One thing I hate having to do so much is say goodbye to people who’ve become an important part of my life. I find it’s a pretty recurring theme in the life of an expat–or of those who spend time with expats. (I remember a few Koreans back in Jeonju who seemed always to be heartbrokenly saying goodbye to people.) It’s probably harder when you’re staying, and even harder when you thought you, too, would be one of the people leaving and turned out not to be, as is my case.
Two members of my writing critique group–well, a circle of friends, is what we actually became over the course of 2010–are leaving Korea now. Jei is off to America, and Nick (with Katrina) is off to adventures in Southeast Asia, and then another job somewhere else. The group will not be the same without them, obviously, but I will also miss them just for the people they have been, and for the things I’ve learned from them. Nick especially has inspired me to say yes to life, or to foods, or to going out, a little more often.
We of course have all kinds of plans to see each other again–at cons, making visits, and so on–but things are changing. There are, of course, a number of members of the same group who aren’t leaving–two leave, and including me, four stay for the moment (though another is off in a few months) and they’re good friends and I look forward to plenty more good times with them; but it’s the absences compared to before that haunt one in advance.
Anyway, I am happy to say that we have been saying goodbye in style, with lots of good food and drink, in keeping with the way we’ve been meeting up all along; we did our last critique circle in a sushi bar, sipping sake and not eating any sushi. How many people can say that? There’s a goodbye tonight. It may not be apparent on my face how it feels. But it’s not easy, especially with these particular friends.
Meanwhile, I am trying to push down that spring in preparation for classes, which begin tomorrow. I’ve migrated my course website to a subdomain of this page, and have looked over the syllabi, but I am too distracted to do any sensible last-minute revision. As I walk here and there on campus, students pop out of the woodwork, yelping my name, and waving. I smile and wave back, of course, but I am distracted, not yet ready to put on the Professor persona, not quite prepared to dive into those waters again. I will be, tomorrow, of course; but not today. Not now.
I have a writeup of my visit to Rome, and a lot of notes on Italian craft beer, which I will work into two posts, as well as some stuff on kegging, my brewing plans for the year, and so on. I’m thinking of splitting off the homebrewing/beer-tasting stuff into a separate subdomain as well; or maybe craft.gordsellar.com, since then I can include the posts about other areas of DIY artisanal food-making I am getting into, like home-curing meats, cheesemaking, and baking (as well as Miss Jiwaku’s new hobby, making soap by hand).
In that case, I could let this site be more of a place for stuff on SF, occasional musings and rants about Korea, and personal posts. Or maybe I’ll just isolate the homebrewing stuff to a category-posts-only section of this site, I don’t know. I am thinking it over.
It’s this kind of keeping busy that gets one past all those goodbyes (or see-you-laters) and hellos (or welcome-to-my-classes) that one isn’t quite ready to say. But I know in a few weeks, I’ll be busy and head-down, working.
On what? I’ll save that for my next personal post, though the watchwords are:
- time management
- expectations management
And in this case, I don’t get to have only one or two out of three. I need to have all three. More on that next time.