Thursday, February 5, 2009

Once Again, Korea, I Stand Amazed

A few months ago, I somehow scratched the right lens on my rather expensive glasses. It was a large scratch, and became an annoyance whenever I wore my glasses instead of my contacts. I decided to have it fixed while in Korea, since anything medical-related is cheaper over here than in the USA. I asked Cate to write me a note explaining that I wanted my lens fixed, which I could then take with me to the eye place. Cate insisted on taking the glasses over for me, which was unbelievably sweet of her.

One day after the glasses were dropped off, they were ready to be picked up. In the USA, I have never had glasses fixed in under a week (usually it has taken about two weeks). The lens could not be repaired, so instead they replaced both lenses. I should stop to explain that I have such a strong prescription that even after paying extra for the thinner lenses, my lenses on my glasses were still quite thick. Apparently, here in Korea they have come up with an even thinner version than what is available in the US, so this is what they replaced my lenses with. So, I got both lenses replaced, with much better (and thinner) ones, and in only one day's time. The cost? The equivalent of $36 USD! They also threw in a very nice new case and cleaning cloth (those things get pricey) for free. Korea, I love you!

The search for a replacement for me is still ongoing. Cate has found a few possibilities, so with a lot of luck she may have someone by the first of March. It looks like I will almost definitely be here until March 8th. I was starting to really look forward to going home, but I am not terribly upset at the delay. It does give me a little longer in Korea, and I really do love Korea. I am still upset that poor Cate has to have so much extra stress thrown at her, but I am okay with having to stay here a little longer.

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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"