It's a very quiet relaxing day at home. Though I was awake for an hour during the night, I woke up at a normal time. It's a hazy sunny day.
I have the excuse of relaxing after the strenuous hike yesterday, so I'm planning and writing. I'm not quite in a phase of novel writing, though. I think that will likely come soon, after winter classes finish and the grading is done late next week.
This morning, I planned and posted a proposed walk with my friends and the Daytrippers. I'm calling it the LUNY River Ramble, for I want the outing to be a walk around a river estuary conservation area and I scheduled on Lunar New Year's Day, when those of us expats marooned here in town instead of off on some exotic or homey vacation far away might want the company and something special to do. That will probably be a good day to finally explore this interesting part of the metropolitan area here, something I tried to accomplish last month but had to postpone.
This is an image of one of the 35 remaining bird species that can be spied at the bird sanctuary, the Taiga Beans Goose standing among some ducks. During the winter, it is said that some 40,000 birds take refuge there, though that figure used to be 100,000 in the 1980s.
I also reviewed my tentative spring class schedule and the spring course line-up. The courses and materials have all been restructured again, so I have to get familiar with them.
After reviewing that information, I was set to make draft syllabuses for the first and second year conversation classes and one introductory composition class included on my schedule. Since the team coordinator is creating our schedules now, that's indicative that the teaching staff will soon be asked to post the course syllabuses on the institution's intranet.
Completing tax return forms will be another task left to us instructors in tying up the loose ends of 2013. That is usually done in the last half of January. It's an easy task for me since I don't qualify for any deductions.
I don't usually choose to do job duties on the weekend, but it is best to get them out of the way now and leave myself maximum free vacation time, especially with the English department move coming up in a few days. Also, I want to clear my mind of these kinds of concerns so that I can get into a stint of personal down time and creative writing through February. I'll want to recharge myself, especially considering that my spring teaching schedule has me slated for overtime teaching hours, with two days of back-to-back conversation classes over several hours each day.
I also looked through some materials that "uncle" sent me as a gift. I got calendars with pictures of the Erie Canal in New York State, and a copy of a recent issue of the New York Times Magazine. It was quite thoughtful.
"Uncle" called me a bit late last night, probably because I hadn't answered the phone during the day. I withdrew from the call telling him we'd talk another time. He's starting to phone too frequently again. I understand his situation for he must be 81 years old, and he hasn't many friends or relatives. I think it is exciting for him to call someone living far away in such a different country, and he likely prefers to call me instead of his real relatives. It's hard to be patient because he's taking to reminiscing aloud about events and people I don't know and of which the details are hard to follow, and that I don't particularly want to follow. Anyway, there's not much to say, sometimes. I let him ramble while I'm busy with some sort of task at home, then give him an update of my life. Sometimes, we actually have good conversations about mutual concerns.
Just before I spoke to uncle, I had been chatting quite a bit with a friend in another city in Korea. He's one of the first expats I met in the first town in Korea that I lived in, back when I taught children in after-school institutes. We touch bases once in awhile, but have not been close friends for a few years. Circumstances were throwing us together at one point, with us being the same age, having similar jobs and mutual friends, and both pursuing creative writing. We discussed whether we should start something, after an incident at a party sparked something, but we never found out what thing that was because we decided that circumstances at that precise point had caused enough difference that it would have been awkward. I was living in a different city by then, and he was studying and breaking into a musical hobby. We made the mistake of having the discussion over email, and we probably just b.s.'d to each other, but the point was that we weren't feeling it was what we wanted to do, start commuting to see each other regularly, and whatnot. Well, he's been married and divorced twice, and I not at all, in the conventional sense, and he came here for an adventure and wanted to live a care-free lifestyle, while I'm long overdue for a steady relationship with a suitable companion in emotional security. Besides, it's awkward thinking of relating to a friend romantically or sexually when you've been a buddy with someone for awhile.
Well, I was contacting him because I was planning on attending a teachers' association meeting near his residence one weekend soon and proposed a little visit while I was there. (He got a better job in a new city about a year ago.) Then he started saying I would be welcome to stay at his place, but then the meeting got canceled. I suggested I still pay him a visit since my classes are finishing up and would have free time and like to roam, so he agreed and we figured out an arrangement.
After we completed the plan, he then informed me that his place is only one room. My immediate reaction was to start joking about having a drunken pyjama party with him. However, I've actually been wondering what I've gotten myself into and what he wants. I initially assumed it was innocent--just two friends seizing an opportunity to catch up and spend a little time together. For me, honestly, I originally intended to do my duty and attend the meeting, and take the opportunity to tour the town, which I have never visited before, and pay him a quick visit. He is probably using the opportunity to fish for some play time. Now I'm wondering whether I'll be uncomfortable and whether I shouldn't book a hotel room. I guess I'll wait and see how I feel when I see him and the set-up.
Speaking of boys, M returned my email new year's greeting. He said he's been having a quiet time in South East Asia and thanked me for the message. He's the one I'm interested in, but I barely know him at this point, as he's from out of town and I've only spent time with him at couple of conferences. I approached him at first; he seems like a quiet and shy type. I didn't feel attracted to him at that moment. I was just being my sociable self and I do generally hope to make more acquaintances among educators at those kinds of events. I felt a spark, and he's an interesting guy. Again, though, he's at quite a different phase of life compared to mine, having only been in Korea a year since breaking away from a long term routine in his home country. I'd like to spend a little more time and get to know him more.
Well, it's time to call the family in Canada. It's someone's birthday this weekend, I would be remiss not to call today in particular.
Before I break off, I want to say that I've checked the stats on the activity on this blog, and am pleased to see that there are 20 or even 30-something viewers some days. Thanks for reading. Please feel free to make comments.