Thursday, September 15, 2011


Korea knows how to do hills.
Life is a series of choices: violin or cello? Calvin College or Indiana University? Play soccer or don’t? (Sounds like a silly question, but at one time I seriously debated it. O tempora o mores)

An ever-present choice in my life is this: work-out or write? After so many years of choosing one or the other, I know to plan for this gridlock. So I set my alarm for six this morning, allowing me two hours before the stress of school: one hour for a workout/shower, one hour for writing. Smart thinking, Schnabel, I said to myself. Then I woke up at seven with only one spare hour, having incorrectly set my alarm (was it the am/pm?! the volume nob? Alas—the on/off button is my nemesis), and was forced to make a choice.

Similarly ever-present is this choice: social time or alone time? I recently read an article about modern-day writers being uninterested in reading. As someone who will always “love the book and the look of words, the weight of ideas…the tracks of new thinking in my mind,” many of the articles’ comments jibed with me. Most particularly, this statement rang true: Humanity is losing its ability to be alone with nothing but our thoughts.

Even someone like me who loves to read, tries to write, and occasionally spends long drives in complete silence—even I have trouble seeking out alone time. I may be an incurable introvert, but I also love getting out and doing—especially when I’m on the other side of the world. And aside from old ladies who cut me off in the left lane, I really do sort of like people.

The gaijin (gringos, oegug-in) going on a day trip.
As always, balance seems to be the key. That’s why sea legs are such a problem. For my first couple weeks in Korea, I had no balance—no land legs yet. My time management, while still decent, was topsy-turvy and dangerously interested in tipping over. But—may God not smite me for overconfidence—I think I’m getting there now.

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