Friday, August 21, 2009


For the past work week, I've had a steady tension building, a bubbling froth in the pit of my stomach that sends my mind into a joyfully-wound knot. I'm a kid on Christmas Eve.

There's a saying among certain circles of society, memorialized in The Wire as such: "There are only two days you serve in prison: the day you go in, and the day you get out."

My bags are packed: one lies in a co-worker's apartment, awaiting my return to Seoul eight days hence, and another, half-empty, lies open next to my door. My passport, wallet, and ticket information sit, stacked neatly, on my desk. I've long since stripped my bed of its accoutrements, tucked away in the former piece of luggage, and I lie on the comforter provided, alongside the mattress, by my company.

Reflexive soul-searching will seize its own kairos; for now, I'm just chilling out.

I can't remember the last time I felt this roiling anticipation: probably last summer, preparing to leave for China. Of course, this time, there's an additional tool thrown into the machinery: the palpable, albeit slim, chance of China's vigilance in public health abruptly shutting down my hopes of a leisurely week.

And before that? The strongest association which I can provide is from my youth: the hour before arriving at a beloved summer camp, driving our way out of Delaware, stopping in Philadelphia for lunch, approaching on the winding Pennsylvania foothills. Me barbaric with a pent-up boil of preparation, banging on the ceiling of our old Volvo sedan, ecstatic. So.

In approximately 8.5 hours, I fly out to Beijing; God willing, I'll make it through customs with no hold-up and emerge on the other side of my 7 days off before returning to the States. I've heard that China has started blocking blogspot; if so, communication may be infrequent. So, for now

I lay me down to sleep

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