Two years later I'm sitting in my apartment, having a conversation entirely in Chinese over Skype. Nothing complicated, but, man, it's pretty damn cool.
This morning I started listening to David Foster Wallace's The Pale King. With Wallace's complex structures, I'd rather read the book than listen to it, but it's hard to get books in English. I've been wandering around, plugged into my iPod, having to hit the button to go back to thirty seconds ago. You can't just walk safely down the sidewalk; you might be hit by a car. Plus, I run into more and more students and their I-can't-believe-you-exist-outside-of-school faces. The author's forward makes me want to take a week off work and just write and study. I wonder about free time. If I'm not at the school, I feel I ought to be writing or reading. What you don't think about before you go off and become an expat is the amount of downtime you'll have, the potential for boredom. I dismissed my friends' suggestions for taking DVDs to Korea, thinking it'd be a shame if I were inside watching movies instead of walking around, but when finally the culture or the language or the whatever becomes too much, it's exactly those things from home you want. Everything attached / in front of / near your head so you're not in your head.