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Working in a public school means large classes, guaranteed recognition in Emart and two weeks holiday during the winter break.  Thus it was I skipped gleefully out of the empty schoolroom I’d been guarding since the beginning of January, to warmer Cambodian climates where I lived a sea bathing, computer-free existence.

However, I realised on the plane out that I have only a single entry visa in my passport, and the worry that I wouldn’t be allowed back in the country led me to sending slightly desperate emails to various Korean embassies.  Typically, the replies all said different things, leaving me just as uncertain about the state as affairs as before. 

On the plane home I muttered prayers to all the cat gods I know, and when I landed the good and clever immigration people looked at my ‘Alien Registration Card’ and quietly stamped me back into Busan.

Maybe this visa malarkey had something to do with my happiness to be back in the familiar strangeness of this land.  I left a tropical island and returned to grey February clouds, but still it feels good to be where the toilet seats are heated, the money almost makes sense, and peaceful people try to help you all the time.

To celebrate I climbed a mountain and watched the tops of crows as they circled around me. I went to a kite-making workshop at a temple and ran like a ten year old to make my kite fly in the windless afternoon air.  I was outrun by a grey-clad monk who shouted ‘I’ve got the best kite! My kite’s the best!’ and, sure enough, flew his kite higher than anyone’s.


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