Friday, December 31, 2010

happy new years everyone.

for nye, i went on a boat that sailed through the chao phraya river in bangkok. to experience the beautiful city of bangkok in that way was just magical and i hope i never forget it. when the clock struck midnight, the boat was stationed right in front of the two largest firework docks on the river, and i watched in awe as the sky lit up with all of the lights. i danced, talked too much, met some new people and had the best time. i was even able to smoke some grass, and that just perfected the night.

it's 1/1/11. today, i'll take my first step in the attempts to live a happier and more fulfilled life. step #1 in that direction is blasting some coltrane this morning to celebrate another gorgeous sunny day in bangkok.

i hope everyone else's holiday was as enjoyable as mine.

*thanks to mogua for the picture.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

doesn't it piss you off when a person you don't like in real life makes an appearance in your dreams? that shit really irks me. the other night i dreamt that i was eating thai street food with someone i used to work with, but for some reason, this girl that i just do not enjoy whatsoever was also eating with us, and i remember thinking in my dream, wtf is she doing here?! when i woke up, the first thing i thought was how dare she be in my dream. who the hell is she to ruin my sleep like that? that bitch.

Monday, December 27, 2010

i love books.

i especially appreciate large, beautiful coffee-table books that have amazing photographs. i love the weight of these books, the stories they tell, and the smell of the paper stock that reaches my nose with each page i turn.

i received this awesome care package from my friends back home in nyc, and amongst the many great gifts inside, was this book that was personally autographed by my best friend's boss. it's simply called Anna Sui, and is her career retrospective book on the past 20 years of her life.

my friend told anna what i was doing in bangkok, and so she signed it, "LIVE YOUR DREAM!" how inspiring is that??

thanks to my friends for sending me some much needed love from home.

Friday, December 24, 2010

you haven't really lived until you've rode on the backseat of a motorcycle-taxi through the busy streets of bangkok, helmet-lessly gripping for dear life as you weave in and out of bustling traffic with the wind blowing in your hair.

Monday, December 20, 2010

damn, i'm in serious need of a home-cooked meal.
i've finally started to recover from being ill. there's nothing worse than the feeling of being debilitated in bed with nothing to do but sleep and wait for the pain to subside. my throat was hurting so bad that i couldn't even swallow my own saliva without cringing in pain. i didn't realize how severe it was until i dragged myself to a doctor and was told my tonsils were infected with pus all over them.

i'm feeling better now, and i can't describe how great it felt to gulp down some water. i'm not 100% yet, but hope to be in the next few days.

my sleep schedule is all out of wack and i just woke up a few hours ago around 4am. i'm currently trying to get some work done, but took a few moments to watch the sunrise from my balcony.

it's going to be another beautiful day in bangkok.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

getting ill in a foreign country where you don't know anyone really sucks.

the last few days have been an absolute daze. i've been sick out of mind and unable to do anything but sleep at all hours of the day and night.

i finally went to see a doctor today here in bangkok and was prescribed some medicine. i can't wait to recover and eat solid food again.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

anything box.

too awesome for words.

i prayed last night.

i usually don't pray too often, because i've never really sincerely been able to do so. i've blogged about this before, but when i used to go to church in high school and would pray, it just didn't seem to naturally flow. i would think, well God knows everything, and while i'm purely doing the physical act of closing my eyes with my hands together and trying to have a conversation with Him, i would think that He knows that my thoughts are vacant and even if i tried to pretend to pray, He can see that i'm really thinking about something else so it would be disrespectful to even try. hence, that is why i usually don't pray. but last night i did, and i told Him that i am putting aside my usual prayer issues because i really just needed to talk with Him. i asked for the courage and the strength to make the right choices in my life in order to be happy. i don't feel like i'm ever happy. i have moments of happiness, but they fade away like the passing wind. sure, i know that life is not filled with just happy moments, but i have this constant, underlying sense of emptiness at all times, which doesn't ever feel like a strong enough foundation to support any emotion at all. it envelops everything instead, and the emptiness remains. i'd like to be happy, but i don't know how. and i know it's something i need to find within myself, but i just don't know how to. i don't believe in the concepts of "ideal" or "normal" or "standard" because they don't exist to me, so i'm searching for my own version of these things. but i haven't discovered them yet. i'm 27, when will i know how to define these things in my own life? when i think about my childhood, my brain tends to focus on all negatives impacts that happened, and i want that to stop. but those impressions are there, and i feel that they're what my real foundation is, and i hate that. life is all about choices, i'm well aware of that. people choose to wake up in the morning and get out of bed. people choose to a eat a over b for lunch. people choose to make that decision which will affect their life in a or b way. most times, i try to choose and see my life in a certain way and take the positive learning lessons from any negative experience, but my system feels flawed due to the lack of a healthy basis. like all humans, i have my moments of self-pity (and perhaps that could be what this is right now), but i'm always humbled by other things in life and the challenges others experience, and that puts it all into perspective and i try to move on. then that moment will pass and the next one will appear and i'll do the same. i just---i just wish i could re-wire my brain sometimes. however, i know that's impossible and so i work with what i have. but it just doesn't seem like it's working and i don't know how to make it work. i aspire to feel fulfilled, and that's what ultimately made me decide to take a huge chance and leave nyc for a while and go to korea. that turned out the way it did, and so i decided to be in bangkok now. throughout my life, it seems like i set up a goal and achieve it, and when i get there, that moment of satisfaction and achievement never materializes. it leaves me to think, "okay, now what?" i don't want to dwell and obsess anymore. i want to feel free and liberated from all this worry and anxiety that wants to define me. i know that my insecurities, mistakes and past fuck-ups don't define me, but in reality i feel like they do because i don't have anything else to define me or my life by at the moment. life is the way you see it, but i feel like my lenses are a much darker tint than i'd like them to be. i used to blame this on things that happened in my childhood, and as i got older i chose not to do so, but i just can't see any other reason why things are like this. i feel damaged. i'm void of emotion. i want to cry. i want to laugh wildly until i feel pain in my stomach. i want to feel something other than this. i want to love someone. i want someone to love me. all my issues with dating and relationships stem back to this, and i know until i conquer all this, i won't have the capability of being in a loving relationship with someone. it sure would be nice to have someone to spoon with right now, i'd give anything for that. and not just with anyone, but someone i truly care about. for certain reasons, i grew up always feeling afraid and like i was not good enough, that, who i am as a person is not the way i'm supposed to be and learning how to cope with that is still an everday battle. i have an addictive personality and subconsciously self-medicate my pain, and have been doing so my whole life, but i just can't do that anymore. food, drugs and alcohol are all things i grapple with, and i need to find something more healthy to be addicted/pre-occupied with. but fuck man, it's not easy to do that. but i'm going to get it done. i will accomplish and overcome all that somehow. i refuse. yes, i refuse to go down that dark path again---i want to move forward with my life.

my spirit will be okay, someday, somehow---it just has to be. i know it. i am nothing without hope. until that day, i will strive to do my best to achieve that.
i miss my friends.

Monday, December 13, 2010

it's 4:49 am.

i'm alone in my room with the balcony door open, and i can feel the breeze of bangkok air. it's soft, and delicate, and feels great on the skin, like lotion made of the wind.

every single light is turned off. as i lie in bed wearing boxers and with my hands pillowing the back of my head, the screen from my laptop illuminates enough of the ceiling for me to watch the rotating fan spin counter-clockwise.
must. stop. wasting. away.

Friday, December 10, 2010

i think i might have to start boiling my clothes in order to get my nasty sweat-funk out of them.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Monday, December 06, 2010

i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. hopefully? i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. maybe? i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this. i can do this.
why do i like to get fucked up so damn much?
i've arrived in bangkok.

yesterday i was in seoul and wearing a peacoat during the day, and today i'm in a t-shirt and rolling up my pant legs. it's really hot here. i sweat so much that i get whiffs of my funk at random moments throughout the day.

i feel exhausted---will write a proper update next time.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

with my time in korea coming to an end, i thought i'd reflect on my past six months here.

arriving here this past june feels like another lifetime ago---i can't believe it's already december. long gone are the days of oppressive heat and humidity in the summer that forced me to always carry around an extra t-shirt in my bag. it's finally winter now, and it feels great to walk in brisk weather again. i feel like so much has happened in such a compact amount of time, and now i'm leaving for bangkok in less than 24 hours. i've moved out of my place already, said all of my goodbyes, and am ready to transition into the next chapter of my life.

as for korea, here are just a few memorable and random things that i will forever take away from my time here. they're in no particular order:

-for the first time in my life, getting hospitalized on two separate occasions. each time had me blowing through the streets of seoul by ambulance, and the second time had me recovering in the hospital for a week after undergoing surgery for appendicitis.
-visiting the southern tip of the peninsula and checking out the nation's largest green tea fields.
-getting to spend some quality time with my cousin tim.
-lucking out with my timing and getting to see some of my relatives from the states who were all visiting korea for different reasons.
-experiencing an extremely frustrating job search.
-dating... a lot.
-$1.35 bottles of soju at any convenience store.
-bartending at a gay bar.
-discovering different neighborhoods in seoul by foot alone at night while blasting music in my headphones.
-eating grilled pork at restaurants for less than $6 a serving---ain't nothin' wrong with that.
-getting too shit faced drunk and waking up butt ass naked at random places on numerous occasions (these incidents were usually not sexual in anyway, just embarrassing).
-living in a building that was haunted. during my three month stay there, i had countless ghost nightmares and other ghost experiences.
-bike riding along the hangang river during the summer.
-never having $.
-more dating.
-feeling liberated from being in a new environment.
-meetings lots of great people and making new friends.
-landing my dream job after an exhaustive search.
-improving on my korean.
-emotional freedom from the baggage that awaits me back in nyc.
-interesting, delicious, and inexpensive street food.
-always being mistaken as 24 years old. having been really fat years ago does have its advantages (a.k.a. less wrinkles).
-$2.50 packs of cigarettes.
-dating some more.

goodbye korea, i will most likely not be back for a very long time. thanks again for everything.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

i have less than a week left in seoul. it feels so surreal.

i will not be heading back to nyc, not just yet at least. on december 5th, i will be flying on a one-way ticket to thailand. while i have no money, don't know anyone in bangkok, don't speak thai, and don't know what to do or where to go as soon as i step off the airplane, i guess i just have to make it work somehow...

the reason that i'm not going home yet is because i want to write a book. yes, an actual book. it's scary for me to state this in public because now it means that i have to finally go through with it. i don't know if it will be good or if it will ever get published, but it's been my lifelong dream to write a novel and i must get it done. i know that if i don't take the opportunity to make it a priority now, then it might never happen.

why thailand, you ask? mostly for visa purposes---it's the only place that ended up working out. plus, i was looking to stretch every last dollar i have and hope to make it happen there. i'm not going there for vacation, but instead just to have a place where i can concentrate on getting my work done. i'm nervous about it all, but excited at the same time.

if you will be in bangkok within the upcoming months or have friends there i could meet, please let me know.

as for now, i'm still trying to come to grips that i will be leaving korea for a very long time. the korean military office called me again today to check on my decision. i let them know that i will definitely not be enlisting for two years in the military.

cheers to my to last week here---i plan to make it a good one.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

at the very moment where tens of millions of other americans were having their holiday feasts, i was nursing a major hangover and ate a $1 breakfast at my local convenience store early in the morning.

happy thanksgiving!

on a side note, toilet paper plays many different roles in korean culture. over here, its use is not only limited to wiping the lips below your waist...

is ten days enough for a chance at love?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

this is the headline that south korea woke up to this morning.

after yesterday's historical and unprovoked attack from north korea, south korea is left with two dead soldiers, tens injured, destroyed homes of innocent civilians and the underlying sense that the country's comfortable mindset of safety from war can be shattered in a moment.

i woke up this morning relatively early to run errands and while i usually never watch television anymore, i was glued to the news to catch up on the latest updates. understandably, the story dominated every major network and i pondered how everyday citizens were dealing with the events.

i left my place and headed on my way, carefully studying the faces of all the seoulites around me. the weather today is crisp and sunny with passing clouds, and i found myself continually looking at the sky and wondering if there will be a day where the capital city will be engulfed by plumes of smoke and panic below.

as for the people of seoul, everything seems to be pretty normal this morning; the subways were packed during rush hour with commuters, businesses were open and ready for customers, tardy people desperately ran for their departing and already packed buses, cars waited patiently at red traffic lights, businessmen walked confidently in their suits, students in their uniforms walked stoically as they tuned out the world through their headphones, trendy young people laughed while talking on their expensive cellphones, people sipped their hot starbucks coffee with tiny straws (i still really don't understand it though), women waited with their small children for the school bus, and dense people walked down the street without a care in the world and their eyes glued to their electronic devices. it's evident that just like every other morning in seoul, people went through the motions of going about their business, unaffected by the attacks.

who knows if the country will go to war again with the north. as for now---things are still routine.
i'm longing to go on a scenic drive somewhere.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

it is so NOT COOL for dudes to dry off their pubes at the sauna with the communal hair dryer.

Friday, November 19, 2010

formally saying goodbye to someone in korea usually requires bowing. whenever i'm on my phone and respectfully saying goodbye in korean, i find myself subconsciously bowing to thin air in public, especially on the subway. so...f'n...embarrassing.
life goes on.

in spite of those pesky minor details of what, where, and how---life always goes on.

Friday, November 12, 2010

wow. okay. so. let's see. i don't even know where i should start with this entry. oh yes---i got it now.

to start with the good news---I GOT A JOB.

yes, and it's not teaching english at some banal school or anything, but an actual i-could-do-this-for-my-career sort of job. as a matter of fact, i can say that it's my DREAM JOB. i could not have imagined a better job that suits me, my work ethic, what i want to achieve in korea, and how i always imagined myself living here.

last thursday, i interviewed at the #1 pr agency in all of seoul. the office is located a block away from the galleria mall in apkujeong, which is one of the ritziest parts of town. the ceo lady of the company personally interviewed me and she hired me on the spot. in that moment, i can't even begin to describe how happy i was. finally, after five months of an extensive job search and in korea and busting my ass, it was all coming together. and the best part was, i could finally quit my bar job! all i could think was yes---there was a reason for it all. all the doubt, struggle and adversity from the past five months were immediately relinquished from my heart and i felt twenty pounds lighter. if i had not gone through all that, then i would have not been at the point where i now was. i'm a huge believer in fate and now that i figured out what i would be doing in korea, i felt such relief. relief in the fact that i didn't have to worry about money anymore. relief that i'd be doing the sort of work that i could be proud of. relief that i could confidently say that everything had been worth it. relief that my job search was finally over, and i could finally fucking move on and start this new chapter of my life.

i was asked to start working that very morning, but i told them i had to take care of some things and it was decided i'd start the next day. immediately, i was given an assignment and informed about the client i would be working with, which is probably one of the most famous fashion brands in the world (you know the one that has a monogram of two letters and is duplicated and sold in chinatowns around the world?). the fashion brand is doing something really big in seoul in about a month. it's something that has never been done before in korea, so it's a big deal for everyone. only the top editors, stylists and fashion people from asia are invited, and my job would be working with all of them and other facets of the event.

my first day of work last friday was very intense. i was proud of the fact that i not only survived it, but did a good ass fucking job as well. the fact that i read and write korean on the level of a native second grader, or that this was my first time being submersed in korean office culture, or that colleagues would come to me to discuss work related stuff and i would just nod my head while saying "sure" even though i had no idea what they were saying or that it takes me an exorbitant amount of time to do simple tasks because i can't understand powerpoint in korean didn't matter, because i was enjoying what i was doing. i was happy that i would be learning and working alongside the industry's best in korea, and was proud to be given a role at this company. it's been almost two years since i was laid-off at my former publishing job, and to be employed again where i didn't have to serve customers was something i felt extremely grateful for. to have my own desk and area and somewhere i could call my own again, man---it just felt good.

i also worked on saturday because my boss and i had to go to a few stores and museums to do some location scouting. afterwards, she took me out to dinner and we had a few beers and got more acquainted with each other. to go back to my whole belief in fate, let me tell you about my boss. she had just started working again the week before i started because she had just returned from being in nyc for two years. she worked at the company before she left for nyc, so the office and environment wasn't completely new to her, but she was still trying to get back into her work groove. she told me she really enjoyed being in nyc and it was great because we talked about restaurants, bars, and other nyc stuff that we liked. during dinner, i really got to know her and realized how damn lucky i was to have her as my boss. she's super smart and good at what she does, and she told me that from what she witnessed on my first day, that i would do well at the company. she even stated that finding good employees in korea is hard, and that once i start networking more, she was sure that i'd start to get other job offers from competitors because that's just how the industry works here. she said we were both fortunate to be working with each other and she wants to do all she can to help me succeed. all that on top of the fact that she had just returned from nyc and was understanding/patient with the fact that my korean isn't perfect, what more could i ask for? everything just felt right. if you put all these details in a brown paper bag and give me a black sharpie, i will seal the top with a quick crumple and write FATE in large lettering.

suffice it to say, i was on cloud nine for the remainder of last weekend. i called my family and told them the good news. i emailed close friends to share how happy i was and to tell them about an interesting incident that happened on my first day. i couldn't wait for the weekend to end and was looking forward to monday morning. i felt excited about life again. the feeling of finding a good job after such a long time of unemployment/instability was now in the past and i was elated with the opportunities that could possibly materialize with my hard work. the rest was up to me now, and i was definitely up for the challenge.

on my commute this monday morning, i even found a seat on the subway. i don't know if any of you have ever experienced rush hour in seoul, but it can be brutal. actually landing a seat and catching up with my sister on the phone was the perfectly auspicious way to start my first work week.

i arrived at work by 9:20 that morning and i got started on what i needed to get done. then around 10am, i received a phone call from an unfamiliar number. the person on the other line was a lady who i had never spoken to before, and she stated my name and asked if she had the correct number. i confirmed that it was and asked who she was and what she wanted. she told me she was calling from some sort of office, but i didn't understand what she was saying in korean. i excused myself from my desk and took the call outside, and that's when everything began to unravel.

it turns out that the woman works for the korean government, and was calling me from the military department. she stated that december 6 would be the six-month mark of my time in korea, and that's the longest i can legally stay here. if i want to stay in korea past december 6, i must enlist in korea's mandatory two-year military service. if i choose not to enroll, then i must leave the country and i am not welcome back for another six months. this is all in effect until i turn 38. if i have any desire to live in korea, be here for more than 6 months at a time or legally make money here before i turn 38, then i absolutely must spend two years in the korean military.

seriously? wtf.

the reason for this situation is, i've previously blogged about this before, but when i was born, my paternal grandfather (the one who currently still lives in alaska) put my name on the korean national registry. he put the names of all his grandchildren on that list with good intentions, and it technically makes us korean citizens. for females it's not a big deal if their names are on the list because the draft doesn't affect them. however, for males, if you plan to live in korea and if your name is on that list and not taken off the list before you turn eighteen, then you absolutely must serve in the armed forces. and that's what happened with me. since my name is on that list and i didn't deal with it before i turned eighteen, well, i'm stuck with the consequences. most other korean-american males (and females) can come and settle down in korea for years with a particular visa called the "f4" visa. this special visa allows people who have korean parents that were born in korea, to work and live freely here as korean citizens. the difference between me and the majority of these people is their names were most likely never put on the korean registry, but mine was. therefore they don't have to deal with all these legal technicalities or even fathom the idea of having to go to the korean military. and for any other foreigner who wants to come to korea, it's not a problem. while they aren't eligible for the f4, they can always come here through a work visa.

the phone call was shocking, but at the same time i knew my name was on the national registry. however, i only found that out when i arrived in korea and applied for that special f4 visa. since i wasn't eligible for the f4, i just assumed that if i acquired a visa through a job, that that would allow me to stay here since i wasn't just moving here to just live here, but i was legally moving here to work. the lady on the phone told me that a work visa did not matter because it doesn't change the fact that my name is on the list---i'm still required to get serve in the military no matter what, just like every other male korean citizen.

after i hung up the phone, damn, i sure was fucking pissed. everything i had worked hard for in the past five months was just gone. my first monday morning of work started off so awesome and i thought i had nothing but the world ahead of me. but all that evaporated into thin air.

the dream of living here long term and establishing some sort of live here is gone. the dream is now officially dead.

i know this situation is something beyond my control, so i've accepted everything for what it is. the day my grandfather put my name on the national registry, my fate was sealed. before i turned 18, i had no fucking idea of what my grandfather had done, let alone did i have any desire or thought at that age of wanting to live in my parent's homeland in the future. however, i must give kudos to the korean government for their impeccable record keeping and the fact that they were able to track down my phone number. since i don't have a visa, officially i can't do anything under my name so my cell phone was opened under my cousin's name.

i'm really still pissed off about it all, but i guess really just more upset. i've made some good friends here, people who have looked out for me and always made sure i was okay; people who have heavily influenced my time here in a positive way and that i've gotten to know very well. but now my time with them is most likely over. sure, it doesn't mean i'm never going to see them again, but i'm sad that the era of being with them in korea is going to end in a few weeks. i also really love living in seoul. i feel comfortable here and appreciate all the culture and progress that's been made in this country. there's just so much going on here in terms of art, technology, culture, finance, politics, etc, and i just wanted to be able to experience some of it. if you've never been here, forget what you think you know about seoul. it's so much better than what you can even imagine.

up until that phone call, the goals i had set for myself seemed to finally start materializing. finding a job that i enjoy was the last part of the missing puzzle in my life and everything finally felt complete. the timing of the phone call is just so crazy. the very first monday of my new dream job is when i receive this life-changing news. it's pretty hilarious, really. i mean, my business cards were already ordered for god's sake. and during dinner with my boss last saturday, she already mentioned future projects and what my roles could be in regards to them. and now it's as if none of that ever happened... the promising possibilities of my future was laid out before me, and then snatched away in a second.

i guess korea just wasn't meant to be. i don't know what my next steps are, but i'm 99% sure that i will not be going back to nyc. i'm not ready yet. it's just not the right time. i know that something else is supposed to happen to me at this time of my life, and i know it's not in nyc. i don't have many options since i'm broke, but i'm just going to have to deal.

the good news is, life events like this don't falter my belief in fate. i know everything happens for a reason. thank you, life---for always keeping me on my toes.

Monday, November 08, 2010

what the fuck.

life is so ridiculous sometimes.

i was planning to write a full-on entry about what the fuck is happening with my life, but it will have to wait until tomorrow when i'm in a sober state of mind because i'm beyond drunk.

all i can say is, WHO THE FUCK KNOWSSSSS.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

last week, two of my very good friends and former roommates from nyc came to visit me in seoul.

words can't describe how great it felt to be able to spend time with them in korea. it was tons of fun and our days were filled with sightseeing, eating, drinking, more sightseeing, more eating and more drinking. i'm proud to say that we covered a lot of different spots and neighborhoods in seoul and am glad they were able to experience the awesomeness of the city.

they took hundreds of pictures from their camera, but here are some of my favorites. i'm very anal and like to tell a cohesive story, so of course any pics i post are always in chronological order.

thank you jenn & daniel for coming halfway around the world to see me---i miss you both dearly. also, it was daniel's birthday on the day they arrived in seoul, hence the birthday-boy glasses.