Summer is finally here!

The weather is fantastic–humid, but it’s quite warm and it smells like deliciousness. I’ve been looking for patios all the time, just sitting around and enjoying myself in a regular day-to-day kind of life. This week we had Wednesday off, which is a wonderful way to have a week–haha, I never want to work on Wednesday again.

This weekend I enjoyed just sitting on patios and being social. I really had a good time. Talking. Just talking. It was a global weekend too–hung out with people from 3 different continents. On Friday I did the usual haunts with the Daejeon crew, then I got up and went to Seoul to see Jim and his new digs there. We met up with Stephanie and enjoyed a drink at a bar, sat next to a wide open window and watched people below. Seoulites running around in their Seoul-y-ness. The city is so interesting. Every time I go there’s so many things to see. Different kinds of people–even some counter culture kinds of things–something I never expect to see here. Not in Daejeon, at least, which is a lot more conservative when it comes to style and culture. (And by conservative I don’t mean skin-wise, because everybody’s legs are hanging out. I mean that everybody must have the same kind of style, not like Seoul where there are alternatives.)

On Sunday Stephanie and I ate shabushabu, which was immensely filling and quite nice, and then we went to Itaewon. I got a massage, and that was a very, very good feeling. I haven’t had a massage since November or December… way too long. My back was just in all kinds of pain. Next time I’m going to stay for an hour and I might even ask them to do my feet, because just the little attention she gave them seemed to release so much tension. They say that your feet are the end points for all your meridians… and that paying attention to your feet will keep you safe from ailments. They have these interesting bare-foot paths that are supposed to heal you. Mostly they just hurt, but according to Jim, if you can walk on them with no pain, you are completely healthy. I wonder what bunions mean in this context… a continual growth and deformity in the direction of one’s life? A build up of superfluous antics that cause the main toe to go astray…. cause the direction to go astray. I bet I could write a short story about that. Someone who gets bunion surgery and then all the things she keeps hidden in her bunion simply pour out into her life like ghosts. Now that would be absurd but oddly telling.

(I’ve been reading Neil Gaiman short stories at an alarmingly fast rate. I’m trying to plow through the books I have here so that I can buy new ones. I have a great list on my Amazon wishlist of travel narratives that I want to read, and other sorts of things. Ahem. For those of you who want to purchase me birthday presents, you have my address and Amazon delivers here….. quite quickly, I might add. Har har.)

Anyway, on Sunday after my massage I met up with Kennedy, my Ghanaian friend who I met in Daejeon so long ago, when I was a brand new Korea-ite. He and his business partner, Mark, took us out for drinks at a Mexican restaurant with (you guessed it) a delightful patio. Stephanie and I drank juice and coffee while they ate and we all talked together for something like 3 hours. It was amazing. I loved it. We talked African politics and development, and all these things that I had forgotten that I loved to talk about. And I fell into the grove of slow talking and moving, and I just felt very alive.

And when I tell myself “you might not have enough money to go back” or “you might not really want that anyway”, there are reasons like these to remind me. The logic might not be there, but the emotion is–even with people I barely know. People I just met that day.

When we met, Mark was introduced to us and we passed by a Baskin Robbins. In which there was a whole slew of Ghanaians, who called out to him and called us in. And they called me obroni. I was so happy just to hear the word, and then I heard their language–Twi I think, but I wasn’t sure. I could never pick them apart. But it sounded like music.

But talk about globablization. I ran into 10 Ghanaians, eating ice cream at Baskin Robbins, in Korea. And then we went to a Mexican restaurant, where we were copiously hit on by a Japanese man.

He leaned over and was bothering us, and finally he got too close to me, and I backed up, and then Mark said: “Excuse me, could you please give them some space?” In this kind of “That is not a question” way. And he backed up, and embarrassed, I said “Thank you”, but all of a sudden I realized that nobody had ever done that for me before. I had always had to exhaustively deal with men who bothered me like that. I was so happy that he had said something. So glad that I could let a man speak up for me, and then I realized–why don’t I speak up for me? So I made a resolution to do that more often.

Anyway the weekend was wonderful. Great time just meeting with friends. Nothing rushed, nothing hurried. Nothing too much. Just a calm, great time.

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