Saturday, November 22, 2008

It's C-C-C-Cold in K-K-K-Korea!

It has been bitterly cold outside lately, and being sick isn't helping. I have been freezing constantly this week. Yesterday I wore a hooded sweatshirt over my sweater (with another shirt under that), two pairs of socks, and gloves all day and I was still almost shaking from the cold. Unfortunately, our school isn't heated, so between classes, we all huddle around the small space heater in the office. I'm so attached to the heater that on Thursday I joked about considering marriage to it!

As I said before, I'm still sick. My voice has been alternating between resembling an elderly frog and a porn star. The kids have been quite amused all week, needless to say. Fortunately yesterday was a pretty easy day at school: We cooked fried rice with the kindergartners, which was both fun and delicious, and then I gave games to each of my older classes. Two of my classes had final tests on Thursday, which meant they were rewarded with pizza parties yesterday. Whenever we give classes pizza parties, we stick them downstairs and let them watch American television. Unfortunately, that meant that I was subjected to a full half hour of "Hannah Montana" yesterday. I think my IQ dropped a full thirty points from having to watch that idiotic show! Honestly, I can't believe the Disney channel stays so popular when they are putting out such dreadful, mind-numbing programming. No wonder people are getting progressively stupider!

After school, I went home to rest for an hour, then met up with some of the other foreign girls for dinner at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant. I really didn't feel like going anywhere, but I knew I needed a decent meal. The fantastic soup had just the right amount of spiciness to help my swollen sinuses a little, and for the first time all week, I actually felt warm. The other girls decided to go out for drinks afterward, but I felt a migraine coming on, so I went home and straight to bed, where I spent most of today. I haven't had a migraine like that one in a few weeks, so I'm not about to complain. It was a little disappointing that it had to hit now, though, as I had been planning to go to Seoul today to meet with my book club (two members of the book club were classmates of mine back in college).

I'm planning to spend the rest of tonight and tomorrow holed up here with my ondol (under-the-floor heating) on, curled up with Jasper and some good books. Jasper has been very sympathetic to my illness, and has been content to alternate between cuddling with me and quietly amusing himself with his favorite bone and his stuffed giraffe (which has been so thoroughly "loved" in the week since I bought it for him that it is now missing two legs, both ears, and both horns). Honestly, I think dogs are the most marvelous creatures in the world to have around when one doesn't feel well. They have such an instinct for knowing when their owners need comfort.

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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"