Ayi Audition: Livecast of the “Michael’s Gross Apartment Maid Invitational”

All right, lady. Do your thing.

All right, lady. Do your thing.

At long last, I had cracked. For months, friends and acquaintances had assured me that life on the other side was something incomprehensibly better. That once you crossed the threshold, going back was no longer an option. That even glancing back at your old life would make you shudder and recoil, terrified that you ever could have lived such an unfulfilled, empty existence. I resisted, mostly out of a strange attachment to the status quo. Change is scary. Change is change.

But finally, I relented. On Sunday, I opened my door and let a pleasant middle-aged Chinese woman in to clean my house. And I don’t think I can ever go back.

12:32 I have been tidying slightly, although I know it is a ridiculous impulse. I am somewhat terrified at what this stranger will think of me, what the state of my apartment will say about my character, my personhood, my lack of culture. I imagine her peeking inside the door, cringing visibly, shaking her head and muttering in Mandarin before trudging back to the elevator in disgust.

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The Newbie/Old Fart Paradox

6 flags over Suwon

Photo seemingly unrelated? No! A photo from my first few months in Korea.

Moving to Korea is a lot like being born and growing up. You land, get off the plane, and you’re practically covered in placenta: shaky, sensitive to light and temperature, unable to properly digest the food. Your sleep is completely thrown off after leaving the womb that is the plane. Everyone speaks in crazed, bizarre mutterings, none of which you understand. You are alone and confused, and you need the care of others just to maintain ongoing survival. But this state is quickly forgotten once you get the hang of life, and you very quickly want to put those childish things behind you.

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Goodbye Season

I had thought of going through and putting Xs on the faces of those leaving, but then I didn't do that, because I am lazy.

As the first year comes to a close, beyond all the silly, self-involved ~reflecting~ I do on life and my brain or whatever, the biggest change to deal with is the people.  My orientation group back in the halcyon days of August, 2010 was something around 90 people, a teeming horde of Canadians, Americans, English, and South Africans (with a few straggling Irish or Aussies). For a year I grew to know them, and grew to care for them (or hate them, as the case may be), and casually, blithely ignored the ticking clock above our heads detailing the end point of our convenient contact. As highfalutin and zen as I pretend to be about friendship and growing up, it’s undeniably gutting to see so many people going away while I will be staying behind.

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Life and the Faulty Pause Button

Okay guys, you can go on break now.

When I decided to move to Korea, it was very hard to process the idea that the other part of the world would keep going without me. I’m not trying to sound remarkably self-absorbed, although that may be true, but it was difficult to conceive. Sure, people would get older, and taller, and gain a wrinkle or a grey hair or a tan in my absence. Hairstyles would change, weight would be gained or lost, coats of paint would be applied to walls. Time would obviously pass. But it was difficult to really believe that the lives of others I was so involved with would continue to forge ahead without me somehow involved in the mix.

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