Transition-another big day

Posted on June 21, 2017 at 8:12 PM Comments comments (85)
After a three-week search and pounding pavement, I signed the lease on a one-bedroom apartment last night. I am please with my catch, considering the bloated market in this area. I turned down some inferior places, held out for the best among the available and got a decent, properly managed and good-sized rental at a fair market price.

Started updating my address and planning the move right away. Van-check. Moving company-they're working on it. Internet and TV cable, with new large-screen TV-check. Banks, insurance company, taxation offices notified-check.

Housemate P was raging again this morning, pounding on my door heavily and repeatedly and calling me all sorts of nasty names. This time he made a verbal threat, so I called the police--second call to them and this time they responded, albeit late, well after he had left. The spoke to me, custodian, P's girlfriend at the house then to P over the phone. His version of the scene was different; big surprise. I did turn off the dryer when he started it running at 6:30 a.m., which pissed him off more after he couldn't find part of his blender. Gee, wonder where that item when. You see, as part of his strategy of maintaining rule over the upper floor by intimidation and nuisance behavior, he has gotten into the habit getting up to mess around the kitchen and do early quite often early in the morning, even though there is little actual need for him to make disturbances at those times. He has a whole day to do laundry and has been around during afternoons on days when he has started a washing so early. Also, he doesn't often go out in the mornings--so why wash dishes, clang pots and pans, run machines and all at an inappropriate hour? It is just to be first up and claim space against other members of the household. He is generally base and crude, prone to anger and frustration. Apparently, he is venting those feelings caused by employment problems on me. Actually, the first time I called police was after he behaved in such a mean way around the end of March. He later apologized, even shook my hand, admitted he had been way out of line and explained that he had been upset at losing a job. This time, he admitted to police that he had gotten out of hand because he was late for work. As I suspected, more work troubles have been brewing, making him angry again. As the next apartment is unoccupied, I am inquiring as to whether I'll have permission to move in a little early. Anyway, there is a complaint on the record now.

On a higher note, today I finished reviewing the quality of English of a manuscript, a whole novel, in fact! An important development in my business prospects. There was a second on the same day! An old political friend contacted me. After catching up and discussing the state of the world, she shared a business proposal. I am to view and give feedback on a proposed English language teaching software program. No immediate reward will spring out of that activity, but there is a possibility of paid work down the road, should the marketing surveying give positive results.

As a final note, I will add that I am over a sore throat. It started on Saturday, three days ago, and made me bed-ridden and without an appetite for two days. The throat problem lingered all day yesterday, but cleared up by this morning.

trainsition - more ghosts

Posted on May 29, 2017 at 3:31 PM Comments comments (5)
This past weekend, I saw more ghosts from episodes of my past in this life. It was emotional: both joyful and sad. These particular encounters happened in the course of attending political and cultural activities and relate to dramatic sagas of some phases of my life.

Attending a forum on political history and struggle in India, I came across more than a dozen familiar faces from my activism in the 1980s, which concluded in a very painful and exasperating way. These old comrades want to talk to me about what happened back then. I am already reflecting so as to prepare myself for that eventual conversation. Where do I stand? They changed affiliations and lay blame at certain groups and individuals with whom they engaged in a long, dragged-out knock-down fight for many years. I can perceive the lines of pain on their faces and hear the agony in their voices. As for me, I have come to terms and left it all behind me, resolved the pain that I experienced for many years. I lay blame on individuals and see the faults in the groups involved, but I am not sure I agree with what seems to be their ideo-political analysis of it. How much and for how long can political factions point fingers at each other and denounce one another for making mistakes? One has to have a big picture of the context and make efforts to improve organizing in the future. I want to work with them, so I hope they accept my interpretation and conclusions enough so that we may work together on causes and campaigns together. I am not going to convert to Maoism or align myself with any new parties, however.

Related to that period to which I referred in the above paragraph are close encounters with comrades from the opposing camp of those days. Yikes. I have no desire for conversations or alliances with them, though I appreciate the general political point of view. Anyway, it appears they still have very few followers whereas other camps are expanding these days. That means there will likely be very little need to cooperate and engage in dialogues with them.  Among the individuals involved, I have heard news that the key player is dying. He is certainly a clear culprit. I am not grieving his forthcoming demise. On the contrary.

During cultural occasions, I am coming across old friends and acquaintances. I can see more clearly now where I stand with them, which is to say what kind of relationship I have had. At a musical event last night, for instance, I talked to individuals I had not seen in many years. I had not thought much about some of them; I could not even recognize a few. Regarding one past friend who I dated a little and did some musical activities with, I realized even more clearly how we are unsuitable as friends. He is way too passive for me. I find myself just being polite with him. As for another, a woman in my musical and activist circles, there is always some edge to our conversations; that, I have not figured out. However, I understand how little she is interested in me, and though we exchange information and update each other on our life developments, again I am only being polite with her much of the time. As for the wife of one of my male friends, I have had only incidental contact over the years. She is a friend by virtue of my friendship with her man, a music leader whom I often see and speak to like a lot of our choir and cultural events participants; she know about me and probably gets news of me from her guy, but I think she doesn't care whether I make an effort to talk with her or not. I said I want to make some time to talk with her properly, as there is not much opportunity to speak fully with the variety of people at such occasions, but she just shrugged.

Transition - Weird Day

Posted on April 15, 2017 at 10:41 PM Comments comments (153)
Weird day--it felt like I had acute PMS, though that is not possible, and I went on a bizarre goose chase that eventually wound up on level ground. The roots of this twisted outing today, on a Saturday, go back to Thursday when the goose chase actually started, and when I again felt nervous about a housemate and did not sleep well on Friday night. 

I obeyed a directive by telephone interview on Wednesday to go to the Coquitlam Electoral District Office in seek of employment  as provincial elections staff. As recruiters were working with an outdated application bearing a Coquitlam address, I had been called to go to Coquitlam, but the Coquitlam people had worried that I would find the commute difficult (although I told them I was used to commuting to Coquitlam and that I knew I could make it there easily and on time) and instructed me apply in Vancouver. (If I hadn't spoken up to mention that I now had a Vancouver address, I guess things would have gone smoothly and I'd have a great elections job in Coquitlam by now.) The Coquitlam people didn't know where to send me, and had trouble using a computer to find out, so I made a guess and planned to go to the Fraserview Office on Saturday after the Good Friday holiday.

I've long had an idea of working for Elections BC, and had submitted an application for an officer position back in January, and that submission triggered a call in response in February informing me that the hiring would be done in April. This was puzzling and no explanation of the process was given me back then, although I have since learned they term these early applications, "intentions to apply." Oh, boy. Ever since the call in February, I'd been waiting for a call to invite me to go to an interview and it came last Wednesday. That person should not have sent me to Coquitlam as she learned when she talked to me that I had a new residential address, though.

While at the Coquitlam office, I phoned the Fraserview office to check as to whether I should and could go there on a Saturday and see about making an appointment for an interview. Someone told me drop by any time. I set out today, decked out for an interview and intending to get there well before noon.

I had a terrible sleep on Friday night. That was due to the disturbing presence of that strange housemate who sometimes bursts into a rage and directs anger towards me. I have felt seriously afraid at times. I sensed something on Friday , even though things appeared calm and had been peaceful the day before. I was getting drowsy enough to retire for the night when, sure enough, the guy began  clanging pots and pans and burning pork on the stove as a load of washing sent vibrations up through my room. I tensed up. I barely slept. I consequently felt yucky this morning.

I was ignorant that it was Vaisahki Day in the Sikh community, who would be out in large numbers celebrating in the streets of South Vancouver. I walked a few blocks to the Main Street bus, thinking that the trip would be straight forward. I waited and waited. One full bus went by without stopping. I waited some more. What was up? Finally, a bus stopped but would only go part way. A fellow passenger enlightened me on the festival, though everybody else around me was talking about a "farmers' market" and the bus driver offered no explanation. I decided to take the bus as far as possible on this route and walk the rest of the way, checking out the festivities along the way. 

The way was nearly 30 blocks long. I cut over to a side street, but could not resist going back to Main Street to see what was going on. (I had to double back to retrieve gloves I kept dropping en route, however.) Many men were proffering slices of pizza at street corners, and I eventually took a couple. Others were campaigning on issues. An anti-racist group was giving out helpful leaflets about the racial and religious divisions and state offences in India. Another was campaigning against fortune tellers and practitioners of witchcraft. I talked with them for awhile. Interesting. I took a photo of an awning bearing the name of the festival in nice gold print on bright red cloth, under which stern old men observed me. I moved quickly on. A parade was starting up the street's steep grade. There were paramilitary forces: Punjabi officers of the city police with their non-Sikh co-workers all sporting head-scarves. Cool. Then a Sikh biker group followed with their mighty machines painted bright yellow. I took a few photos.

I kept walking and finally came across the sought-after electoral office way down near the Fraser River estuary in a warehouse area. How inviting! How convenient!

There was a very competent manager there. After reception staff told me no interviews were being held, finally this manager came forward but only to tell me to go away. She thought I was at the wrong office. I explained my situation, and that elections BC staff had been sending me hither and yon, and that I had just walked about 25 city blocks to get there. The manager told me that such a phone call could not possibly have taken place, yet I assured her it had. "Who did you talk to?" she wondered. "Did you check the phone number? You must have called the wrong place." I assured her I had asked for confirmation that I had called the right place and received confirmation. The nice lady conceded and interviewed me. However, she said almost all the positions for which she was responsible were filled. She was the one who also informed me that I had evidently given "an expression of interest" in applying and not actually applied when I had replied to the JOB AD back in January. Anyway...she looked up the address of the appropriate electoral office and told me to go apply there too. 

Off I went, feeling even more agitated. I had to loop around the expansive festival area by transit. I went westward to the metro train station (Skytrain which goes underground a fair ways) and connect to an eastbound bus. As I was approaching the bus stop outside the metro station, a representative of Jesus Christ greeted me and asked me how my day was going. I told him I was flustered because of appointment mix-ups and transit issues. He offered to pray for me, and I accepted, though I resisted making an appointment to discuss the Mormon Bible with him at a later date. This bus was late and I was scolded for cutting the queue by entering the bus through the back door. "It is not safe to enter by the rear door of a 40-foot bus," the driver told us. 

Upon entering the Kensington Electoral District Office on Fraser Street--residents don't use that name, so how was I to know it?--I noticed a very distinctly mysterious and cool atmosphere of a doctor's office. A serene receptionist was busy calling people to invite them to interviews. I quickly filled out another application, adding notes about my situation, and passed it to her. "Fine, " she said. When I asked about the stage of their interview process and how soon they might call me, a got a subtly haughty response that "the recruiter would decide." "Do you think she might make calls on Monday," I queried. The receptionist wryly shrugged a shoulder and replied, "Maybe."

The task of the day finally completed, I wandered up the street in the direction of my place, contemplating taking refuge somewhere in the vicinity. I suddenly remembered that I needed to return DVDs to the Vancouver Library before I got fined for overdue materials. I asked someone who confirmed there was a library in the area. An attentive staff person duly noted my warning that a DVD I had tried had nearly destroyed my new laptop because it was damaged.

After taking care of the DVD returns and taking out more movies and books, I realized I was quite hungry. It was 1:30, and I had finished breakfast at 10:00 and left the house at 10:30. The pizza had not been sufficient. Of course, most Indian restaurants were closed, except for a Halal restaurant. The latter  broadcast a decent lunch special by means of a sandwich board. I went in and enjoyed a full tray, feeling too full to eat the naan, which I had packed up to take home. 

Feeling somewhat relieved, I figured I had better shop for more groceries. I accomplished that secondary task at a local discount mart, then headed for a bus stop. The normal transit route still blocked off, I headed for one some 6 more blocks away. En route, who should I encounter but some former associates of a Filipino activist center where I used to work on human rights issues. Hand-shaking and hugs amid the little huddle in front of an NDP candidate's office, whom I also know. More hand shaking and exchanging of regards. I promised to pay a visit another day.

At the bus stop was another long queue. I passed the time by chatting to a friendly passenger, giving him an account of my weird day so far. After I told him where it had ended up prior to my arriving at the bus stop, he said, "So it wasn't so weird after all." Yeah, that's right. He was very positive, talking about the free food he had enjoyed at the festival. The bus came after another substantial wait. This driver let some of us enter by the back door.

I got home and unloaded my bags to make a good cup of tea. I sat in the living room munching on a little chocolate and sipping tea. I was tired. Still some tasks nagged me, so I went to the computer. I allowed myself to check messages and issue a few responses. It so happens that more friends are touching base and sending out invitations: this time, they are the dragon boating lot. The job hunt may not be going so well (nothing out of the ordinary about that, in Vancouver life!) but my social life is regaining its former luster. I sent out a quick application nevertheless,

Transition - Breathing spell

Posted on April 6, 2017 at 12:45 PM Comments comments (113)
After around 10 days of extreme tension here in the house, I felt totally peaceful and content yesterday. There was some relief from a situation with a housemate. However, the atmosphere is a little nervous again this morning.

To recap my situation, I am in temporary digs renting a room in a shared household as I make the transition from life back in Korea to a renewed life here in Vancouver, Canada. It took a lot of searching and inquiries to find some suitable short term accommodations; I signed a rental agreement for this place offered by a landlord's representative without meeting all the housemates. There is a basement suite inhabited by a 4-person family, and three bedroom suite upstairs for renters. My upstairs housemates were two working class, 20-something guys--newcomers to this city, as well, until one guy got a live-in girlfriend all of a sudden. Now we are four living upstairs.

On a few occasions, one of the guys expressed discontent at having me present in the house with him because of gender and age. He is a mid-20s labourer, and probably a frustrated young man. I say that because he has often appeared angry, the reason why I do not interact with him much. He has been friendly and polite, mainly, offering to share stuff and such, but he has moments, such as when a subject related to housekeeping is broached. He is a poor housekeeper, particularly in that he leaves dirty dishes and food waste behind. I often face a putrefying mess in the kitchen in the morning and spot a trail of grease and crumbs into the living where this guy usually eats his meals. Last week, the tension mounted and incidents of rage burst forth. ONe morning, when I smelled something buring in the kitchen, I went to investigate. I was stirring his porridge when he exploded into the room telling me not to touch his stuff. I retreated to my room quickly. Then he went around slamming doors and uttering the word, "cu.." several times. 

I was able to avoid him for the following week because I was busy setting up my business and had errands, classes and appointments. I felt stressed all week. I stayed in my room as much as possible when I was at home. Then came the day to pay the rent, Saturday the first of April. I was awaiting the receipt and talking to the house caretaker when this unknown girl walked in, passed us and entered that guy's (P's) room. The caretaker (C) thought it must have been my friend, but I soon told him she was a stranger to me. C led the way up to check out the situation. He and I asked her some questions. Later that night, P arrived home and immediately pounded on my door and swore at me with the B-word. My door was locked but the lock is feeble and I was afraid. I called C, who called P rather than confronting him in person as C is a small elderly man who also feared P's behaviour. P approached me in the living room the next morning, at first sounding friendly but insulting me and employing more foul language. He said he worked really hard and was too tired every day to do dishes, etc. I was so upset, I called to speak to the police non-emergency staff, and texted C some more. 

The following day, P seemed much cooler. He apologized a couple of times and offered his hand, saying he wanted to start over. He informed me that he had a girlfriend-roommate who had officially moved in. The next day he apologized even more sincerely, explaining that he was in conflict with his employer and therefore late in paying his rent. I tried to sound understanding and supportive, saying that it seemed that the employer was being unfair, and that labour is under-valued despite the important work done for society. P said he had new prospects for employment. Though P has told me that he goes to work every morning now, and I see him leaving with his girlfriend most mornings around 7, he soon returns by around 9:00 a.m. I suspect that he is going down the street to the day-labour office, trying to pick up work every day, which, apparently, he does sometimes as he stays out all day sometimes, and talked about digging at a construction site one time. This morning, he told me his old boss paid everything owing except his tips, and I responded with empathy and suggested he look up the rules and see if he can get his due from that old employer. (It sounds like he may have been released illegally without due notice and just cause.) First, P misinterpreted my response. He said, "What?!" I had to repeat and clarify myself twice. He explained he thought I had said something negative. Is he back in a dark frame of mind, misdirecting anger towards me, construing people around him most negatively? I woke up feeling good but now I am wary and a little on edge again.

Transition-Day against Racism

Posted on March 26, 2017 at 9:13 PM Comments comments (10)
The International Day against Racism is a positive thing. I attended an action to honour this important day and made to responses against bigotry.

At the rally of those united against racism that brought together a diverse collection of participants around the same cause, a few neo-nazis turned up to provoke and interfere. In the false name of "democracy", they claimed that the protesters were segregating them and not allowing their voices in. A couple of them got clobbered as they kept making provocative challenges and tried to approach the stage. The police broke up the brawl and handcuffed three such characters. They were released in short order after a lecture and continued agitate, but were met by defenders of social justice. They tried to say we were not being democratic by not allowing their voice, but they were disrupting rather than showing unity. If they thought there was supposed to be debate at the rally, not so. 

I engaged a little in blocking big provocateurs from trying to get to the speakers and spreading their disgusting role-play of victims being attacked who were excluding them. I let the bigger and younger opponents of racism do the heavy work. I responded to one 6' something young white guy who complained to me that we were hassling him and his friends who just came to observe. I said, "We came here to unite for a cause. You came here to provoke. If you want to observe, then observe. Observe respectfully, shut up and mind your manners."

I left the rally early because I had arranged to meet a guy through the online dating service. We were supposed to meet at a nearby cafe. I am leary about candidates who list themselves as Christian, for it can be an ideological sign. He showed up and on time. Right away, though, I could see that he seemed agitated. He complained about the traffic and parking. He kept complaining about this group and the government and worked his way up to attacking refugees and welfare recipients. No need to repeat the trash talk here. I just said, "Okay. Saiyanara," and walked out. I don't stand for that kind of talk and I do not waste time with very negative people.

I sent him a note through the dating service messaging to say that the main reason I left was his deep negativity. I told him I consider that he is likely a deeply unhappy person who needs to work on getting happier. I also defended my position on racist talk.

Transition-Online dating

Posted on March 18, 2017 at 4:06 PM Comments comments (7)
I haven't used online dating until last month. I've been on a 50+ service for over three weeks and on one date as a result. The date went well. I can say that, despite my previous reservations about online dating and dating in general, online dating is very practical and workable.

I have never been keen on dating before, as I don't like the role-play and assumptions that it carries. I have felt that there are certain procedures set by society and tradition, and I don't always feel comfortable. I have favoured meeting someone through common activities and mutual friends, then getting together by either receiving an invitation from some such person or making an invitation to someone myself. As soon as one asks the other out, however, the confusion about the roles, expectations, etiquette, and procedures comes up. I have rarely felt myself. 

In dating earlier in my life, the procedures are cloudy. It varies from one person to another, or one couple to another. When is one "supposed to" have sex for the first time? This is one example. Guys of average incomes and social status have often seemed to think that they are owed their dues after taking out a woman and paying on around three occasions. Furthermore, I can see that paying for the woman is difficult and perhaps resented. To offset that expectation, and ensure further opportunities to go out together, I sometimes offer to pay, trying to have some control and maintain equality in the relationship, but doing so can alter the expectations on the part of the guy so that he may think the woman is bold and free-thinking, interpreting the situation as a casual relationship where sex is part of the game. I don't like the game aspect of this. Not a few comedy sketches, shows and movies have been built on the confusion over procedures and expectations, and the game angle. Isn't that right?

Another problem is caving into my urges. I will be bold and approach a guy when I am feeling either bored and wanting to go out and flirt, or my sexual frustration or lust is rising. Both kinds of desire can take over, but it is the physical need that gets me into trouble, leading me into foolish liaisons. No shortage of sketches, shows and movies on that aspect, either. I have really wasted my time, and my worthy refined manners, good body, open heart and empathy this way.

Probably the greatest problem in the mix is uncertainty about my identity and goals. Nowadays I am much surer about them. I think that is the main reason while a feel much more relaxed and in control about the prospect of dating, 

Further to that, online dating is a method that makes the whole business clearer and more practical. You must decide who you are and what you want when you sign up and create a dating profile. Then you can look over the profiles of prospects and sort them out. You can make tentative communication, as for more information and just have fun flirting and chatting in the meantime. Online dating gives the participant more control and turns the selection of prospective mates into a clear decision-making process.

I suppose age has something to do with it, too. I am not as burdened with physical desire as I used to be. I have learned, though, that it can heat up and burn pretty fiercely once I allow it and start to get closer to a man. The thing is, even though lusty feelings and romantic dreams can still creep in, I can allow it. I can remain in command of my mind and body. I am not at the mercy of the man's insistence or established role-play that generate falseness. I am not subject to so much uncertainty, either. 

When I answered a couple of requests to meet online candidates in person recently, I was very selective and knew exactly why--okay, with the information given and my gut instincts, as well--I consented. Anyway, I met M with the mutual understanding that going out would be in the interest of getting out and in the mode of "light friendship." I could comprehend his situation in life, a point of big transition, and his view of going out. Having the common circumstances of transition, age, geographical setting, education and preferred forms of entertainment and food, it could not go wrong. A good opportunity to make it an interesting outing came up, when a relative invited me to a couple of events that would be suitable to bring a companion one evening. It worked out and we had good conversation and a friendly and healthy fun time. It finished up with a hug and a loose idea of getting together another time. I hope to keep M as a friend.

I have been in touch with another candidate on this online dating site and he is more of a romantic contender. His pictures are attractive and the tone is more flirtatious. I agreed to go out, but only for a simply outing on a weekend afternoon. The fact that he, like M, postponed the first date because of the priorities of his work and personal life has kept the excitement in check, my mind and heart sober, and kept my expectations measured. The big day is tomorrow.

One doubt I have is my readiness to date. In terms of my living space and personal affects, there is a lot to be desired. I need to find a proper apartment and shop for more appropriate clothes. All the more reason for me to go slow and keep to friendships with a few platonic meetings for now.

Eye of the Optimist-A rich life

Posted on February 25, 2017 at 10:58 PM Comments comments (2)
I feel so fortunate these days. I feel fortunate that I was able to put aside some funds, and make a life transition by moving back to Vancouver for a fresh start. I feel very fortunate to be from Vancouver and have a base here. 

It has been easy to ease back into life in Vancouver, though on a new footing. I feel fortunate to be able to build on my history here together with my experiences abroad and make a fresh start. It is fun to create a new beginning, fun to have some fun money to enjoy this marvelous city and wonderful to be in a healthy and strong situation from which to do it. I am familiar with the area and am readily adjusting to physical and social changes that have occurred since I lived here in 2007.

I really appreciate what Vancouver has to offer. Today it has a great atmosphere. It has progressed culturally and socially. The city has been able to enhance the living experience further and further. There is space and opportunity for nature, recreation, exchange, rest, thought and work. Community services are growing and it is a culinary paradise, with cuisines from all over the world. There are a lot of cultural events.Overall, people are socially conscientious, kind and friendly. I feel comfortable, even going out alone; yet it is easy to make friends here.

In addition, I am well positioned to take advantage of what the city has to offer and move my life forward. I am back on the grid, having renewed my driver's license and requested a provincial resident's card. Because of that, I was able to get a library card. Luckily, there is a fantastic new recreational centre with a big pool, rink, library branch, fitness center and cafe at reasonable pruces not far from my place where I bought a pass. 

Futhermore, I am making more steps to develop my own business. I spent time in the library reading about women and finances. I also posted my business card there. I have continued to introduce myself and my services around the district and put in business ads in local ethnic papers in three langages and in free English language websites. Moreover, I bought a decent laptop and it is all set up. It will be better for work and it is already proving to be a rich source of entertainment. I picked up DVD's and music CD's at the library. I feel confident that something will come out of these efforts.

Socially, I am making advances, too. I joined an online dating service for my age bracket and have been getting responses. It is fun to pour over possible matches and communicate a little. One guy in Metro Vancouver already asked me out. With this in mind, I ordered a new outfit online, and got a good deal for it.

Life is good in my universe, wherever the world is headed. Hopefully, I am helping to make positive influences around me, at least. 

Transition 2017-First entry

Posted on December 31, 2016 at 10:24 PM Comments comments (1)
Introducing the theme of this year's blogging: transition. It designates my personal and career transition put in motion last year and set into full gear as of today, the first day of 2017. I am maintaining my positive thinking perspective, and I intend to occasionally speak in the voice of the Eye of the Optimist, but I am moving forward in line with what is happening in my life and the evolution of my writings on positive thinking over the past 3 years. 

I am not abandoning my positive thinking perspective, but I am switching themes. The "Eye of the Optimist" thread conveyed a focus on positive thinking outlook, methods, examples and and resources, expanding on my project, "A Year of Thinking Positively." I have been working on the positive thinking angle for three years. I now want to switch to a theme of transition. It befits my present circumstances of making a transition from a life of teaching in Korea to a life doing some other work in Canada.

The topic of transition certainly is related to positive thinking and the reasoning and purposes of developing a positive thinking out look. For one thing, a transition could be regarded as a negative development, regarded only with grief, fear and pessimism. By taking control and deciding and planning the transition, however, it can be viewed optimistically and with some positive emotion, even though grief, fear and doubts are bound to surface through the process.

I have reached a point of specific transition regarding occupation, location and cultural-ecological environment. I have resigned my job teaching English at a Korean university, am in the midst of packing up my life in Korea, and about to return to my hometown for a new life. 

With this Transition blog, I want to log my course as I go on, and chart the next phase in my future. I am resettling in Canada and attempting a late life career shift. I will make new stabs at writing projects and networking, while I build a new home and construct a specific retirement plan. I'll discuss the process of transition, and issues and reflections as they arise, for the benefit of readers.

To begin this discussion, let us look at the definition of life transition by referring to a popular online dictionary, dictionary.com. It simply states: "movement, passage, or change from one position,state, stage, subject, concept, etc., to another;change: ( e.g., the transition from adolescence to adulthood)".

A life transition usually involves more than one transition. As one facet of life changes, consequently so do others. For instance, moving to a new home of entails a geographic adjustment to an unfamiliar surrounding with unfamiliar faces; it can mean, moreover, change of employment, friends and co-workers, culture, services, routines, diet, climate, shopping, and more. As another example, when a figure in one's life passes, the absence of that relationship can affect other relationships, habits, routines, and activities. Furthermore, more than one type of change can occur together. Psychology Today's website gives the example of a woman breaking up with her boyfriend who is awarded a job promotion. Such a big change takes a big toll on one's emotions and mindset. 

I, for one, have been experiencing waves of strong and conflicting emotions as the dates of my resignation, final day of duties, and departure from Korea have been approaching. Since I have good reasons for making the change in my life, I have positive feelings about moving on, but those positive feelings about another place and the future can give rise to a negative view of the past and location of the life I am leaving. I thus have felt waves of frustration, resentment and anger with my employer and place of residence as I become more conscious of the benefits of me moving to Canada and trying something different to do in life. At the same time, doubts and fears about the future have crept in to my soul, despite my rational thinking. Meanwhile, wistful and nostalgic feelings about my past in Korea emerge here and there. I am struck by deep sadness each time I take a step to change my life, like giving away personal items I won't take to Canada, ending classes this past semester, talking to the friends I'll leave behind, and finding a new home for my pets. A taut thread of anxiety underlines all such activities, and my stomach is affected by nerves, interrupted by periodic waves of euphoria at taking the leap. As I reach each point in success at rebooting my life, like finding job ads worth replying to and securing some housing in Canada, I feel relief and glee, which are emotions broken by bouts of grief and reluctance. I am riding tumultuous waves of change that take me up and down, again and again. 

One must adjust. It is natural to feel nervousness, fear, doubt and anger at change, especially when it is unexpected, such as a dismissal from employment, a death or an accident. Unfortunately, it may be that some people never completely adjust. To adjust acceptance is necessary, and a positive view of the benefits of the change must be understood for one to eventually feel good about the change and content. Sometimes, change is so profound and the process of change so enveloping and complex, that one could get ill. It is good to get some professional assistance and find someone qualified and equipped to talk to so as to avoid or alleviate the pain and discomfort of change.

It is best to give the process time and expect to experience this roller-coaster of emotions. Aware, one can appreciate the particular emotions as a response to change, and understand where they are coming from. Big emotions cannot be snuffed out quickly and it is best not to sweep them under the rug, while one should not let them take you over. Planning goals to adjust and create a new way in life helps to give balance, and provide reason for optimism. Being conscious and taking control of the change can prevent one from losing sense of direction and ending up in defeat or with a sense of defeat. A change can be good, and it can be ripe with new possibilities to advance yourself or improve your life.

Here is some advice from the Psychology Today website about handling life transitions. 

Keys to Handling Life's Transitions
Within the angst lie opportunities for change.

Posted Jul 31, 2013 (www.psychologytoday.com)

Ready or not, we all go through numerous transitions in our lives – living high school to go to college or work, changing jobs, getting married, having children. These become those weeks or months or longer of awkward emotional spaces where we have cut ties with what we know and have not quite settled into what is new. Some, like Sara’s, are by choice, by opportunity; others come from natural ends – the graduating from college – and still others are unwillingly imposed on us – sudden layoff from a job, unwanted and uninitiated breakups in relationships. Whatever the circumstances, navigating this gray zone of transitions can be difficult, presenting us with new problems and demanding us to respond in new ways. 

Here are some tips for surviving and thriving through these difficult and uncertain times: 

Expect to feel depressed and anxious. Even though Sara’s relationship with her boyfriend ended relatively well, a loss is still a loss, a major change in her life. Even though her job is a promotion, she is still going to leave behind both colleagues that she has grown close to and a job that has become comfortable and familiar. Whenever we move forward we leave something behind, and this creates a psychological state of grief, however small. And if the change is unexpected and unwanted– the sudden job layoff or relationship breakup – the shock and depression are greater. And with such turmoil comes anxiety. We are out of our comfort zone; our imaginations run wild; we worry about an unknown future.

Realize that this is a new / old chapter in your life. While you need to acknowledge your loss, you don’t want to get stuck in the past. Acknowledging that a door is closed is psychologically healthy; spending your time staring at it is not. 

While it sounds like a cliché, the next step after an end is a new beginning, a new chapter, and keeping this in mind can give you a sense of a fresh start. And while the particular circumstances are new, the process itself is familiar. You have, after all, made transitions before – changing schools, neighborhoods, relationships, jobs. You know the terrain, you’ve acquired experience and skills along the way. You can do this again, and this time even better. 

Think positive, think opportunity.

In the movie Up In the Air George Clooney played a character whose job is to fire people for companies that were downsizing. He always began his termination speech with “ I’m here to talk to you about new opportunities.” Is it a bit of spin, a bit forced – sure – but it is also true. 

I remember going through a period many years ago where I had moved to a new town with my wife and 2 children and was unable to find a job. Though I was initially depressed (loss and grief), I eventually used my time to begin to write. By the time I finally landed a job, a year and a half later, my writing, even if somewhat fragile, was under way, and my outlook on work and family life had changed. Looking back on that time now, I realize that if I had quickly found a job I would have gone on auto-pilot, marched ahead into the same workaholic work I had before, and probably never had the time to develop this other aspect of me nor made my family as much of a priority. Though it was certainly a difficult time, it ultimately was a pivotal one, reshaping the direction of my future and the next 30 years. 

During times of transition, when everything seems to be in flux, when your old patterns have collapsed, you may feel unsteady but are also most malleable to change. Now is the time to explore, brainstorm, consider the make-over before your life begins to naturally solidify into new patterns. Sara now has the unique opportunity to begin her new life in a new way. Starting new relationships from scratch, she has the opportunity to experiment with being more bold, more assertive, more honest than she may have been before. This is the time to think outside the box. 

Hit the ground running. And don’t take too long to get started. We are creatures of habit and routine, and those routines can congeal quickly. If Sara lets her anxiety take over once she moves, she may easily find herself in 6 months coming home from work, eating a frozen dinner and watching TV night after night. The momentum is lost and it will feel harder to break out. As soon as those boxes are unpacked, or before, she needs to have a plan and get moving on it.

Get support. It’s tough to do this all on your own. Sara will probably be calling her old friends at the old job for a few months until she develops new ones; she will need to be leaning on her supervisor as she tackles the learning curve of the new assignment. Others will need to rely on family for moral support, still others on counselors. When you are feeling a bit ungrounded, support from others can help you keep perspective and moving ahead.

Have a realistic timeframes and expectations. There are going to be difficult days when Sara is going to think that she never should have taken the new job or even broken up with her boyfriend, all natural reflections of her up-and-down state of mind. She needs to be patient, realize that it may take her a year to feel confident in her job, months to begin to make new friends. Anything less and she is only adding pressure and stress.

Transitions are those unique times when we toss off the old but have not yet stepped into the new. While the circumstances are always different, the skills and attitudes needed to successfully move ahead are always the same, namely being positive, patient, and proactive. 

A new journey awaits.

Eye of the Optimist-2016 for me

Posted on December 30, 2016 at 10:26 PM Comments comments (1)

This website:  It drew over 1,600 views yesterday, on December 30, 2016. The total number of views of the site reached about 145,000. Most of that viewership arose out of the publishing of my blog, which started near the start of 2014. Prior to the blog-writing, the site had only attracted around 1,500, to the best of my recollection. My blog may not be well known, but starting it certainly was helpful in earning attention to my website. Some of the viewership has been stimulated by my job searches, I am sure.

Technology:  webcam usage; building of my commercial service sales pages;  used Zip files

Health:  made it to 60 years of age; passed the age of my mother at the time of her death in November; continued general exercise; no flu; resolved ankle and shoulder inflammation; my general physical exam results were rated A

Work:  completed and e-published my fourth novel, a third book of poems, and a children's story and continued my positive thinking blog; joined the Canadian Writers' Association; applied for writing and education admin jobs; taught job search, debate and news classes in addition to the regular English classes; resigned teaching in Korea; formally studied editing, completing 4 courses

Social:  extended my collegial relationships with Korean staff (hard to do), including participation in the profs' hiking group; formed deeper connections with some of my students; caught up with Canadian friends over the summer; connected with Canadian activism and joined some World Social Forum activities in the summer; continued arranging socials/ outings for colleagues, especially those in my residence; sought help from Canadian friends with plans for resettling in Canada and got results; had some great birthday parties

Transition-making:  carrying through with my goals for the year and next 5 years, I made some steps to leave my job and move overseas; I have just found a new home for my pet birds, sent some things away by post, given away some office and apartment items and am continuing to pack up my life here; backep up and deleted computer files; applied for housing and work and got housing covered for the next 6 months; broadened the announcement of my resignation and departure from Korea to Canada


Generally, I felt good all year. I enjoyed my work, my small circle of friends and my frolicking finches at home. I relished a few hiking and sightseeing excursions. Though I felt I was growing less and getting a bit stifled, I did grow somewhat, especially through the writing and the contacts back in Canada.

The emotional side of making plans to leave my current life and plan a new one has gotten progressively more emotional. I have been flipping from glee to grief and back. Finalizing my activities in Korea one by one has brought up feelings of irritability and sadness again and again. 

When some messages of concerns about grades were forwarded to me at the last moment before the end of grade changing, which was a couple of days before Christmas, and it was the Director who passed them along, it was really upsetting and drastically affected my mood over Christmas. In a troubling coincidence, these messages were sent to me immediately after I handed in my grading paperwork and delivered my letter of resignation. The Director was reluctant to decide on the issues and continued to convey some lack of confidence even after I responded with explanations for a couple of cases where students got very low grades. I was angry and hurt; nice way to handle someone's leaving. I thought the matter might be a situation of retaliation on the part of the Director and, in fact, I asked her about the timing. The grades were available for students to correct before; they had all been so since December 15. It is normal for students to check the record from exam week on and raise concerns and questions well before the end of the grade change period, so this situation was very odd. Also, is normal for a mediating or authority figure in the department to stand up for a professor after hearing the grievances of the students and the responses of that professor. When I suggested that my director could defend me and my work, she was irrational in that she blamed me for "trying to blame" her and threatened me. She doesn't understand her role or the instances which I had described in detail. In sum, glad I am party company from this particular director. (They are appointed in cycles of 1 to 2 years in rotation.)

Getting detailed information about arrangements related to my resignation and preparing the paper work for the processing of my leaving, along with packing up with and giving away more of my stuff, and parting company with my lovely birdies, had filled me with anxiety and some bouts of grief. Still, it has been alleviating and uplifting to be keeping an eye on my goals and simultaneously make new plans for my new life that is just around the corner.

Eye of the Optimist-leaving vs. quitting

Posted on December 22, 2016 at 4:18 AM Comments comments (1)
Once I decide to do something, I make a commitment. The action decided on may not go ahead for any number and kinds of reasons, as we all know--adjusting goals, practical obstacles, limits to methods, lack of consensus or cooperation of others, changing circumstances...Stopping an action, even giving up on a project with good reason does not nullify the commitment made in the first place. 

Anyway, sometimes a decision to do something is one intending to stop doing something. Stopping something or leaving somewhere can be very positive, in which case the decision to stop or leave is empowering. When some situation or company no longer nourishes and motivates you, but, rather, starts to make you feel cramped and cranky, it is time to get out so you can breathe and shine again.

As indicated in previous blog entries of late, I told readers I had decided to leave my present employment and area of residence. I considered the timing of resigning and wanted to wait until payday, which happens to be Christmas. In fact, I gathered information about the benefits of the pension plan last Monday, and I drafted the resignation letter and announcement to co-workers last Tuesday. Today was D-Day: time to drop the bomb. I finished writing up and signing my grade sheets for all my classes, then turned them in. Then I promptly edited, printed out, signed and delivered the letter of resignation; I soon followed that with an email letter to my fellow native English co-workers in the English department once I got home.

As I was going through the steps of preparing to submit my resignation, I felt butterflies in my stomach. I was nervous. At the same time, I realised that I was taking control of my employment and had the power to stay or go in my hands, which, I have to admit, was an unfamiliar feeling. I felt too much temerity to savour the thought, at first, but I did soon after I dropped off the letters.

I never used to think through my career goals in a detailed manner; it seems I was too open-minded at times and too much in need of a monthly pay-cheque at others to take control of the process and see employment as being something I could choose. Candidates have generally been given to believe that an employer, being an employer, must be superior and is the judge as to your suitability for hiring. Besides the reality that employment is often a complicated process involving many people, prospective employees might have more of a hand in the decision that it appears. Someone with a skill set and some specialized education or training is viable and desirable to employers, and should feel confident and empowered by their own capability and potential. If you know what you can do, have some sort of experience that indicates you can do it, and some specialized formation for the work, you should stride up to that employer and show it off. Look the employer up and down and interrogate them to see if they are worth it. Yeah.

Of course, one has to be aware of one's worth. You need to know your best assets, starting with your character and personality. It takes some exploring to get a handle on that, and continual reflection because personalities keep evolving. Then you need to have some specific training and practical experience.

In my case, I had an arts degree with a French major, a foundation which needed some more refining and enhancing. Becoming a language teacher is a natural progression, as is working in the Canadian public service, with that sort of background, and I fell into both. However, I did not research and consult about other possibilities, even though I knew I should have some additional expertise or skill. I could not arrive at a suitable extension. I expected job opportunities to approach me, regardless, and swallowed what was there, whether it tasted good or not. When it choked me, I ran, which is not the same as consciously resigning with a plan to move on.

Times are changing, and opportunities abound, despite unemployment figures. Of course, having the internet and all its associated tools and sources is marvelous and most helpful in getting informed and prepared for work. The internet has sure benefited me at this turning point in my life. I've hatched up and loaded all kinds of things to build experience, show off my skills, enhance and broadcast my profile. I am ready to take a leap and see what happens, and I feel I have way more choices in front of me because of the internet and its tools I've tried out. It's nice to be dreaming again.

Another benefit is the steady years of full-time work in a well-established profession that others recognize. I can make the most of this recent history, and go on to new and more interesting things, I am sure. Going either into writing and publishing, or into education admin or development makes sense. My CV therefore makes way more sense than it used to. It has direction.

I understand my CV, the path that took me here and what I am doing now. I am confident in my decision, even though the logistics and emotions of making the transition may be uncomfortable.

Thinking and Doing It Positively

Household Treasures

11 January 2021

I heard an interviewee speaking over the radio talk about cherishing items in the home. It is one way to explore and enjoy surroundings without traveling, he said​I'll try it.

A lot of objects on display in my apartment are artifacts from my travels, ironically. They refresh my most poignant memories of precious and mind-opening explorations.

Sitting atop the filing cabinet next to my desk are to souvenirs from South Korea, where I worked and resided for 10 years. After such a lengthy stay, I have loads of memories prompted by numerous artifacts of my experiences in that country. These two are among the best reflections of cultural and historical particularities of South Korea. They are a framed photo of a hero central to the labour and national democratic struggles and an ornament from folk culture in the countryside of the southern part of South Korea.

Jun Tae-Il was a courageous student activist leading actions against the last dictatorship in his country. He represents the heart of the movement and the victory for democracy. He became a martyr when the police fatally shot him while he was demonstrating in the street in Seoul, the capitol. The ornament is an ceramic fertility fetish, an image of a penis from one of several such parks in the southern region where I used to live. This part of the country remained tribal longer than other parts, so folk traditions such as shamanism and superstitions have endured. Fertility monuments were erected (pun intended), of course, bring about more healthy children. The foreigner exploring such parks giggle at the sights. 

Next to the filing cabinet is a bookshelf. One of the most noticeable objects near the top of this piece of furniture is a tacky, plastic, white alarm clock. It is significant because I bought it to ensure I woke up on time on my last morning living in South Korea. I had an early flight. As a small travel alarm clock had recently failed, and I was not sure my phone alarm would wake me fully, I picked up a cheap clock at a local general store. I don't use it as its ticking is noisy, but I have not thought to give it away. It remains perched on the shelf, deprived of a battery, as a reminder of my departure from the ex-pat life and return to Canada. 

I also have items saved from two trips to Cuba, one in 2003 and one in 2019. Both trips were organized political events. The first took me there with a political choral group to meet Cuban choirs, learn some of their songs, perform with Cubans, attend the May 1st rally, meet labour associations and tour the island for two weeks. I am looking at a typical replication of a sketch of Che Gevarra which one can find easily in street markets. Our choir, supportive of the Cuban revolution, valued the Cuban revolutionary democracy, social arrangements and political principals which that image, the most famous in all the world, represents to millions of people. It inspires and gives hope. I remember strolling through the streets, visiting markets and restaurants, chatting with locals and attending all the meetings on our hectic schedule. I have other little treasures such as a ceramic, hand painted ashtray, photos of our Cuban comrades, and an African-Cuban, wooden statuette.

Above my desk hang a pair of water colour paintings in wood frames. They portray sites in southern Manitoba in the general area where my grandparents met, married and bore my mother. They feature two views of the banks of the Red River, a river highly important to Canadian history. There were battles against invading Americans launched there and a key struggle of the Métis nation. The city of Winnipeg lies nearby, which used to be the industrial hub of Canada until the Panama Canal opened up and undermined the Canadian railway system. I have only passed through Winnipeg by car. This area is not one I remember, for I have never visited it. 

On the floor near my desk lies a wicker hamper. I have mixed feelings about it, but it has been very useful, so I have kept it. You see, it belonged to my father's second wife. My father remarried this odd, older person rather quickly after my mother passed, which denied her children necessary time to adjust. I carried resentment about her, but chose to avoid them rather than say anything or show my negative feelings. As I said, it is a practical item for it holds linens and Christmas stuff and allows aeration through the woven stems.

I originally bought the filing cabinet to organize research, not academic information but information found in the course of activism and stabs at political journalism. It therefore stores records of several international and regional conferences. Though I purge it once in awhile, there are still clippings, leaflets and pamphlets. They cover issues such as Canadian mining firms abroad, human rights cases, privacy rights, student concerns and transportation. I have been replacing old articles and folders with my own writing pieces. Among them are also old, self-published newsletters addressing local and international issues, some of my published articles and unpublished poems. 

Conversational News

10 January 2021

It is so good to be able to express myself and have contact with readers through this blog again. The loss of the access to my blog along with other aspects of confinement and restrictions really affected me. There were added unsettling restrictions due to circumstances, even including access to my games when Adobe Flash Player was removed. I was feeling the mounting stress of rising COVID cases and the awareness of the damages inflicted by this disease as well as the damage inflicted by states that remain focused on helping profitable enterprises more than addressing the disease and health care and financial interventions fully and equitably. Most such as Canada are handing the responsibility of pandemic management to individuals. Very unjust!

I had been handling the conditions of the pandemic fairly well, but emotions were catching up to me in December as I personally began to feel tired and stressed. I started to feel irritable and alarmed. I looked forward to two weekends at home over Christmas and New Years, but the employer wanted me to work on the Saturdays. Saturday being the heaviest work day for me with five hours straight teaching and two hours travel, I had been wanting relief to get a chance to rest and calm down. I ended up taking the Saturday following NY Day off, which certainly helped. I am much better now.

I did not carry through with my usual practice of personal assessment and planning in December as is my habit. I was too agitated. I did not want to reflect on this past year, actually. Not then.

Anyway, there is not any change in my goals. I generally carried through with financial, livelihood, social, family, health and growth goals. However, the social and family goals were frustrated by Covid-19 rules. However, there are elder relatives with multiple health problems whose mental health was being upset by the situation, so I have been visiting with them in cafes and such. They are better now. I have also been aiding an elderly neighbour whose health, already in decline this year, was getting worse partially because of Covid-related restraints. (Her degrading sight and hearing, as well as shaking and loss of balance, caused her to stop driving permanently, and skeletal issues caused her to stop regular exercise. She is worried she will be forced to consider entering a facility while many care homes are in crisis!) My exercise regime was also compromised. The local fitness center remains open but I perceive it as risky, so I do not go there. Aside from some hiking and walking to accomplish transit and errands, I haven't been exercising much until recently. Now I do some yoga, lunging, stretching and weighted arm raises sometimes. I am prevented this week because of an inflammation (hemorrhoid caused by lengthy sitting!).

 One big factor affecting stress and anxiety levels is news reportage. State and private corporate news services, like most enterprises today, try to streamline by relying more on tech and web browsing to find news topics. There are fewer reporters and there is less extended, investigative reporting. For the past decade at least, such services have resorted to "conversational journalism." It is an adjustment to distrust of news and official authorities during a trend of democratization, I feel. However, it tends to keep popularity and viewer or reader stats in mind. Topics can be sensationalized by rehashing events and speculation. Commentators are brought in to discuss as are senior reporters, but the discussion is not very productive in that it does not lead to increased knowledge. Rather, it keeps generating more questions. Conversations often entertain unanswerable questions, particularly because there can be no resolution. They just push the topic and stimulate possible answers to stir up controversy and alarm in order to improve ratings. Pertinent information might be omitted if it actually answers a question. Once audiences abandon a thread, they turn to some other topic and start over. It is really unconscionable because of the innuendo, speculation, rumour, omission, lack of investigation, assumptions and biases.

The COVID coverage is a clear case in point. Partial information is supplied, such as a medical official's announcement that is partly based in some truth. The announcement is questioned. Opponents are recruited to present the false arguments. Sideline topics are raised to create more friction. Proper sources are ignored. Questions are recycled and spin round and round with no conclusion. The affect is understandable: alarm, anxiety, fear, stress, accusations, complaints, etc.

I follow a couple of doctors who produce daily videos to update viewers on scientific developments and explore reasoning behind government and medical decisions regarding the pandemic. I rely on Dr. John Campble and Doctor Moran. Find them on Youtube. Campbell is the most digestable, for he uses plain English, which Moran is more technical. The latter seems to be addressing people in the medical field. By following Campbell, in particular, I can see the gaps in the regional and national news reporting. I can see that they are lagging behind the news by ignoring or failing to search for reliable information.

We're Back

07 January 2021

Apologies to my followers and viewers. You have been very supportive and encouraging for many years. I might have disappointed some of you who were looking for new entries from me. 

Let me explain. VISTAPRINT changed its platform last year. When they did that, the method for making blog entries changed. I had no information from them about what to do. It simply appeared that I know longer had any blogging service. 

However, I just spoke to a VISTAPRINT rep who guided me. I can now write blog entries, as you can see.

It was a strange year all the way around. Things seemed kind of more chaotic than usual. I felt agitated and stressed last month for no definite reason. I had trouble sleeping. I felt exhausted.

My general astrology reading asserted that the pulling away of Jupiter, one of my planets and a very powerful one, from Saturn would make Sagitarians feel exhausted by the end of December. Despite the restrictions imposed because of the pandemic, it does indeed feel like I worked and accomplished a lot (activism, teaching, writing). Things are supposed to get easier for us Sagges. 

There was added stress because of the effects of the pandemic. Not only that but worse, state aggression seemed to increased around the world, causing civilian mass responses. Though I had handled it pretty well until the end of 2020, I guess it finally got to me and I started soaking up some of the stress and anxiety emitting from my region and beyond.

2021 is starting out a bit weird, too. Just look at yesterday's events. U.S. Whitehouse invasion. Solar flare sending rays that caused several storms, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. More lockdowns. 

I wish all my readers well. I will resume entering focused pieces when I have more time. Please stick with me. Thank you for your comments to date.

Ed Wise


15 January 2020