Monday, March 26, 2007

On a Jet Plane

March 19, 2007
(written on the 12-hour flight to Seoul)

Making a home, a beautiful, comfortable home, only to leave it soon after seems cruelly akin to snatching a newly-given gift from the hands of an exuberant child. Perhaps I am being melodramatic, but I do not exaggerate my up-down feelings of luck followed by loss. I had settled my feathers neatly into a lofty San Francisco nest, yet am now disturbed quite rudely into flapping my wings (ok, the airplane’s wings, and they don’t flap) across the Pacific to South Korea. I’d be squawking all the way, too, like a pissed-off Canadian goose, if it weren’t for my excellent sense of decorum and and respect for the authority of flight attendants.

The truth is, I suffer from Grass-is-Greener Syndrome, the kind that spawns wishes of that mythical cake that is to be both had and eaten, too. The lush, sunny grass of the Marina, flowing with the foot-traffic of joggers and Frisbee-ers, and with the Golden Gate rising behind it certainly seems green to me now, especially compared with the prospect of a frigidly cold Korea. Yet the prospect of staying put makes me claustrophobic, anxious that the world is out there living without me seeing it!

Andy and I have a fresh new studio on Fillmore Street, the vibrant hub of a neighborhood full of yuppies (Aaah! Could I be counted among their ranks?!) and the bars, cafes, gyms, and trendy shops that cater to them. Our rooftop view is a generous one - basically all of San Francisco's waterfront spendor, with a fog-topped Golden Gate, an ominous Alcatraz, and the Palace of Fine Arts' dome glowing like a yolk, sunny-side-up. After months of crashing on relatives' couches (for which we are eternally grateful), we relish the privacy, the space, the chance to make it uniquely ours.

I will settle in to life in Korea, the homesickness will subside as it always eventually does. I have come by now to realize the cycle of arrival and departure, and all the associated emotions that follow closely like hayfever clings to Spring. But now, at least, there is a closet where my left-behind clothes hang, a bed that's truly mine, a shelf full of my books, and my best friend awaiting my return.

Coming soon: Meg in Korea!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


Back in eclectic, earth-quaking California, I'm blessed with a month to bide my time before my next assignment as acrobat ambassador. This time it's Seoul, South Korea, which, after a recent unpleasant experience with kimchee, and the news that it will be below freezing there, is making me a bit nervous.

A break from work offers the chance to peek into a sphere of society that is uncharted territory for most of my peers, the majority of whom are slaving away in med school labs and investment banking offices as we speak. I've joined the ranks of senior citizens, stay-at-home moms, and dot-com millionnaires who need not follow the 9 to 5 quotidian life. While I somewhat resent the family and friends who ask incredulously, "What do you do all day?!" I find it rather easy to spend the hours drifting through town, sometimes as a 'productive citizen' and other times as a hopeless waste of space.

Andy's working at the Google headquarters in Mountain View now, product-managing their Google Checkout thingy and thoroughly enjoying the perks of their "campus" - free and excellent dining, a shuttle with WiFi, motorized scooters, massage, laundry service, etc. If it weren't for the fact that I am similarly pampered by Cirque, I'd be noticeably tinged green with envy.

So, while he googles around, I've scoured the penninsula for Iyengar yoga classes (the style I've recently delved into) that can give a boost to my own very amateur teaching. As I generally attend these sometime from morning to mid-afternoon, my fellow students are almost invariably a minimum of 35 years my senior, retired, and free to take on all the extracurriculars they wish. While at first my ego and I entered the classes with a disdain for their wrinkles and hip replacements, my fellow classmates were unassuming yogic warriors, and I learned soon enough how much I have to learn. Seventy-seven year old Betty, my Wednesday morning instructor, with her blue eyeshadow and bright pink tracksuit was adamant about the merits of lifelong yoga practice, rolling up her sleeve to show me her still-strong bicep... how could I argue with that?

Besides elderly yogis, the new mom demographic is a big one I encounter during the workday. A heads up: storytime at the Red Rock coffee shop is at 11am sharp, so if you plan to, say, read the newspaper while enjoying your caffeine, better bring some earplugs.

While I did love my time studying abroad in Scandanavia, imported Swedish furniture can't quite compare. I've been practically living at Ikea, charged with the task of outfitting our new apartment in San Francisco. The beautiful view of the Golden Gate Bridge, an idyllic SF neighborhood and gorgeous hardwood floors are exactly what Andy and I haved dreamed of, but after living in countless furnished corporate apartments, I had no clue how much goes into creating a living space from scratch. If nothing else, we've managed to pick out a mattress, a dresser, and two placemats for a non-existant table and yet-to-be-chosen dishes. I have a feeling that Martha Stewart would not advise basing one's interior design on the color of placemats, but I am not yet boring enough to shy away from the unorthodox, and am rather enjoying discovering my inner interior decorator (inner interior... that's deep).