train to Chicago tomorrow," you better believe I'm going to Chicago. Or, as my uncle said just recently, "J will never own a house. He'll never need to. You could give him a pillow and a blanket and he'd sleep right here on the floor."

I don't expect it to be easy, all this touring the world, putting my degree to use, eating lots of Asian food (my fave), having my rent paid, living in a country entirely populated by beautiful black-haired women, not being able to commit to anything because "I'm only here for a year," etc., etc. But, I suppose I'll make due as best I can. :)

Off I go, kids. Here's hoping adventure is finding all of you too. Life won't wait.


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