In an earlier version of this blog post I wrote about my struggles to move my family from Anyang (suburban Seoul) to Nowon (northern Seoul), along with numerous boxes of stuff, while at the same time juggling two master’s programs. Was this a good idea?
I can’t say it was. I’d been working on a distance master’s for four years, taking courses at my own pace, and I decided to increase my course load so I could finally finish. I now have a communications degree to show for my efforts, but I have to ask myself if the effort was worth it.
The final trimester of my communications program overlapped with the first term of an offline, in-person MBA program here in Seoul. The business courses were difficult, and the mode of delivery didn’t suit me as well as online learning. The online courses were difficult too—often I felt forced to do the minimum because I’d run out of time. During the midterm break (in November 2012), I moved to Pandora’s old neighbourhood.
The neighbourhood is full of parks and green space—I found that out last summer during the postering campaign. It also seemed like a reasonable commute to school. I decided it was the right place for me, Bangsiri, Phoenix and Gemma.
Before the move I should have sorted through my things more carefully, cleaned more thoroughly, and thrown out more of the things I didn’t need. Realizing I’d run out of time, I hired movers to help me pack. That “help” consisted of throwing my things in big cardboard boxes and dumping the contents all over my new apartment—the pet toilets and the dirty toilet brush ended up right on top of the kitchen dishes. (The good news is that Bangsiri, Phoenix and Gemma didn’t get packed in cardboard boxes or strapped to the bed of the truck.)
Bags of discarded oatmeal and used cat litter made it to Nowon, but on Saturday evening Bangsiri’s medicine was nowhere in sight. Vet clinics would be closing soon. In a panic I called Bangsiri’s cardiologist, then walked around my new neighbourhood until I found a clinic to fill the prescription. The next day, the lost box turned up under the food processor.
I’d found the listing by chance on Craigslist, but my new home was right near the fountain where Pandora had supposedly been seen on the day she escaped.
“Last night I bought tangerines at the spot where Pandora was seen three weeks after her escape,” I wrote in November. “She’s been missing for almost six months, but I still look under balconies and bridges in the hope of seeing her.”
Well, I haven’t seen Pandora under a bridge or a balcony. I know there are at least three white Jindo dogs in my general vicinity: Jinsuni, Haengbokki and Poongja. I’ve seen them all on leashes, but I know Jinsuni was allowed to roam around without supervision last summer. The 2012 sightings could have been Jinsuni or another dog.
And once in the spring, I saw an unleashed white Jindo in the middle of the afternoon near a stream where many people go walking, jogging and bike riding at all hours of the day and night. There were many people on the path, but the dog wasn’t afraid. She didn’t look as if she were starving either. I watched her for a while, and I could see she was running unsupervised. I was too far away to approach the dog before she turned around and ran back along the stream in the direction of Jinsuni’s home.