Sunday, April 30, 2006

Laptop blues...and back to normalcy. Well, sort of!

Well, as my worst fears have been realized ~ I'm now updating my blog from a PC bong near my house because my laptop is out of commission. People are smoking, which is a definite bother; but even more so are the folks who have stupid headphones but choose to blast their game aloud while they're playing. Nerveracking. In any event, I'm bummed, but I'm determined to get my laptop working again, even it takes a few sessions of nail biting and hair pulling. So here's an update.

BACKTRACKING. On Thursday, April 20th, my mother and I left for Seoul to spend a few days poking around the northern province. I managed to squeeze an extra day off, pulling some classes together and struggling through my work day without any breaks so Mom and I could spend the most time together during the last few days of her stay here. Before our excursion to Seoul, my mother told me she had to turn my PC off early in the day because the 'blue screen of death' had appeared while she was writing an email. Blue screen of death, what?! Well, that 'blue screen of death' turned into an innability to even start Windows because there seemed to be a .dll file missing. System error, yo: Windows was trying to access a thread that did not exit.

Deep breath. No idea. So long story short, I tried remedying the problem, running diagnostics, but to no avail before mom and I went North. Crap. How am I going to phone tutor when everything gets back to normal and my Mom leaves!? All worries temporarily aside, I was nevertheless estatic about a 4 day-off quasi-vacation with my Mom. That, and my boyfriend arriving from the DR for a 3+ month stay. Big yay, but oh no: how am I going to manage showing not only my mother around, but making sure Juan's okay during his first 5 days here alone? And to make matters worse, the Ma don't quite like my Oh-Pa, so there's practically no way I'd mingle an outing with my mother and my boyfriend. Ahhhhshhh...

And thus, Juan arrived on Tuesday, April 17th, from the Dominican Republic, just a few days after my mother arrived actually. Kudos to you Juan for making it ALL on yer own! So the intention was for him to kick it in Seoul while we were in Daegu ~ and perhaps, just perhaps I'd squeeze in a visit with him when my mother and I went to Seoul.

While the situation with my PC was on the back of my mind, my Mom and I ended up having a blast in Seoul. Not quite the blast though, when everything goes a planned.

We stayed at a ratty Yohg-wuan called A-Traveler's Motel which I sincerely do not recommend unless you don't mind just the bare-necessities (aka. a receptionist that speaks neither English nor Korean because she's a Russian inplant; a smelly, moldy bathroom with a 2 foot square tub (a bathtub for dwarves, perhaps?); or a hard bed with pillows stuffed with recycled plastic.) Yep, that was our 30,000 WON per night deluxe motel situated near Dongdaemun market. Central location, very cheap price, not worth it for one even bigger reason: the website stated there's a coffee shop attached to the Youth Hostel, which doesn't even serve freaking coffee! Go figure... it's Murphy's law, and little girl's voice saying "Welcome to Korea!" pops in my head as I'm remembering this.

SIDETRACKING 1. My mother and I wake up extra early on a Friday morning, the first morning of our stay, a tad bit earlier than normal to prepare for a Seoul city tour. Naturally, we want coffee; so we dressed, and trekked down to the Youth Hostel's supposedly notorious cafe near the entrance. What a surprise it was to find that, not only was our Ajjuma-receptionist sleeping at 8:15 in the morning, and we've just woken her up (she had a nice 'do by the way) ~ but, get this, there was no coffee in the coffee shop. Up-sahh-yo. I blinked a few times to settle that in. There was no coffee. Son of a... looking at my mother, who's in disbelieve at the icing on the cake we've just experienced, accompanies me with a grumble back upstairs and together, we swear never to visit this motel again!!

So there we have it ~ a neat Seoul city tour, a few wrong subway stops along the way, some interesting shops and restaurants experienced, and a lunch meeting with Juan combined with a few stressful moments. Did I mention I couldn't imagine mingling my mother with Juan? Yeah, it happened; cordially, but with the hair of my chinny-chin-chin. Check out my pictures of Seoul in a nutshell on Flikr! On Saturday, my mother and I headed to Busan for a ... (ahem, would you believe *I* recommended it...) a Barbie Story exhibition. Yes, the story of the Barbie. Plus, we stayed in a terrific, cheap motel with all the ammenities you could ask for, right by Busan station ~ but more on that later because it was neat stuff, and there's plenty of pictures to still upload!

Back to Daegu for a roundup on Sunday ~ nearly losing my purse having left it on the train back from Busan...my mom's stay finishes up with a few tears and probably some sighs of relief. I think we were both happy in a way to 'get back to normalcy'... and though it's been nearly a week since she's left, I still feel her presence here, and I still wish in many ways her stay was just a bit longer. I probably would have done a few things different, and I know for a fact I would have told my mother more often how glad I was that she was here visiting me.

FLASHFORWARD. One week flash forward to today, and it's back to work. Mel's got her new apartment in Dongbyeongdong, and Juan's taken residency with me in our little cramped apartment in Seobyeongdong. It's been fun but a bit stressful so far. Luckily he's remained patient enough to deal with my needless stress about possibly moving again, fixing my PC and oh yes, the phone tutoring...argh. Real fun stuff.

SIDETRACKING 2. A note about the teaching bit. Did I mention that my work schedule has only gotten worse since Mel's arrived? We had a near 3 week blissful moment, between her arrival and when we finally set the schedule: I thought having 2-3 hour breaks per day was too good to be true. Now it's non-stop teaching from 3 to 10 (3 times a week), aside from an hour lunch break, that is, let me tell you, COMPULSORY in my book. I'd go insane otherwise! Needless to say ~ though I know I'm complaining ~ I really, totally, absolutely thought that my teaching schedule would lighten up a bit when Mel arrived. But I should have known the Korean way: you add another teaching and they're not going to DECREASE your work load. They're going to INCREASE your work load by adding classes! Such is life, and should be expected...but I tell you, life never gets boring here as a teacher!

So the teaching load, and life back to 'normal', with my computer down...Well, I guess all I can do is laugh, right? Because that's the fun part; when all hell brakes loose (not to mention losing everything on your computer, hmmph!), you gotta learn to roll with the punches and prepare for the next dramatic intermission. Which reminds me, I think I'll take mine right about.... now.... :)

Until next time, wish me luck on the 'blue screen of death'! Love to all ~

Chelsea

Post a Comment