The end of an era. 3 days and counting. For those who haven't been following my sporadic daylogs and don't know what I'm talking about, I've been in South Korea for two years teaching English, and I'm about to go back to Canada. 3 days is the number of teaching days left, not until my actual plane leaves. My sister is coming to visit and I'll be showing her around this lovely country (and it is a lovely country, some of my bad experiences notwithstanding... it's possible to have bad experiences in a lovely country) until August 12, 2003.

If I've discovered something in the last couple of weeks, it's that having a non-refundable plane ticket out of the country, set to leave in a few weeks, it is exactly equivalent to having a girlfriend. It puts you in a position where you are incapable of getting into a new relationship with a woman. This leads to a specific case of Murphy's Law, or maybe just human psychology, known as The Forbidden Fruit Principle. Put simply, women can't have you, so they find you irresistably attractive. Or maybe it's something different. Maybe it's that you know that you can't have them, and so you're relaxed, not trying to impress them, or get in their pants, which makes you more attractive. Whatever the cause, women start coming out of the woodwork when you're taken, or about to go somewhere far away.

First there was Nan Hi (see July 7, 2003), and then on Saturday, I went to Elvis (the local watering hole that has been the beginning of so many of the antics in my daylogs) and ran into my friend Yong, who had a new girlfriend. Mighty hot, I might add, although her name has slipped my mind. Anyway, I was chatting with my friend Stewart, an old British guy that I'm teaching to play Go, when Yong showed up. I told him that I'm leaving soon, and he insisted on bringing Stewart and me out for soju and some unidentified barbequed pig parts (might have been tripe). Yong and I handle the soju pretty well, but Stewart gets trashed (he's a skinny little guy) and the girl is not entirely sober either. I swear to God, I wasn't doing anything to provoke her, just talking to her in Korean a bit (she doesn't speak English) and suddenly, she's got her hands all over me, stroking my arm, rubbing my thigh, trying to hold my hand (normally Korean girls shun physical contact with guys, especially in public)... she keeps saying the same five things over and over again (in Korean... this is the best I can translate):

  • I've never met a foreigner like you before.
  • It's such a shame you're going back to Canada so soon.
  • Are you ever coming back to Korea?
  • If you do, do you think we can see each other again?
  • I'm sorry I can't speak English to you. Your Korean is so good.
Meanwhile, I'm trying (but not really trying, if you know what I mean... she was really hot, after all, and I wasn't entirely sober) to fend her off, and wondering when Yong is going to demonstrate the l33t Tae Kwon Do skills that most Korean guys possess by leaping over the table and kicking my teeth down my throat. Amazingly, he doesn't. Maybe he thought we were just talking, and didn't see what her hands were doing behind the table, or maybe drunken Stewart was distracting him enough, or maybe he realized that she was drunk, and I wasn't encouraging her, and decided to ignore it. He did, however, stop her when she took my cell phone and tried to give me her phone number. "He's got my phone number," he told her. "If he wants to meet us, he can call me."

When we left, he apologized to me (for what, I'm not sure, maybe on behalf of his girlfriend) and I apologized too. We stuck Stewart in a cab, and sent him home.

Meanwhile, my overall stress level is very high this week, due to several things.

Firstly, Jesse, the vice-principal has given me all sorts of things I need to do before I leave. Lesson plans for my replacement, class and student profiles for the permanent record, etc. All in one week.

Secondly, I have accumulated two years of stuff, and have to reduce two years to two suitcases. This wasn't aided when I made the larger suitcase too heavy and the handle broke off when I tried to lift it. Fortunately, my former roommate left a suitcase behind when he left, so I still have two, but this one is smaller than the big one, so I must cull the herd even further. As it is, I'm leaving almost all my books and videos and about half my clothes behind, to make room for my board games (which I never should have brought to Korea, since I never found anyone to play with) and my goban and Go stones.

Thirdly, a friend of a friend had agreed to buy my DVD player, which is useless in Canada, being Korean region only. She backed out on Friday, leaving me with no buyer, and nothing to do with it. Best plan I have now is to leave it with my friend, advertise in a newspaper in Seoul, and if someone buys it, get her to wire me the money.

Lastly, the school I'm at is in serious financial difficulties. I'm hoping that they'll have the 4.4 million Won they will owe me, come Friday, my last day. They assure me they will. Even if not, I'm sure they can raise it before I leave Korea (tuition from the parents will start coming in at the beginning of August), but I don't want to be stressing about it while I'm supposed to be enjoying myself touring around Korea with my sister.

Hopefully things will be smooth sailing from here and I'll be back in Canada, safe and sound, with all the money owed me, on August 12th. At that point, I'll remain jobless for at least two months, because I need it, and because I want to work on my writing. The current plan is to go to Ryerson University and study journalism eventually. They have a special program for people who already have other degrees, like my BScH in Astrophysics.

And so concludes what may be my very last daylog written in Korea. If I get a chance to, I may write one more at some point during my sister's stay, and let her add her take on things. If not, I'd like to take this chance to earnestly thank everyone who reads about my experiences, and particularly the ones who have /msg'd me to tell me tha they enjoy them. South Korea has had its ups and downs for me, but it's been an experience the whole time, and even the worst moments are worth it for the stories that they allow me to tell, as long as I have an audience. Thank you all, along with my friends and family who read my emails, for being that audience. I hope it doesn't end here. Back in Canada, or wherever I end up later, I will continue to write daylogs, and even if the setting is not as exotic as it has been, I hope I continue to have adventures worth reading about.

See you back in Canada.