A Ring-A-Ding, 2022!
"We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential."
– Ellen Goodmam
I remember working at a bar in the Village in NYC on New Year’s Eve, 1999. The terror of Y2K. We were convinced that if the world didn’t end then at the very least, we would lose all our data and there would be a run on the banks á la 1929! Of course, nothing happened, except I made a shit-ton of tips as everyone counted down to doomsday.
As so much has happened in the past 21 years, so much happened last year. I kicked off the New Year with a truly epic four-day trip to Jeju Island (the Hawaii of South Korea). I rang in my March birthday with a walk through the fields and a solo dinner. Unremarkable, but nice. May found me completing my Master of Arts in ESL and Reading at the University of Texas Permian Basin!
The summer was fairly quiet due to Covid (double vaxxed & boosted!), but I did enjoy a work trip to Geoje and Suncheong in July where I swam in a manmade lagoon in the Jirisan mountains. In the last of three lagoons, I swam on my own. It was an amazing experience until I spotted a very realistic wood carving of a snake looming out of the water. Taking the life-like statue as a warning, I nearly injured myself getting out of the water! Taking my fear of aquatic life in hand so I could relish my love of water, I swam in a river in a Valley near my house later in the summer. I'm particularly proud I found the Valley. Every summer since I've lived here, my students have raved about swimming in the Valley. I walked for hours the summer before trying to find it but was unsuccessful. This year, Old Lady Washington said fuck it and hopped in a cab. It was awesome.
Fall brought relief from the heat and a long-planned trip to the port city of Ulsan. The city was a little too western for my taste, but I had a great hotel room overlooking the old whaling port. I took a boat and walking tour of an amethyst cave outside of town (I’m still not sure how I got myself there and back). It was very cool and even had its very own wine cave. Now, that’s my kind of cave! No whales were sighted during my three-hour boat tour, but it was fun, nonetheless.
Even sweeter than my weekend and holiday trips, after completing my master’s degree in May, I was able to get back to the second book in my mystery series. After 7 years, Speaking of War (525 pages!) was completed in October and is now in the hands of my agent. Fingers crossed I’ll have life-altering news within the next few months. (An update, my agent demanded a deep cut---30,000 words! At the time of this posting, I am 15,000 words down and praying for sweet release!)
2021 ended quieter than it began, but it still ended well. In November, my employers moved me to Jinju, the sister city of my beloved Sacheon. Jinju is a bustling, mid-sized city with a more western feel, which I do not love. But, it has a lot to recommend it. I’m still adjusting. I miss my fields and rambling nature walks and adventures. I feel a bit isolated, but as someone who has spent the majority of my life on my own, I can handle it. Plus, the place is pretty swanky!
There’s talk of promotion to Director of Foreign Teachers as plans develop to open a third campus. If it materializes, it will be hard and scary, with a ton of new things to learn and manage, but I think I’m ready for the next stage in my Korean adventure and my teaching career.
I celebrated Christmas with an unexpectedly magical overnight trip to Busan. Nothing special happened, but I walked the beach, ate a fantastic ribeye, and woke up to the sun rising over a bridge. I think I just needed to be close to water after a strange, hard year. I am reinvigorated!
New Year’s Eve found me on my own again. I rang in the New Year in my twenty-third city. Daegu is the first city I’ve visited that wasn’t a port city. I missed the water but had a delectable French meal. I rang in 2022 soaking in a hot tub, drinking wine, and watching movies. A girl can't ask for more! I have no freaking idea what 2022 has in store, but my intention is to meet it head-on with strength, bravery, thoughtfulness, and kindness. My intention is to live in the present, embrace my fears while progressing. I'll be 52 in March and there's so much I want to do. I will use the coming year to lay the groundwork for my next great adventure! I'm very excited!
Happy New Year!
A quick programming note: After 5 years, I will be switching to posting every other month. There are still loads of stories to share, but not as much time to do it.
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to come back in March when I will catch you up and turn 52. Yikes!
In the meantime, be kind to one another, keep on traveling with a feminist eye, and keep on being Feminist AF!