I am tired. I’ve been sleepy since around four o’clock and now it is nearing eight-thirty. I should get a good rest here in this private room at “Susan’s House” in Seoul.
I felt like this yesterday, from the late afternoon following my workout and while I was teaching the evening grad class. My mind started to slip and my words become flaccid as I was lecturing. I managed to keep it together because I had a clear lesson plan and well marked reference in copies of articles in front of me. All the same, I shall have to recap the main points next time we meet.
Somehow, I can go home feeling reasonably relaxed and drowsy, but I stay awake for a while by the time I am in bed. I guess watching a little TV is not helping, certainly not the kind of shows that are aired in the evening, generally speaking. If the audio from the stereo speakers that are hooked up the computer would work, I would have other options by getting onto Youtube and selecting short video documentaries or gentle dramas that might aid in my sleep. The only way I have been able to do that since I moved here is by using headsets.
Lately, there is the show called “Legend” about a sophisticated undercover FBI agent who has something like five characters he plays to go among dirty rotten and violent criminals, which often ends in some horrible shoot-out. I mean, I like the lead actor, a Brit of some fame whose name I never remember, and I it is interesting how this guy lives going in and out of character and mixing with evil people so much that he sometimes finds himself compromising morals and ethics himself in order to attain the selected result.
Then there is the terrible horror series, “Strain”, about a parasite that jumps into humans and multiplies and kills them, then uses the bodies to transform them into zombie-vampires. It is very dark and violent, as opposed to the romantic vampire stories that have become popular of late. A leader non-human somehow controls the expanding crew of these creatures and uses them to carry out some kind of very diabolical master plan, of which has not yet been revealed to the audience. Yes, not a quietening theme.
Another one is NCIS, which may have been the most popular TV show according to standard ratings. It has its quirks, humor and touching moments, but there are lots of shoot-outs, explosions and combats nevertheless. It is about a naval police investigation unit investigating crimes involving naval personnel.
I should turn off the boob-toob sooner if I can’t find some soothing program. I like “Cosmic Front” about international research and discoveries about the cosmos, but it can be over-stimulating as a bed-time program because it is so incredibly amazing. I mean, it is probably my most favorite program because the astronomical physics and such work has been uncovering many secrets about the composition of the universe and its behavior, as well as clues about how it has been changing over millions of years. There are travel and technology programs that may be innocuous enough, though sometimes they too are quite stimulating.
Really, if I am already drowsy, I should just call it a night after I have completed the tasks of the day. Of course, a distraction from the work, especially after working that evening, is healthy so that issues and plans for work do not invade my rest time.
It is good to get away even just for the weekend so that one can escape the daily stuff that fills up the head and wears it out or keeps talking to the brain too long. This time, I had the activists’ discussion group to meet and the TESOL conference to attend.
Sometimes, a conference can be like work. Usually, though, it is not burdensome when I am not presenting or volunteering. I just have to try to make an effort to talk with fellow officers, and our Chapter’s people want to have lunch together tomorrow. Other than that, I can go listen to talks on topics I want to follow, and I can absorb as much or as little as I want.
The meeting is over. We met for three hours after a long period without seeing each other. We just talked about what we wanted though; there were no real reports or decisions to address. One of our projects is a conference on military bases in November, but I do not have a direct hand in it. I’ll just have to help promote it then attend. We talked about the peoples’ investigations into the Seweol ferry disaster. What they are finding is astonishing and earthshaking. A full report will be released by the end of the month at which point all the available evidence will be made public, and people can talk more openly with less fear of punishment for doing so. All I’ll say now is that this boat was known for illegally transporting nuclear waste, which may have been a factor in the sinking of the ship. More later.
Only five of us where present. K, the Korean translator dropped out, and Y the Nepali guy is not as keen even though he is supportive. The other woman contacted me this morning explaining that an important meeting related to her regular work had come up, causing her to be absent from our discussion today. Others I had invited, like the Koreans who were involved in the peace mission, pulled out because of conflicting schedules.
I had hoped that one of my colleagues might make it, but he did not. He is the one working with me to put together a peace poetry event. We have hooked up with some anti-nuke activists who agreed to host this thing in their café. We have an event webpage that I am supposed to check out tomorrow.
I found a different place to stay in Seoul because the annual conference changed. It is bed and breakfast apartment in south Seoul and it is run by an elderly couple. I guess the pair want the extra money and the company because there kids have grown up and live far away. Actually, one of them lives in Vancouver. They are nice and very welcoming. The house “mother” keeps it spotless and wipes up everything immediately after we use the bathroom. It is a good location, being very near the Express Bus Terminal and in a good shopping area with some great Korean food restaurants. I went out to a neighbourhood tofu house after I arrived here. The food there was wonderful and the staff very sweet and attentive.
Here’s the thing, though. I am sitting up in bed, netbook on my lap. It must be around nine now. I am getting wired up, though, because the owners are on the other side of a thin wall studying English. The “dad” is older than his wife, and it seems that he is fading. The woman has to speak slowly, repeat herself, and explain things. Also, he may be hard of hearing because she is speaking very clearly and loudly. It is not relaxing. Actually, I heard her ask him if he was not tired out before they began this present exchange, but he apparently wanted conversation and welcomed the lesson.
He told me she has been studying English since they opened their doors as a bed-and-breakfast place three years ago. She can write simple sentences well and converse on common topics, though I am speaking Korean as much as I can with them. She gets it, for she slows down her Korean for me, rephrases or repeats lines to that I can comprehend.
…Finally, the talking outside my room has ended and the house is quiet. This machine is running out of power and I must try to sleep for eight hours. Good night.