yay.swon, originally uploaded by ekissam.

swon met me at the airport and got to take a tour of the school i will work at. we saw my apartment, i freshened up, and we headed out for lunch.


the airport was easy enough to get through. plenty of pictures and english to get me along- i really need to pick up korean though. not every other place will be as accommodating as the international airport. :)

customs was no problem, getting my luggage was easy, and as i walked into the area where people wait for you i was greeted by a man who seemed to know my face (i had to send a picture as part of the process). he’s the director of the school. but close by was swon!

i hadn’t given her all the flight info, since it would be really early monday morning, and i was already told the recruiter or someone from the school would meet me. i didn’t want her to go to the trouble.

well, she got the flight info from my mom. (mom and dad at work, even from afar)

she showed up with a breakfast for me. i introduced the school director and her, and we talked all the way to his car. swon met is at the school.

you wouldn’t believe the errand the school director and i made before we got to the school. we stopped at a department store to pick up some replacement fluorescent light bulbs. it was like almost nothing had changed. standing in a aisle staring at fluorescent bulbs choosing between different wattages and color temperatures.

we got to the school and i met a few of the teachers. swon and i got a quick tour. the school director then led me to my apartment. swon checked out my cable while i showered. the cable and internet was already set. nice.

swon had to get to an appointment, but we had a quick lunch before she dropped me off at the school.

i spent the rest of the day observing some of the classes. i was given an option to go home earlier, since i would be tired, but i stayed till about 5.

i picked up some food at a local market and walked about 15 minutes to the apartment.

i’ve eaten a bit. i fell asleep around 8- very tired, but woke up again around midnight. it will take time to shift my internal schedule. i hope i don’t completely sleep through tomorrow morning!

there are some things to get to make the apartment more cozy, but for now what’s here will do. pictures to come soon- i want to unpack and settle a little more first. . .

the teachers all seem really nice and welcoming. there was a new korean teacher today as well, and another couple of foreign teachers will arrive within the week, so there will be more people in the same boat as me.

i have a bunch of observing to do, and schedule to figure out, but in the meantime swon wants to come out during the week to make sure i get a phone and bank account set up. she also wants me to visit her in seoul- but that will have to wait for a weekend.

busy busy.

but right now i should sleep.


(quick aside) i know i promised pictures, and i definitely will take them. i have a small problem with feeling too touristy, so i don’t always take pictures when i’d like. . . but there will be some on the way.

do you know what sucks about travelling? the packing. i’m horrible at it. my friend sara just left for a month or two. . . or more in india. she brought one bag. a couple pairs of pants, a handful of shirts, other essentials. both my allowed bags weighed in barely below the limit. . . and that was after a fury of quick last minute edits at home. my carry on weighed about 25 pounds. the other things that sucks about traveling is tugging around heavy bags- but that’s my own fault.

i flew out of ottawa in the afternoon, headed to chicago. i lost a knife from my checked luggage. less lost and more confiscated by the cops. i just flew with it in my checked luggage three weeks ago. . . what’s different now? it’s sad, but it’s more important that i get where i’m headed. the thing that bothered me was the cops kept asking what i used it for. i don’t use it. i believe the idea is never to use it. it was a gift from bride (katy) to maid of honor (me). i explained that it was a gift/ memento and the cops kept saying that that isn’t a normal kind of gift. knives are a very normal gift among my friends. . . err. to their credit, when they saw that it’s loss upset me, the cops did try to send it to me like it was in lost and found. but i guess the law stepped in, it has to be destroyed.

most of the airports i get around in have a number of places to eat and shops inside the terminal. that isn’t so in the international terminal at o’hare. i hadn’t had dinner and planned on getting something inside the terminal. my protein bars came in handy. but then i got on the flight.

we were served dinner on the plane (at about 2 or 3 am my time- but trust me, i wasn’t complaining). i am completely impressed with asiana airlines. my dinner was good, and so cute. little containers for everything. a package of real cutlery which included salt, pepper, sugar, toothpick, napkin, and a handy wipe- and a hot wet towel before hand. i had the steak dinner, not the bimbimbap, but the bimbimbap smelled fantastic. dinner was a salad, steak with carrots, potatoes, and broccoli, dinner roll, side of smoked salmon, slice of cake, and a beverage of choice (but not tea or coffee- that is for after dinner.)

nearly every hour the flight attendants walked around with water and orange juice. the entertainment was kinda like jetblue. your own screen with shows, movies, music, video games. you could start, pause, rewind etc each of the movies you wanted. i watched three, the women (bad), max payne (ok), and eagle eye (surprisingly better than i thought). i played bookworm and bejeweled. it got better when i realized i didn’t have to use the remote because the screen was interactive. the remote was a special combo, phone/ entertainment remote/ video game controller/ credit card swipe (for email and phone calls.)

after dinner they turned off the cabin lights and i did get some sleep. when it was time to wake up we were given good morning call, and the lights in the cabin slowly dimmed up. there was a sandwich at some point, but i passed on it. i got up a few times, to stretch and break for the bathroom. the bathrooms had lotions and toothbrushes available.

breakfast was a choice of pancake or omelet. i opted omelet. so a spinach omelet with some broccoli and tomato. strawberry banana yogurt, crescent roll, sliced fruit, and beverage, with coffee and tea making the rounds.

so yeah. it was a 14 hour flight, but if you have to do it, this isn’t a bad way.


all in one place

for the first time in about 15 years, i and all of my belongings are in the same place.

i don’t mean to make too much of it, but it is an unusual occurrence, and it will only last for another two days.

the last two boxes that i sent myself from california arrived today. i started sorting them into the things that will stay in storage at my parents, and the very few things that i will bring along with me. (i should bring less.)

i need to put more effort into packing. procrastination is such an amazing thing, especially when you actively, consciously participating. compared to packing and cleaning, you would not believe how much more interesting this book i am reading is. the book will be there for me whenever. . . but i want to read it NOW.

ok, back to packing, or procrastinating. . . which ever comes first.


from -15 to 70 and back again

my mission was to empty my storage unit in southern california.

it’s been there since i left my job at calarts before the summer of 2007- lame, i know, trust me, i know.

i thought i’d be going back to my job, but then halfway through my summer i realized it just wouldn’t be good for me, or good for the students, so i quit. for some reason i didn’t go back to california after my summer in santa fe to get my stuff. . . i don’t remember what my rational was.

i have plans to leave the country, and i didn’t want this unfinished business looming over me. . . not to mention the monthly fees.

day 1-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
the morning i left it had been 15 below. . . it wasn’t nearly as cold as i drove out to burlington to catch a flight in the early afternoon. the drive goes through the islands to burlington is real pretty.

i guess i picked a good time since another snow storm was due to hit us later that evening. . . i just snuck out in time. and there’s nothing like walking outside into 50+ degree weather, especially when you’ve gotten used to thermal underwear and wool lined winter caps. shedding the layers was a treat.

picked up my rental, a zippy yaris, and drove to my hotel.

i only lived in the valencia area for 7 months. i didn’t expect to remember the roads or places of interest so i printed out and looked through maps like crazy. i did surprisingly well, even when i hadn’t google-mapped my destination.

my first night, while snacking in my room i wondered why my bed, then why my room was vibrating. . . then i realized with was residual from my plane flights- all in my head. i woke up bright and early (strange for me) at 6. well, it was 9 est.

day 2-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
i brought every set of master lock type keys i could find. . . but i had a feeling that none of them were going to work. i just figured there would be a way. wednesday morning, i got to my storage at 9 and none of my keys worked. some paperwork, lock cutting fees, phone calls and faxing to my brother (since he was the legal renter) ensued, and i was into my storage by around 11am.

btw, if you wanna know what it looks like to watch some guy cutting off your locks. . . here’s a shot from my phone.

i started sorting out garbage and picking out pieces that could go to goodwill first. i knew what i meant to keep. cds, the empty dvd cases (all my movies are in cd books), some books, and my comics. what i didn’t plan on was all the memorabilia type stuff. . . or things like my portfolio and school work. . .errr. . . . more sorting.

i made my first drop off to goodwill around 3. i remembered where it was! they don’t take hangers. . . i had a lot of hangers. i asked about mattresses. . . they don’t take them, but salvation army might. hmm. . . obstacles. and the trash bins outside the storage unit are locked. i’d have to pay to take my trash to a dump site, or be clever and indiscreet and find a hopper somewhere. . . discreet, with 26 bags of trash and possibly a mattress? not gonna happen. i took a lunch break after goodwill and started searching for ideas back in my hotel.

i had hoped to drop some things off with students, and some with goodwill. i thought i might be able to donate the books. i called a couple of places, one only accepted paperbacks, and the library wasn’t picking up the phone.

the quick truck rental and trip to goodwill sounded less and less likely. i did some quick google searches for trash sites and such online. . . and that’s when i saw a familiar name. 1.800.GOT.JUNK. all those hours of watching ‘clean house’ just paid off. :)

i checked out their site. it’s not a cheap thing. . . but it can take a lot of the worry and back break from a cleaning job. they recycle everything they can, and donate to charities whenever they can. they are big on bringing as little to a landfill as possible. i like this. (beyond all that, i just read that they were initially started up by a college student in canada. -i know my feelings are unfounded, but whenever something is canadian, i just expect it to be better. . . more trust worthy. . . or something.)

i made an appointment for the next day.

i continued to sort through my things for the rest of the afternoon. i started packing boxes that i would send back to myself. i had to be out by 7pm, or be locked in.

dinner from whole paycheck. . . err. . .whole foods. yummy sushi.

mind wired, body tired. constantly running through my head, like a mantra, ‘be productive, B-E- productive.’

day 3-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
the next morning was similar. back at the storage before 9. . . sorting. my appointment with 1.800.GOT.JUNK was for 12-2.

i did all the major sorting, and even the smaller/ picky sorting before they called. (i have a tendency to place important pieces of paper into books i’m reading, so i had to flip through all the books in the two tubs i planned to give away.)

anyway, their customer service was phenomenal. the guy i spoke to on the phone was very helpful and kind, and the two guys that came to move my stuff were congenial and worked quickly. i am impressed with the entire outfit. one of the guys that moved my stuff took the time to tell me how glad he was to see me using a reusable water bottle. again, they stressed that they would go through everything to separate out things that can be recycled or reused.

my only criticism. . . they don’t pack a truck they way i would. they started with my trash, which could all be thrown in much later. i would’ve started with the mattress and the table- big square things. . . stack the tubs and storage bins, place the electronics, then pack in the trash and my bike. it definitely wasn’t a roadie pack.

they left around 12:45. all gone, except for my boxes. i packed them into my car. some more faxing and phone calls to my brother, and i’m out of my storage.

celebration lunch? in-n-out. mmmmmm. . .

back to the hotel. for some reason i’m especially beat in the afternoon. wrote some cards to people who would receive boxes.

after a long lunch i walk out to my car to address all the boxes. drove to the post office. it took four trips with a hand cart from my car to the counter. just as i got in line, there was no one else. . . awesome, no one to piss off with a long wait. as i stepped to the counter. 7 or 8 people filtered in. i had 13 boxes to ship. it took a while, but i cracked a joke about single handedly helping the USPS through the recession.

everything gone, except for one extra bag that will travel with me. my portfolio would’ve needed a much larger box. . . i cushioned it and some other bits with a blanket my friend sarah made for me. (i didn’t keep the two pj bottoms she made me, but i really like the blanket and wasn’t ready to give it up. . . . yet.)

it felt so good to be done.

back to my room to relax before meeting up with a friend from calarts. . . and some more whole paycheck sushi.

michael and i met up and found a bar to hang out in. i was able to give him a few things from my storage. . . and since i remember that he liked them so much, i made him a batch of rice krispy treats and brought them from ny.

we did lots of chatting- michael and i actually met briefly in ohio, working for vincent in cleveland before calarts. for the first couple of weeks that i was at calarts we kept wondering why we looked familiar to each other. after talking through a complete techie genealogy we discovered that we worked together a couple of times in cleveland, and one of his closest friends from his undergrad was one of my apprentices at SFO.

we talked about a number of places that he hasn’t visited in the LA area yet. i had the advantage of knowing an LA native while i was there. i got to see a lot in my short time there. hopefully michael gets a chance to take in some sites before he graduates.

we bumped into a couple other calarts students. . . ones i actually knew. so much for keeping on the dl.

day 4-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
i can sleep in! or, it would be nice if i could sleep in. not only am i wide awake at 6, but there’s some sort of loud industrial work happening in the next lot for a full hour.

i did sleep for another hour between 9 and 10.

michael thought there was a chance that we could head down to the getty if he got out of a meeting early. . . but that didn’t happen. i had a lazy day walking around. i can always waste time in a borders. *must not buy more books!*

i wouldn’t get to Mon (exceptional sushi), or Chan Dara (exceptional thai). . . but i picked up some thai from in town. it was delicious. i wouldn’t get to the getty, or the observatory, or the arclight. but, that’s ok. it wasn’t supposed to be that kind of trip anyway. it was gorgeous out. warm and sunny.

michael and i met up for a movie in town. ‘taken’. . . from minute 5 on it was a heart pounding thrill. pretty fantastic. i reminded him over and over that he should go to the arclight to see coraline, and watchmen, it’s what i would do if i were there. :)

turns out he’s a big fan of westerns, and well. . . i’m a big fan of ‘easterns’- or samurai movies to be exact. we are now coaching each other through a list of what the other should see.

day 5-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(automaton day)
get up
clean car
check out from hotel
put gas in the car
drive to airport
check in rental
fly and sleep (i think the father from twin peaks, ray wise, is on my flight)
land in ny
wait (in a pretty great terminal actually- yay jetblue)
fly and sleep
land in burlington
drive 3.5 hours home
it’s 4am
sleep a lot
wait for stuff to arrive



storage.story.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

on the drive to the burlington airport.


storage.story.2, originally uploaded by ekissam.

flying out of burlington.


storage.story.3, originally uploaded by ekissam.

here's my task- clear it.
doesn't look terrible, but it was deeper than this picture can show.


storage.story.4, originally uploaded by ekissam.

who knew i had a purse? i used it once, for katy's wedding. never got the hang of purses. . . love the messenger bag though.


storage.story.5, originally uploaded by ekissam.

and look. . . a surprise hiding inside.


storage.story.6, originally uploaded by ekissam.

yep, even my 'decorations' were kinda geeky.


storage.story.7, originally uploaded by ekissam.

why do i still have this?! this and two used cell phones. . . it's about time i cleared through all this.


storage.story.8, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i own the dvd now, so i supposed i can let go of this dubbed copy my friends made me in virginia. they knew how much i loved the movie.


storage.story.9, originally uploaded by ekissam.

something fun from sarah. she taped it while she watched the dvd, and then decorated the label. nice huh?- eventually i bought the season.


storage.story.10, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i just thought this was real cute. someone else can have it now.


storage.story.11, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i got this from my college roommates. i asked for it specifically. . . do you know what it is?


storage.story.12, originally uploaded by ekissam.

it's log, it's log, it's big, it's heavy, it's wood.
it's log, it's log, it's better than bad, it's good.
everyone wants a log, you're gonna love the log.
log, from blammo.


storage.story.13, originally uploaded by ekissam.

needed to pick up an evening snack, and shot this for dan.


storage.story.14, originally uploaded by ekissam.

check it, a pair of pj pants, made by my friend featuring kitties doing yoga.


storage.story.16, originally uploaded by ekissam.

couldn't part with these just yet.


storage.story.17, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i'm not exactly keeping these, or getting rid of them. . . they are a surprise for someone, though if he reads this it won't be much of a surprise.


storage.story.18, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i kept this. it's from the infamous surprise- sushi battle- iron chef themed- birthday party, that my friends in kent threw for me.


storage.story.19, originally uploaded by ekissam.

look at him. he's pissed that i'm giving him up.
he's sitting there, laying on a thick guilt trip.
sorry dan, maybe i should've sent it to you.


storage.story.20, originally uploaded by ekissam.

my gag gift for my apprentice year at SFO was a pair of hand made hawaiian shorts, since i didn't participate in hawaiian shirt fridays.


storage.story.21, originally uploaded by ekissam.

these are my sushi pj shorts. sarah made them for me. cute design huh? i always thought it was neat that buffy had a pair of pj's made from the same material in a later episode.


storage.story.22, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i got this shirt for giving a good tip after getting my second tattoo. i never wore it, i like the design, just never been much for white shirts.


storage.story.23, originally uploaded by ekissam.

this is the last of the turandot lanterns. all the others were all thrown away. the props master let me keep one, and that one is gone now too.


storage.story.24, originally uploaded by ekissam.

swon helped me pick this out in a korean store in ohio, maybe she can help me fine a new one in korea. . . a better one. :)


storage.story.25, originally uploaded by ekissam.

we used to customize our mag lights by having more than one in different colors. all the parts are modular, so we swapped them out.


storage.story.26, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i found it's sister within a couple of hours.


storage.story.27, originally uploaded by ekissam.

look! still has it's blue gel in it.


storage.story.28, originally uploaded by ekissam.

what i kept. 7 large boxes of cd's, books, dvd's, comics, and memorabilia. the six small boxes are surprises for other people.


storage.story.29, originally uploaded by ekissam.

my heroes. they came, picked up all my junk, and left.


storage.story.30, originally uploaded by ekissam.

all cleaned out.


storage.story.31, originally uploaded by ekissam.

here's a hint of how i celebrated once my storage was empty and closed.