This moving experience is so much different than any I’ve ever had before (and I’ve had a lot). It is such a slow process that it has driven us slowly insane. Today we take care of final odds and ends in packing, trashing and donating.
It’ll suffice to say here that people shouldn’t expect anything other than postcards and letters from me over my travels. Boxes shipped from Korea by the surface slow boat to America are about ~45,000 KRW (40 USD) per 20 kilo box. Nic took the first batch to the post office and spent 264,000 KRW. We’ll probably spend the same for the next shipment on Monday. We probably sent a few too many books and pieces of pottery home (and even a small solid wood side table weighing 12 kilos by itself), but today is all about editing piles. I’ve got little capacity remaining for sentimentality. Unfortunately, the French press that Nic got me back in the inaugural weeks of our romance will not make the trip. It was with this gift (and her saying, “A writer shouldn’t drink Folger’s instant coffee.”) that I knew Nic was silly for me. I’ll just have to settle for the fact that she married me.
It’s not the things I have that give me so much sentimentality. And it’s not even this city or the friends I’ve made. Over time, I think my melodrama has been subdued, disconnected. I read the other day in the NY Times that people are starting to attend funerals via live video feeds on products like Skype (Is this a result of a mentality that truly believes this is an adequate substitute, or is it a result of hard economic times?). And just yesterday when I talked to Songju (for what might be the last time before we leave) about plan changes for tonight (we’ve too much packing left to do and will not go out tonight for Operation Pete and Songju Hook-up), she said, “I have your email. We’ll stay in touch.” Sure, I’ve maintained relationships with my family and Diron’s family and John Campos, but would attending any funeral for family via Skype really fill the tactile necessity for comfort? No, just as attending Christmas dinner or Ella’s first birthday via the ‘net is not a sufficient substitute. The internet and aeronautics: the cause of and solution to all of life’s global problems. (a derivative quote from Homer Simpson’s observation about alcohol).
As has been the case many times before, I am lamenting the end of physical presence with a budding friendship. Sharon (English), Sal (Korean), their family and their recent close proximity in our apartment complex forces on us the realities of remote friendships. I won’t get to hear Sharon’s cool accent, learn golf with Sal or take a questionnaire about moving from precocious five year-old Livy.
Mailing things away and saying goodbye to friends (an endless cycle in the expat community here) has me looking forward to setting some roots in Anywhere USA. Incidentally, Nic has now been invited to interview at three schools (via Skype from Anywhere southeast Asia): Texas Tech, Northern Illinois and Eastern Michigan. (My fingers are still crossed for Bowling Green, OH: four baseball towns within driving distance.)
Yesterday, Sharon helped me score a major victory when she said she’d take all the stuff I had set aside for her. Her mindset was similar to mine: if I don’t find a use for them, someone along the line will. I’ve made decent recompense on furniture. My karma (if such a thing exists) is aligned. And so is Sharon’s.
Tomorrow: death and excitement at every swerve: (riding and selling an autobike in Korea).