If you lived in my neighborhood, you'd notice that I haven't been myself lately. I'm not doing anything stupid like contemplating suicide or watching soccer. I'm saving up to spend half of June traveling on a rockstar budget. If I was a wise man, I would've been planning for this 6 or 7 months ago. Because I'm not, I started saving at the beginning of March. This means that, right now I'm in the middle of my saving spree: far enough into it that the initial motivation has worn off and far enough from the end that thinking about the trip doesn't make things a whole lot better. Of course, I'll make it, if nothing else because somehow I always do. Here's a brief comparison of my life then and now.
Then: Screw cooking. I'd have hot dogs and chips at home once or twice a week, but most of the time I didn't feel like cooking. And forget about ramen noodles. Those were the perfect snack, but nothing more.
Now: I was eating ramen noodles so often for a while there that it was giving me strange chest pains. I converted to the ( slightly more expensive ) instant curry and home-cooked rice, with store-bought kimchi on the side, and the pains have stopped, but there are plenty of days when I don't eat meat.
Then: I had pizza from the cheap place at least two or three times a week.
Now: I'm happy to get pizza once a week.
Then: Throw spare change on the kitchen table and forget it exists.
Now: Scour corners of my apartment I haven't touched or cleaned since I moved in more than two years ago in the hopes of finding enough coins to buy a pack of tissue/toilet paper.
Then: My Friday nights started off with beer and soju at a Korean style barbecue joint with the guys, then moved on to our version of Cheers, Noblock. Since Korean bars are open until at least 6 in the morning, it was not uncommon to leave the bar sometime after the sunrise.
Now: I went over a month without hitting up Noblock. A few days ago I finally went back there when a not-quite-sober version of my buddy Martin announced boldly that we were going and he was buyin'. My drinking is usually confined to a few convenience store beers in my apartment once or twice during the week, a Mini Stop session on Friday, and a few after the hike on Saturday.
Then: If it's looking like I might late I can always take a taxi.
Now: If it's looking like I might be late I assume we're running on Korean time and everyone else will be at least 20 minutes late, regardless of whether or not any of the people I'm meeting know more than three words of Korean.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and it's going to get worse before it gets better. I still have to take a trip south to Busan to do job interviews and get everything lined up so I'm not unemployed when I get back to Korea in June. I'm getting reluctant to pay for text messages, but I haven't forgotten about the light at the end of the tunnel. I don't wanna spoil it for anyone I haven't told about it, but if half of I'm planning on doing on this trip goes through then people will talk for years about having known some guy who pulled it off.