Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Good News During the Plague

My paperwork was approved by the Korean immigration office in Daegu yesterday. I am supposed to be issued a visa number by about February 4th or 5th, after which I have to proceed immediately to the Korean consulate in Chicago for final paperwork and a brief interview. I am on countdown to leave by about February 6-9th as things currently stand. Apparently there was another unforeseen delay.

I'm actually rather glad about the delay as I am sicker than yesterday. I now have a rasping voice that would be the envy of Jimmy Durante or Bette Davis in her older years. I am going to the doctor tomorrow, so hopefully this "plague" of mine will clear up before I leave.

I definitely do not want a repeat of the experience I had coming back from Mexico a year ago. I was so sick and miserable then that I completely lost my voice and hearing, which made going through customs a bit more interesting than usual! Then I wound up in tears on my final flight because the pressure made me hurt so much. The only nice thing about that trip was the friendly French lady next to me who gave me wonderful cough drops that worked so well that I suspect they are illegal in this country.

Anyhow, at least I have a rough idea of when I'm leaving, which is something of a relief to me. I just hope my health comes back soon. This new voice of mine is most unpleasant to any listeners, and would certainly make things miserable for my students.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"