Here I am in my new office, enjoying the site of rain on the mountains through my very large windows, thinking of how nice it is to be here and how much there is still to do before classes begin in September. I haven't quite managed yet to make the space mine - my friend Shane who inhabited it before me left quite a mark - but I know that I will in time. Something that is in short supply this weekend, since I just arrived yesterday morning and am on the train back to Seoul later this evening. Only 2 more weeks left to work in Suji, and then all of this will truly be mine. It's going to be so great to have done with Suji, not to mention having all of my stuff in one place again!!
I am constantly astounded by how geographically close together Changwon and Seoul are, and yet how different they are climatically. Where Seoul is dinstinctly temperate, almost like home, this place is much more green and lush and tropical feeling. Even the trees are different. And I can't even begin to describe the feeling of awe in seeing a blue sky and stars again day after day, after the neverending haze of smog that lays over the north. I am going to like it here a lot.
I spent my first night in my new apartment last night. I'd like to say it was wonderful, but the truth is I spent most of the time cleaning, killing cockroaches (very small ones, at least), and trying to accustom myself to the wide variety of new sounds in the neighbourhood. It was not precisely restful. The last tenants, again friends of mine, sort of never finished the move out process completely - he went back to the US and she never quite got around to emptying things out all the way. There were things growing in the fridge that I hope never to smell again as long as I live - you think rotting western food smells bad, you can't even imagine the smells of rotting Korean. It took me almost a whole bottle of bleach to clean out. But I did it, and seeing everything all shiny and clean this morning was very satisfying. I really wish I could just stay here and get on with the whole moving deal, but all in good time I guess. Once it happens, it's going to be terrific.
My apartment also has great big windows - 2 of them. Quite a switch from the dark basement that I currently inhabit. One of them looks out over an enormous neighbourhood garden (right now mostly full of ripening chile peppers - a local staple). Nice not to be looking at the sides of buildings all the time. Changwon is something like 65% green space, compared to 5% in Suji, and it makes a huge difference. This will be a great enviornment for working in. It occurs to me how lucky I am to have come into it (even as I survey the stacks of books and articles I need to organize into coherent lectures in a very short ammount of time...).
And on that note, back to work for me. The next couple weeks are going to be jammed full of finishing up in Suji and moving and starting here, but once things calm down I will write more. I've got a bunch of stories saved up to tell (for all of you whose favorite Roberta-tale was of the naked beached whale and the broken toe, well, just you wait for the WWF of massages!), but need a chunk of time to do them justice. I think about all of you often and hope you are well. My love to you all. Roberta