Eun Jeong has been cute this week. We’re still in her first year of teaching. She has been desperate for fun projects in the classroom. Recently, she has been begging me for CDs and lyrics of Christmas music. She’s been learning the songs and singing them around the house. She never was a Christmas person before. Now that she’s teaching kids, she’s become more playful.

I’m unapologetic. Fuck this “I hate Christmas” bullshit. Yeah, I’m not a kid anymore. I don’t get a shitload of toys these days (still would like a couple of Transformers this year). My concept of Christmas has changed as it does in everyone. When you reach the cynical late teens, you realize how fake the whole Christmas thing is. You question why at this certain time of year putting up a Christmas tree and listening to corny old songs is supposed to create some magical atmosphere. It’s all artificial.

Then again, most everything in civilization is artificial.

If you’re on some quixotic Holden Caulfield quest to find purity and naturalness in the modern world, you’re going to be disappointed a lot. You need to accept that the world you live in is manmade. That your pleasures in life and the world’s beauty is all in your perception. Yet you control your perception. I have seen in the people who have grown to hate Christmas and the little things in life still hold on to the childish concept that happiness is supposed to happen to them. They expect to passively receive it. When it doesn’t come as easily as it did when one was a child, he becomes disappointed, and the previous good feelings turn into anger and faux cynicism.

The adult realizes that he is in control of his own perception and his own happiness. It is a decision. Over the years, despite not being able to share this time with my children and now, not with my family, I have decided to enjoy Christmas even more.

Fuck it.

I’m going to have a good time.

I’m creating my own family here with my friends. I have been brainwashing Eun Jeong by blaring the soundtrack to “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and forcing egg nog down her throat.

My silly little Dr. Seuss tree is up. It’s not real. It has no pine smell, and I have to brush dust bunnies off of it from being under the bed the whole year, but I put scented oils and spices in my little incense burner.

We’ve already been to one successful Christmas party. We’re going to another one on Sunday with other ex-pats who stubbornly want to continue the traditions our families handed down to us.


I’ve finished my Christmas shopping. As with all years, the gifts will be late because I can’t find a box the right size.

My cough started to die down a bit after last Wednesday. Nonetheless, I canceled a lot of weekend plans just so I could rest and recover.

On Sunday, I was a guest co-host on the Seoul Survivors podcast. That was fun. I had been listening to the podcast for almost a year, and I wanted to finally put the faces to the voices. Karl had given me a show breakdown and a map to the Starbucks for the podcast. On the way there, I listened to the latest one they had up. At the end, they started talking about me. They hadn’t met me yet, and it was funny hearing people speculate about what kind of person I was and what they thought of my web sites.

I hadn’t eaten the entire day, and I got a Toffee Nut Something-or-other at the Starbucks and had a couple of Snickers bars. So by the end of the podcast, my head was lightened and fuzzy from pure caffeine and sugar with no real food to back it up.

The set up for the podcast was simple. Karl had regular Internet mics hooked up to his laptop. It was a bit difficult to hear over the background noise. Then again, my head was on a buzzing sugar rush, and I had to take frequent coughing breaks.

The topic of the podcast was–me–and I always feel weird talking about myself.

Can’t believe it, huh?

I guess I was okay because they asked me to return to the podcast in the future.

In other news, the court stuff is still ongoing. We still have to send documents every now and then. It really is all a repeat of the Labor Board hearing. Same old arguments. You think someone would tell the Hagwon-Owner-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named to give up and just pay what she owes. Stop wasting everyone’s time for her silly princess ego. The more she talks the crazier she makes herself out to be.

This week we installed a free trial of HanaTV–Internet TV. We’ve only had one night to try it. I have been looking forward to getting some American TV shows with Korean subtitles so that we can watch stuff together. So far, the selection seems okay. The clumsy all-Korean interface may be the only thing keeping us from keeping this if we both don’t get used to it. I was jumping up and down trying to get things to work. And we have a small TV, so I have to get close to the screen to make out the Korean titles for American shows.

There is no channel surfing on this. When you click on a show and an episode, it shows a brief advertisement while it starts downloading and buffering. We also have to have the computer on every time we want to watch TV. It’s always on anyway.

Last night, we watched “Transformers.” Eun Jeong admitted she enjoyed it.

(Maybe I’ll get a Transformer for Christmas.)

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