I won’t lie. This has been a difficult week for me. It seems as if my Pusan trip set me back a few days, and I spent the entire week at work trying to catch up. I got back to the office, and by Tuesday my other colleagues left. Someone new is working with me now, but they are still orienting themselves to the office. I was the only veteran staff member in the office this week. As a result, I worked until after 9 p.m. on Thursday. On Friday evening I also left late for work. Our job portfolios also changed, and I started working on my new assignment and had to train the new person on what I was doing before. It’s a pseudo-promotion that makes me backup supervisor, but it also means that I won’t be out of the office visiting Americans as much as I was. At work it seemed as if every couple minutes or so I was handed a new, critical task to complete, and I could only finish them every 5-10 minutes, meaning the tasks continued to pile up. Metaphorically, it feels like shoveling mud in a collapsing ditch or draining water from a sink boat.
To make matters worse, I’ve also been busy as chair of our community association trying to settle some vexing problems. We’ve been trying to land a new cafeteria vendor for months, and this week we finally found a couple of great candidates. Unfortunately, another vendor suddenly abandoned their location. Their contract was up for renewal, and I had thought we had successfully negotiated a follow-on agreement. However, I was astounded when they let the lease lapse without renewing. We had no choice but to lock them out, and now I have the very unpleasant task of extricating ourselves from this vendor. Not only does the association stand to lose out on substantial revenues, but the divorce could be messy. We may have to call in the legal eagles to take care of the situation. Plus, we have to go through the arduous task of finding a new vendor to take over the site. This is not the start I wanted to have as chair. If I can get through the next six months and take care of these vendor problems, I’ll consider my job a success. It will get done, somehow.
On Friday, after I got home from work, I passed on writing my nightly blog entry and crashed for the night. Saturday morning I went for two more negotiations, one with a potential cafeteria vendor and the other for a new business center for our community. These negotiations were fruitful. In the afternoon, I took my family for Korean food, and we enjoyed a Columbus Day parade and festivities (yes, the Armed Forces in Korea still celebrate Columbus Day). The cover band performed a medley of Tina Turner classics; the singer sounded just like Tina Turner. We rested at home yesterday evening. Today, we met up with a good friend we met while we were in Virginia. He lives in Taiwan and had come to visit his Korean girlfriend. She joined us, along with another friend from Taiwan. We ate Mexican food for lunch (they said they can’t find good Mexican food in Taiwan) and spent a few hours at our home talking and drinking soju and Bailey’s Irish Cream. It was delectable. Later, I dropped our friends off in Insadong. They suggested we come for a visit to Taiwan. It apparently only costs about $300 by air from Seoul to Taipei, and we would have a free place to stay. After this week, their offer sounds tempting!
Fortunately, tomorrow I have the day off and am planning a guy’s night out with a few people tomorrow night. If I don’t post a blog entry tomorrow night, you’ll know why.