Wife and I upped and moved to Busan.
As you can probably imagine, the last month or so –I honestly don’t know how long– has been pretty frantic. The move itself was, like all moves, difficult. There’s a great deal of packing, throwing things out, that sort of thing. Everything has been in upheaval.
I had to quit my job at the grocery store. I felt kind of bad about doing that. The stupid contract dispute is still ongoing and I had been pretty active in the union. (That whole thing probably deserves its own post — it’s own series of them. Being an unemployed student, I may even have the time to write them. But leaving in those circumstances felt a bit like abandoning ship. At the end of the day, all I could do was try to get some other people active and hope that they pick up the slack. I’m confident they will.
But still, it felt bad to leave things like that.
but also HOW THE FUCK DOES THIS GO ON FOR HALF YEAR WITHOUT A STRIKE?! Like, Jesus . . .
So about the move. My wife found work as a teacher in Busan and it just makes more money sense for us to do this. We’ve been planning this for about five years. The main reason that I returned to school was to acquire a BA so I can work here too. I gained my American citizenship is so I could leave America. (If any Americans don’t like that – just let me invoke my constitutional right as an American to tell you to go fuck yourself.) Sharing a citizenship with your spouse is pretty important. You don’t want some leaking bag of piss like Donald Fucking Trump or some inhuman monster like Canadian Immigration coming between you and the person you love. I’ve had that happen before. It’s no fun. It’s to be avoided, if possible.
Borders are garbage.
These days, people sort of have an instinct to think that, if you leave America, you must be running away from it. There might be some truth to that. America is probably a factor. But it’s not the primary reason for our departure. I just can’t stand the infinite and pointless cruelty of the place and I hated getting used to it – to its violence and its stupidity and its anger. All set to steady back-beat of guns and racism. I can’t help it. I just sort of basically dislike America. I think its values are basically trash.
Having said that, I really loved LA.
You probably have an image in your head of Los Angeles. I know I did. It’s an idea of white flakes blabbering on about astrology, dog psychics and yoga. Everyone wants to be in show business. You know the stereotypes. And, sure, there is some of that. But that’s not even close to the whole thing. That’s part of it but it’s not it. It’s hardly even the surface of it. Los Angeles is far more diverse, working class, and vibrant than what Hollywood or that person you know who failed as an actor/model/singer/DJ/ there would have you believe. That lie exists, that shit is real, but it just isn’t the LA I know and love. The LA I know and love is the one that switches between two or three languages in mid-conversation. It’s Teamsters and teachers showing up to support our union and my co-workers getting me two cakes and beautiful card on my last day. It’s a fist-fight in a parking lot that turns into another fight as the witnesses argue about who was to blame for the first fight. Well, I might not like that last part so much but it fucking amuses me.
That typical image of LA is just a lie. It’s not a lie of commission –that weird shit does exist– but it’s a lie of omission. Everything else, the vast majority of the whole teeming metropolis is written out of that story. The story is told by the wrong people about the wrong people in the wrong way. The sheer amount of editing that goes into creating that lie is absolutely mind-boggling. And I think people come to LA and some of them really do experience that lie. But that says a lot more about them, what they see, and who they associate with than it does about the city. That’s their problem, man . . .
Having said all that, you just have to accept that two of LA’s fundamental organizing principles are the car and the cult. You do that and you’re fine. Hail Satan, etc.
While I don’t plan on writing a travel guide, Busan already seems totally different. Incredible population density, small winding roads, pedestrian right of way, amazing public transit, and it’s not modeled on a prison. (No offense America, but you do feel like an open-air prison. Maybe lay off the obsession with crime and security for a fucking minute and treat people like people, workers like workers instead of criminals, and understand that not everything in life some sort of rip-off. There’s social tools other than locks and cops. There’s institutions other than the prison. Try finding some of those.)
Anyway, I’m fresh off the boat here and I’m already totally in love with Busan. After a lot of running around, I just got the internet. (Swear to God, two things I didn’t think that getting Internet and a kettle in South Korea would be a problem but, you know, curveballs.) I still have a lot to do to get settled in. But I’m very happy.
So, yeah, I’m gonna go so some of that settling in thing.