Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Career plans

I don't really have any. I remember someone asking me that once and I didn't have an answer for them.

This is going to be another long one, so please indulge me once more...

Who knew that getting some pants hemmed at a cheap tailor on the Lower East Side could make you contemplate what direction your life is going in? Last week was the first time I'd bought any new clothes for my job in months. First and foremost because in my impressionable years I read the Desiderius Erasmus quote "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes," and was extremely taken by it and decided to apply this rule to myself. I was already a bookworm (yes...I was and still am a nerd)and all this quote did was stoke the fire. Fact: My first allowance was entirely spent on a book.

The other reasons being that I hate work clothes. And it's no fault of their own. Some work clothes are quite lovely, but it's just odd because they don't seem like they're me. I feel like an impractical person living in the shell of a practical one. I feel like I'm in costume 5 days of the week. That's why I kind of don't dress for work when possible.

I used to just let pants drag and fray, but you can't do that in the world of cubicles, spending reports and Serious Goddamn Business™. The "problem" is while I've always been highly impractical I've also been very responsible. That's why all my friends' parents love me (we all like to laugh over that one). I reek of responsibility. For example, I can't take off and do what I want to do because I'm worrying about paying off my student loans. I keep saying "I'll go out and see the world once I have this taken care of."

What do people who don't know me that well see? Kind of preppy clothes, graduated from a private university, with regular office job. Sure, there's worse things people can think about you, but come on, I'm a geek and (somewhat) reformed tomboy who took several years to grow out of ratty skater style and into a weird amalgam of punk/emo/goth who studied because books were the only things I felt comfortable around for the longest time if it wasn't the small community of expat friends I had, and went to a university I couldn't have even dreamed of attending if it wasn't for scholarships and huge student loan debts, only to graduate into a field you definitely don't go into with the thought of making money.

I even think that I just sound smarter than I really am. The title of this blog itself a pretty good joke at the expense of me.

So what do I want to do? I don't know. I used to think I'd write novels, but I realized early I'm not creative enough for that. Same thing with drawing. I can do it, but I'm not great at it. Collecting random skills I realized one thing I'm good at is doing random things. I want to go to Antarctica. This was actually a dream of mine since the 6th grade. A little while back I saw a postcard with an old black-and-white photo of penguins in Antarctica. I bought it and kind of keep it as a reminder. I also have this kind of corny goal to one day take an actual picture of some penguins while I'm down there to hang next to the postcard.

This Ireland trip is a start. I'm going to volunteer with the Cork Film Festival. I had to scrimp and save to do it, but it's definitely going to be worth it. I figure to do the most I can with my vacations. I'm trying to figure out if a kibbutz in Israel will have me for a week for my next vacation. After that, I'm wondering if Tibetan nuns will take me in.

Will I ever go back to Korea? That's the million dollar question right there. Part of me still wants to, but it's been about 3 years since the last time I was there and each time I've gone back the experience got "curioser and curioser" for lack of a better description. As cheesy as it sounds, I guess you really can't go home again, but it just becomes all kinds of awesome when you throw into the mix the phenomenon known as the "Third Culture Kid".

Tangent if you followed the TCK link and actually read up on it: As most of my friends know, The Weakerthans are my favorite band. Lyrically, musically, everything fell in together perfectly the first two years of college when I was particularly despondent and didn't know what to do with myself (and I feel like I'm in eternal debt to Justin for introducing me to them, and "Pamphleteer" is still my favorite song). When I bought "Left and Leaving," I spent an entire morning listening to the whole album 2-3 times over and flipping through the lyrics. It wasn't until the third time around that I started looking over other liner notes and found as a dedication lines from the poet Alden Nowlan: "For those who belong nowhere, and for those who belong to one place too much to belong anywhere else," and I swear I almost bawled like a baby. So yes, they are a great and talented group, but that dedication is also a pretty big reason why I'm at every show I can go to.

I recently realized that maybe I'm not homesick for Korea, maybe I'm just homesick for a certain time frame of Korea that I lived in. Whenever I say "Man, I wish I could go back," I really sit down and think about it and realize "Well, no I don't. I mean, if you can build me a time machine/teleporter, maybe we'll talk, but Korea now?" Who knows, that's the theory I'm sticking with for the moment.


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