Thursday, November 20, 2008

exercise culture in korea: ajummas on bicycles

well it's 10:15am in suwon, winter's first snow is falling outside the dirty windows of my hagwon, and no students have come for my 10 o'clock class, which means i'm home free for the next 45 minutes. i'll take this time to update you on part of my daily life.

this month i started a membership at a local gym, as i was in desperate need of some physical activity. this seemingly small addition to my daily schedule has contributed a lot to my mental health as well, and my general satisfaction. i usually head to 홍익스포츠프라자 ('hongik supochu puraja' - hong-ik sports plaza) right after my last morning class finishes at 12pm. the place is rife with strongly 'korean' elements.


attempting to create a membership at hong-ik on my first visit to the place was an interesting encounter. unfortunately the receptionist did not understand my korean 'telegraphic speech', and it took quite a while for her to figure out just what i wanted. if only she could have slowed her speech down just a little, i might have been able to catch her words, but she instead talked to me at the speed of a native korean speaker with only a doubtful look on her face as a consolation prize. we eventually settled on a sort of game of charades and i was practically doing imaginary bench press on the countertop between us before we finally agreed on a membership plan.


so i began heading to that place everyday. it's actually pretty large, offering swimming lessons, dance lessons, even 검도 ('geomdo' - modern fencing, the korean kendo) and squash quarts, all of which i have yet to take advantage of due to the limitations of my membership plan. one curious feature of my gym is the basement shower room. the women's locker/shower room is on the main floor, but to get to the men's, you have to go down a dimly-lit flight of stairs and pass through what appears to be a storage place for old furniture and is likely a supposed 'amenity' (nobody, however, is seen lounging on the torn, 'fleather' couches and partaking of this comfort). every time i enter the locker room, i take off my shoes (as is the custom in korea as well as japan), place them in the little rack, and give a greeting to the old man who is always sitting in the same spot, day in, day out, and who i suppose to be the 'shower room manager', despite the lack of instances in which i have witnessed him 'at his duties'. the locker room itself is very cramped and low-ceilinged, but it's lighting coupled with the steam from the showers give it a friendly, dull glow that is quite relaxing. i meander through and nimbly tiptoe over the men and children lounging about (all of whom are comfortably naked) to get to my assigned locker and change into my 'workout clothes' which could be better termed: 'the clothes i wore yesterday'. i have yet to use the showers because i keep forgetting to bring a towel (no towels are provided due to the mysterious disappearance that befalls many of them). even though it's unnecessary due to the fact that i live just a few minutes away and usually shower at home after the gym, i still want to try a shower down there sometime.

the weight room itself is an otherworldly place as well. upon entering, i am immediately accosted by blasts of korean pop music ('k-pop'). these songs really dont match a workout atmosphere, but they are impossible to drown out even with my own i-pod. also distracting are the exercise videos displayed simultaneously on countless tv-monitors and featuring some korean work-out superstar who is actually a skinny, 30-ish woman wearing make-up and mini-shorts too small to blow your nose on. the videos (which play constantly on repeat) probably attract more viewers through this 'dumbbell madonna' (whose exercise poses are more than a little questionably erotic, no help from the camera man) than through the quality of their actual workout techniques.


nobody seems to pay any attention to the videos anyway, as the majority of the patrons to the weight room at 12pm are 아줌마 (ajummas - literally means 'aunt' and refers to all middle-aged women) on bicycles or stairmasters. this leaves me with relatively free-reign of the weights (except for the occasional 'hee-men' - slightly disgustingly muscular, short men who comprise the only male patrons). i usually take a short jog on the treadmill to warm up and do a few rounds on the weight machines before heading home, spending no longer than an hour and a half total.


Monday, November 10, 2008

an open window

despite my desire and assurances to keep this blog updated, i continue to fall seriously behind... there are a lot of pictures still to upload, and quickly, before my memories of them fade. it was my hope to write about things as they happened, but that has certainly turned out futile so far. nevertheless, some recent events require that i present them out of their true order, and it will take a bit of explanation.

the last week and a half has been quite a roller coaster ride for me. everything began with an emotional explosion, and ive been picking up the shrapnel ever since. but the explosion also knocked loose a few things that had gotten buried under all the excitement of the last few weeks/months of my life. and a few new discoveries were unearthed in the process as well. you can probably guess that all of what i have been describing is in reference to relationship things, for that is what it is precisely.

it wouldnt be accurate to ascribe all of ginny's and my problems to long-distance, because this isn't our first encounter with that dilemma. but it is our second, and that, itself, carries definitionally with it an entirely different experience. the heart of the matter, however, lies more in the nature of our situations, the intrinsic discrepancy that exists in attempting to pursue our own dreams as well as share one together, the conflict that has arisen from my being in korea specifically, and in the nature of our emotional responses and the mistakes we have made in attempting to deal with them.

hiuyan's decision about whether or not to come to korea this winter has been like a pendulum swinging back and forth, and not without striking it's toll on me. her indecision lies in the fact that she has a hard time viewing korea in a positive light, a prejudice that has been more difficult for me to bear than i thought it would. there are many possible explanations for what has caused hiuyan to develop such an opinion, and likely they are all somewhat responsible for the result, but the fact that i am here now, and have experienced something with korea that she can only imagine through my retelling, is a likely major cause to her trepidation (perhaps not unwarranted, but misplaced, all the same). these negative inclinations have fed off of her insecurities, which in turn have become so fearsome, it has become difficult for us to have a conversation without them finding their way into the topic of discussion.

i, in turn, have usually been able to find a way to remain patient, to put my needs on hold, to reach as tirelessly as i can for my hopes of unconditional love. as i described to my brother and sister a couple weeks ago, however, this act of putting my feelings on hold has the side-effect of making me entirely unemotional, and i feared that my feelings of my relationship with hiuyan were turning from 'intimate' to 'caring' or 'understanding' - not unimportant aspects of romance, but i better realize now how intimacy requires some 'selfishness' to function two ways.

instead of recounting my experiences from memory, i think it would be more revealing to share with you my own words from the last week and a half. some things i have written to ginny personally, and some things i am sharing with her here and now for the first time. if you feel uncomfortable reading about some of our very personal and emotional experiences, feel free to skip ahead. both of us believe, however, in the importance of being open and transparent, not just to one or a few people, but to anyone who cares enough to look.

this is something i wrote for myself just after the conversation that detinated the emotional 'time bomb' that had been building up inside of me since i came to korea, or possibly longer:

"as the webcam video blinked and refocused, she told me about how some of her Japanese friends had invited her to spend the Christmas holiday in japan with their families. she said it was something she really wanted to do. she said if she went to korea to spend the Christmas with me, she thinks that she’d feel like she’d lost an important opportunity. her voice was drumming in my ears but I couldn’t feel anything. it was hard to hear her over the sound of the blood rushing through my ears. words utterly failed me. I had no encouragement to give her. I couldn’t even reach out and touch her anymore. it was as if in the last few seconds a chasm had grown between us. if I strained my eyes I might be able to see her, but right now I was looking at my own reflection in the puddle at my feet. to reach her, i’d have to step in that puddle. my skin was sticky and clammy; I felt like I was soiled in my own cheap stink. if I washed off that smell now, I might have enough strength to turn toward the other side of the canyon, but I’d never smell like anything again. never like flowers, or like fresh rain, or like new paper. I was sinking deeper and deeper into my cheap leather chair which stuck to my skin like glue. I wanted to give in to my disappointment and let my tears pour out, but I couldn’t. I wanted to find some way to tell her it’s alright and go ahead and go to japan if it’s important to you and I’ll be fine but I couldn’t. it was as if my heart had suddenly awoken and flown into the air and turned out to be not one, but two birds flapping their wings, straining in opposite directions. the albatross’ confident voice called to me, ‘it’s alright; you’re strong; our love can soar under any conditions, rain or storm.’ but it could not drown out the plea of the ‘amakihi, a honeycreeper fluttering with all its tiny might, ‘if we travel too far away from the sweet ohia flowers that bloom in our heart and flow with the nectar that is just right for us, we will perish over the ocean, or worse, forget the sweet sustaining flavor that fills us with life.’ the two birds were tethered to each other at the neck, a chord long enough to give the albatross a considerable distance from the ‘amakihi, but the line was stretched to the limit. if I cut the albatross loose, it would take the little honeycreeper with it. perhaps those two birds’ voices were like the voices of my brother and sister. I called the albatross back, sat down in my puddle, and turned toward the video of my girl. she was crying, and I had let the first tear spill out. ‘I need to be alone for a while.’ I felt the puddle soaking into my jeans. ‘please don’t call me for a while,’ I told her. we looked at each other for a while and eventually hung up. suddenly the emotion started flowing out of me. I leaned over, clutching myself. I felt small and sick, soiled in my own reflection. but I held onto those birds with all my might. ‘what am i?’ I thought to myself. ‘who the fuck am i?’ I couldn’t figure out which way to turn, which bird to cut loose. and I felt utterly fake and pathetic in my confusion. ‘you’re weak,’ a voice like the albatross’ told me. ‘you’re valuable and beautiful,’ said a dull, shallow whine like an imitation of the ‘amakihi’s. I went into the bathroom to urinate, but when I entered, my reflection stared back at me. it was distorted with sadness. I sank to my knees with shame and disgust at the ugly, alien countenance that shone back at me. but I had known what I would see in the mirror, and I shook my head wondering when would I understand my reflection? when would I recognize the face looking back at me? and why did I have to always look for that person alone?"

i stayed alone for a while. the week progressed and i taught my classes, but it was like i was in a different reality when i was with my students, as if my problems were put on hold just for those few hours. coming home, i would sink back into self-reflection, but not despair. i felt confused, but i also felt satisfaction that i had not sacrificed something precious within me. i concentrated on caring for myself, something i had been unthinkingly holding back for too long. i took walks and explored suwon more. last sunday i went walking to paldalsan, a nearby mountain. i was anxious to see the autumn colors, and i wasnt disappointed. paldalsan is in the heart of suwon; it exists on the edge of hwaseong fortress:

that evening i decided to write to hiuyan, even though i didnt know how. somehow writing felt like the only natural thing i could do:

Sunday, November 09, 2008
"i dont know how to start writing about what i want to say...
there have been things that ive wanted to tell you over the last couple of days, things i want you to know, things i want you to realize about me
i could not just tell you about them, because you need to figure out how to love me the way i need
i can't just write out a user-guide to myself
i felt hurt that you dont see what i need, frustrated at this irrational part of myself that wont just talk about everything directly, and so so confused
the only thing that has given me the air i need to breathe is the knowledge that i am at least listening to this part of myself, as emotionally reckless and irrational as it may be
so i haven't wanted to talk to you, even though i want you to understand me
and now ive become a little trapped in this isolation, i dont know how to talk to you
even these words seem awkward and inexpressive
but i owe you an attempt at the very least, to give you an idea where i am now

you say that we just dont realize the ways we are caring for each other or see how we are trying to show it
ive been told this by girls before
perhaps there is some truth to that, but i cant ignore this nagging feeling that those words are just a lame excuse for our fear of vulnerability from sharing ourselves more fully

there are many things that i feel like im missing these days, holes in our relationship, things i am now realizing i need that are not there
my values and ideals have guided me in the past, whispering in my ear that i dont need much to be in a relationship, that my strength comes from within, strength that gives me the capacity for patience, selflessness, unconditional love
i still believe this
but i know also that i need people to value me the way i love myself, to understand my love for myself, to inspire that love for myself to grow in new ways, to be a part of that love
this is what i need you to realize
you say you love me
i believe those words, but i need to feel them
i feel like you dont know me, as i know myself
maybe you're afraid to see my love for myself
maybe you dont know how to love yourself that way, and so you cant understand how i do
maybe you cant understand why i feel this way now
you must figure it out to find me
i am an open book, i think
so i wonder how you cant see me, respond to me
perhaps this is all a figment of my immagination
perhaps i am the one who cant see your love
that may be, i cant deny the possibility
all i know is what i feel now and what i must do in response to that

maybe my patience and commitment has given you the impression that i am a solid rock that you can smash yourself against to examine the pieces of yourself and find their meaning for you
in many ways, i am able to function in this way
this is a part of my character
but there is another part, a fragile part, a precious part, that must be cherished gently as an irreplacable treasure
it is vulnerable
not anyone deserves to love that part of me or deserves to care for that part of me

im sorry ive suddenly become this way
i know there was no warning, even i didnt really see it coming
but i should have guessed that it would
it had been building up slowly, i had been waiting for you to see me and fulfill me
i should not have hoped for that without telling you
i feel that i have been slowly losing a lover
and the confident, understanding, gentleness i so desperately long for
you aren't the only one who needs that
you aren't the only one who feels the need for reassurance
you've had little to say to reassure me, and much to discourage me, whether or not you realize it
im in a dark place now, but it is not forlorn because i know im here with me
the choices ive made to distance myself from you tell me that im unwilling to sacrifice myself, and that gives me a kind of hope, and growing confidence in myself, despite the weaknesses i know are also there

if you take this to mean i dont need you anymore, that would be very sad interpretation
i am unable now, however, to stretch myself any farther
if i did so, i would be sacrificing a part of myself, which i am not prepared to do
in many ways, writing all of this is very confusing, because i am trying to express, rationally, something inside of me that is quite irrational and difficult for even myself to understand
reading my own words, i almost seem to be hypocritical with my expression
i dont really expect you to understand that which i can not completely grasp
perhaps this is the more femenine side of my emotions - i think a lot of the ways that ive learned to express these emotions is through experiencing some of the ways women see and care for themselves
there i go again...a rational attempt to explain something so bewildering - it's a contradiction inside of me
that's why this part of me frustrates me so much
as im sure it does to you too

i cant say anymore for now
i dont even want to post this, it doesnt feel right, but i will anyway
i'll hope that you receive it the right way"

all the next week we didnt say much to each other; i couldnt come back yet. i played a lot of guitar music, downloaded the muppet show, black adder, star trek voyager, and started studying more korean and reading more dostoyevsky. but yesterday we finally began chatting over instant messaging. after i left to buy some dinner, ginny stayed on and wrote more, to which i responed this morning with my own monologue. i'll put it here:

[11/15/2008 7:56:17 PM] yanyan says: ciao~
[11/15/2008 8:04:10 PM] yanyan says: just remembered something
[11/15/2008 8:05:16 PM] yanyan says: i told you that i've been watching a taiwanese show, a singing contest show ya?
[11/15/2008 8:05:43 PM] yanyan says: in the one that i've been watching these few days
[11/15/2008 8:06:39 PM] yanyan says: the singers were all very very very good at singing
[11/15/2008 8:07:34 PM] yanyan says: but they all had the some kind of weakness
[11/15/2008 8:07:39 PM] yanyan says: that was
[11/15/2008 8:08:29 PM] yanyan says: because they're all very good - they had good techniques and stuff
[11/15/2008 8:08:36 PM] yanyan says: because of that
[11/15/2008 8:09:19 PM] yanyan says: they became very careful when they're singing
[11/15/2008 8:11:27 PM] yanyan says: and that kinda became a barrier for them to paint their feelings and thoughts when singing a song
[11/15/2008 8:12:33 PM] yanyan says: i've been feeling like that this 2~3 months
[11/15/2008 8:12:54 PM] yanyan says: on our relationship
[11/15/2008 8:14:33 PM] yanyan says: i've always felt that i'm person who has more feelings to "sing" instead of techniques
[11/15/2008 8:15:04 PM] yanyan says: but once i started to become too careful
[11/15/2008 8:16:26 PM] yanyan says: the only thing i have the most would be lost, or covered up
[11/15/2008 8:18:14 PM] yanyan says: i think, my love for people is more like a "disffusion" (spelling?)
[11/15/2008 8:18:38 PM] yanyan says: slowly, slowly, deeper, deeper
[11/15/2008 8:19:55 PM] yanyan says: not like fireworks, which goes like "bang!", then "wow!"
[11/15/2008 8:20:54 PM] yanyan says: oh, diffusion
[1:32:01 PM] yakul85 says: does being careful cause this diffusion
[1:32:49 PM] yakul85 says: maybe being careful is what takes love longer to manifest
[1:33:42 PM] yakul85 says: you described yourself as being passionate, singing from your heart
[1:34:07 PM] yakul85 says: your passions are not like fireworks
[1:34:45 PM] yakul85 says: it is hard for me to understand how both of these things could be true
[1:35:05 PM] yakul85 says: passion takes me by storm
[1:35:18 PM] yakul85 says: it caries me far far far away
[1:36:17 PM] yakul85 says: to someplace so beyond the realms of reality, within its beauty lurks a danger of being caught, trapped, lost in that place
[1:36:31 PM] yakul85 says: but i must let myself reach out an touch it
[1:36:50 PM] yakul85 says: i have never really given myself a chance to slowly develop skills and techniques
[1:37:04 PM] yakul85 says: i can only reach beyond them to where my passion lies
[1:37:47 PM] yakul85 says: this fills me with excitement, hope, love for myself
[1:38:07 PM] yakul85 says: and it also means that without my passion i can not accomplish as much
[1:38:20 PM] yakul85 says: so it is a limitation in as much as it is a gift
[1:38:45 PM] yakul85 says: because i am this way, it is hard for me to understand a slowly deepening passion
[1:38:57 PM] yakul85 says: to me this is virtually a contradiction in terms
[1:39:56 PM] yakul85 says: i think what is clear is that we have different feelings of passion and different ways of expressing them
[1:40:15 PM] yakul85 says: and we are still exploring and learning about these feelings within ourselves and what they are capable of
[1:40:42 PM] yakul85 says: it will take time for us to be ready to explore each other's sense of passion
[1:40:46 PM] yakul85 says: and of love
[1:41:35 PM] yakul85 says: being apart, being forced to rely on our own passions for strength more so than before, brings out these differences between us more visibly
[1:42:10 PM] yakul85 says: and makes it harder for us to attempt learning about each other
[1:42:59 PM] yakul85 says: i think what we may need is a chance to share in each other's personal expression more
[1:43:25 PM] yakul85 says: when we talk directly, we may find it harder to share those things
[1:43:46 PM] yakul85 says: i want to do a better job of keeping an online journal
[1:43:52 PM] yakul85 says: that will help me listen to myself
[1:43:57 PM] yakul85 says: and help you listen to me too
[1:44:47 PM] yakul85 says: and what i want to hear most these days, is not your words to me as much as your words to yourself
[1:45:13 PM] yakul85 says: you have much within you that i know is inspirational to me
[1:45:29 PM] yakul85 says: but you cant choose what i may need from you
[1:45:50 PM] yakul85 says: and all i want to give you is myself, anyway
[1:45:57 PM] yakul85 says: i will only be me
[1:46:04 PM] yakul85 says: i never want to be anyone else
[1:46:19 PM] yakul85 says: even if changing myself can make you happier, i'll never do it
[1:46:29 PM] yakul85 says: that much i know
[1:46:31 PM] yakul85 says: but
[1:46:56 PM] yakul85 says: i am willing to give you everything that is really me
[1:47:50 PM] yakul85 says: and too, i must accept who you are, despite my disappointment
[1:48:51 PM] yakul85 says: maybe you can not be my 'princess charming' who sweeps me off my feet
[1:49:52 PM] yakul85 says: but you can be 'hiuyan'
[1:51:04 PM] yakul85 says: that's who i want in my life
[1:51:31 PM] yakul85 says: and i just want to share my life with you
[1:51:42 PM] yakul85 says: and i must tell you
[1:51:59 PM] yakul85 says: how much it hurt me to see that you didnt want to share in my life now
[1:52:03 PM] yakul85 says: you didnt say this
[1:53:46 PM] yakul85 says: but it felt like that to me everytime your uncertainty about korea became more important than my experience of it
[1:53:57 PM] yakul85 says: what is a place anyway?
[1:54:29 PM] yakul85 says: it's what is drawn out of you in a place, what you experience and learn about yourself, that makes a place significant or special
[1:55:23 PM] yakul85 says: to me it doesnt matter how good or bad korea is socially, economically, educationally
[1:55:53 PM] yakul85 says: all i know is what ive learned about myself through my interaction with it and its people
[1:56:24 PM] yakul85 says: and i love this place because i love the parts of myself that are drawn from this place
[1:57:24 PM] yakul85 says: perhaps this causes me to overreact by feeling you dont like me when you dont like korea, because all i know about korea is through this experience of discovering some of myself through discovering korea
[1:57:56 PM] yakul85 says: i wont say, 'if you love me, love korea'
[1:58:39 PM] yakul85 says: but i do wish you would put your hope and trust in the words i have to share about korea
[1:58:53 PM] yakul85 says: instead of in your fears and uncertainties about it
[1:59:53 PM] yakul85 says: i do love this place
[1:59:57 PM] yakul85 says: the people are so human
[2:01:13 PM] yakul85 says: with their struggles against screwed up education, professional, political, even familial and religious systems, they shine as passionate, sincere people
[2:01:48 PM] yakul85 says: at first, i honestly felt like many korean people reminded me of high school, with their emotional and sometimes almost transparent responses to situations
[2:02:51 PM] yakul85 says: but despite all the shit everywhere, they have a really, really inspirational perspective on unconditional love
[2:03:26 PM] yakul85 says: i cant begin to express how much ive experienced this
[2:04:12 PM] yakul85 says: i have to admit, it comes most clearly to me through the young-adult generation
[2:05:07 PM] yakul85 says: and i think a lot of my experience of it has to do with the fact that i am an 'outsider'
[2:06:06 PM] yakul85 says: for one thing, ive found that having a language barrier can facilitate honesty and a more dedicated attempt at expressing sincerity
[2:09:01 PM] yakul85 says: and it just occured to me that the closeness i feel to korea probably has a lot to do with the stage of my life that i was in when i began experiencing korea
[2:10:22 PM] yakul85 says: in a lot of ways, i was coming back to reality from a period of remote isolation and self-exploration
[2:11:12 PM] yakul85 says: my reunification with the world happened in hawaii, and subsequently with koreans
[2:11:57 PM] yakul85 says: anyway, although i have found such a strong sense of belonging here, it is not complete if i dont feel a sense of belonging with you
[2:13:20 PM] yakul85 says: but i cannot coexist with your insecurities
[2:13:31 PM] yakul85 says: yes, this word 'insecurities' again
[2:13:42 PM] yakul85 says: it is one that you have begun to fear
[2:14:07 PM] yakul85 says: and that is where it eats away at you and at our relationship
[2:14:13 PM] yakul85 says: through fear
[2:16:29 PM] yakul85 says: honestly, i often wonder how such a fear can reside inside such a person as yourself, someone who is so straightforward, honest, hopeful, unpreoccupied with the eyes of others, and fearlessly explorative
[2:16:58 PM] yakul85 says: at times i nearly think of you as two different people
[2:17:09 PM] yakul85 says: when your fear comes out, it's not you
[2:18:52 PM] yakul85 says: when i say these words, i say them as much to myself and my own worries and doubts: you must not fear your insecurity
[2:19:38 PM] yakul85 says: acknowledge your weakness and live with it, talk to it, talk to yourself
[2:19:53 PM] yakul85 says: speak out loud (that's what i do)
[2:20:17 PM] yakul85 says: dont cringe, but fight back
[2:21:05 PM] yakul85 says: you must shout to yourself, 'NO!'
[2:21:37 PM] yakul85 says: i can love you even through your struggle, i know that
[2:21:45 PM] yakul85 says: This message has been removed
[2:22:27 PM] yakul85 says: but it is hard for me to feel loved
[2:22:37 PM] yakul85 says: that is my weakness, i know
[2:22:52 PM] yakul85 says: if i were perfect, i would endure as long as you needed
[2:22:59 PM] yakul85 says: and i am enduring now
[2:23:13 PM] yakul85 says: but things like what has happened to me will happen sometimes
[2:24:05 PM] yakul85 says: my sense of self-preservation will kick in
[2:24:58 PM] yakul85 says: and i will need to be alone for a while to give my emotions the attention they need
[2:25:11 PM] yakul85 says: i tried to avoid this
[2:25:19 PM] yakul85 says: i thought i could keep holding on, remaining patient
[2:25:58 PM] yakul85 says: but this ended up just making my retreat more dramatic, more painful for us both
[2:26:18 PM] yakul85 says: now i realize that i needed you to see this about me
[2:26:35 PM] yakul85 says: to understand my needs
[2:26:58 PM] yakul85 says: by trying not to be selfish, i was even more so
[2:29:10 PM] yakul85 says: i now have a clearer understanding of my own needs
[2:29:21 PM] yakul85 says: and of my value
[2:29:48 PM] yakul85 says: i can not sacrifice my own value for you
[2:29:53 PM] yakul85 says: that would not be love
[2:29:59 PM] yakul85 says: only servitude
[2:30:05 PM] yakul85 says: not intimacy
[2:30:59 PM] yakul85 says: i think i tried to sacrifice my own value because i wanted you to express yours
[2:31:37 PM] yakul85 says: i wanted you to be selfish, so to speak, to tell me what you want, what you need
[2:32:04 PM] yakul85 says: because i dont want a servant either; i want an equal
[2:32:49 PM] yakul85 says: i did exactly what i didnt want you to do, ignoring my own needs
[2:33:55 PM] yakul85 says: well, i will leave you now (meaning i will stop writing)
[2:34:11 PM] yakul85 says: to think for yourself about these things
[2:34:51 PM] yakul85 says: if it's alright with you, id like to post some of this 'conversation' on my blog
[2:35:09 PM] yakul85 says: i think it really reflects a lot of my values and self-awareness
[2:36:11 PM] yakul85 says: despite all the hardships, i am learning about myself through this, being with you, and that's a very important thing
[2:36:19 PM] yakul85 says: so just that fact gives me a lot of hope
[2:36:25 PM] yakul85 says: i miss you

so that's where i am now. i wanted to write about this, to help me look at things more objectively. this is sort of a first for me, writing so openly on a blog like this. but i want this to be more than a blog or a journal. i also want to make clear that everything ive written about hiuyan is from my own perspective which i certainly know by now to be considerably limited. please consider everything ive written as a window into my own life and thoughts. i cant presume to express hers.

if you've read all this, im impressed and pleased. i hope that your patience has been a benefit to you in some way. now i must go to see my friend's concert in seoul. remember hyunsook? i saw one of her company choir's performances already this fall. today is the grand finale. it is nice to be going out.