Sunday, May 23, 2010

Farewell To Flint

Well, it's been a couple of weeks since Flint was thrown out of Korea, and I think I'm finally able to sit down and write about it.
I mean, everybody knows we foreigners are here in Korea only to molest children, rape women, and take drugs while on the job. That's a given. So it shouldn't have been a surprise when Flint was caught and unceremoniously dumped on the first plane out of Incheon.
But we were having such a good time together, I guess we lost sight of the inevitable doom that is hanging over all of us.
I've met a lot of people on my travels; some good and some bad. Sometimes you make some good friends, people that help you get through the weird and wonderful times.
It's a scary thing, coming to Korea. I've been here ten years, and I still remember the emotion I felt leaving Canada. I had to really hold myself together, or I would have broken down crying.
It was a long flight.
At the end of it, I was thrown together with a guy I had to share an apartment with. He turned out to be the saddest, angriest, the most depressed and paranoid person on the planet. We only shared the place for 30 days before he got his own con-apt, but it was the longest 30 days of my life.
I came this close to doing a runner, and returning to Canada with my tail between my legs.
But I stuck it, and it did get better. Some new teachers arrived at the school, and we formed a pretty good gang of people.
I was able to relax, and actually enjoy my time in Korea. So much so, that I have settled into a good long stay.
Along the way, I've made some good friends, but I don't think I could name a better one than Flint. I met him at one of those low points in my time here, and he helped get me through it.
I'd been lied to by my recruiter, and dumped off, not in Cheongju where he told me I was going, but in a small town 1/2 an hour north called Jungpyeong. I remember it as "The Junkpile," for reasons which should be obvious.
A middle school girl at the hagwon helped arrange a meeting between myself and someone I'll call Trek-Boy, who was the foreign teacher at her school. It was Trek-boy who introduced me to Flint. And it was Flint, more than anybody, who acquainted me with all the places to see and be seen in the 'ju.
It was Flint who orovided a place to go, a person to see, and a reason not to leave and never return. There were a lot of good times, and it made living in The Junkpile almost bearable.
I did get out of there, and found a good school and con-apt in the 'ju. It was good fortune smiling on me that put me close to where Flint lived, as well.
Over time, we settled into a pretty good routine. Friday nights Flint worked too late to go out, but we would meet for a few drinks and a cigar to welcome the weekend. Saturday would be dinner at the rib place or the pork place, followed by many drinks and another fine cigar.
Sunday'd be lunch at Popeye's and then to the patio at Dunkin', where we would have a ringside seat to laugh at the mooks and shamelessly ogle the Korean hotties.
Sadly, all that is over.
But I would just like to say one more thing to Flint, which is to repeat what I wrote to him on his flag.
Before I came here, all I knew of Korea was from the TV series M*A*S*H, and I'll always remember the words B.J. and Hawkeye used to say goodbye:
"... maybe we will see each other again, but just in case we don't, I want you to know how much you've meant to me. I'll never shake you." Whenever I see some bit of mookish behaviour, it's you I'll want to turn to and share the laughter. Whenever I have some great rum and a fine cigar, it's you I wish I was sharing it with. "I'll miss you. A LOT. I can't imagine what this place would have been like if I hadn't found you here." You helped keep me sane amid the madness.
Farewell, Flint.


  1. That's a nicely written tribute, Stig. Sorry your buddy's gone.

    I have a friend (who I rarely see) who once told me that in his first year in Korea he spoke to 100% of people he met. The next year it was 50%. The next 10%. Ever since then he's been ignoring people.

    The fact is that when you live here you know that everyone is on a time-limit. Very few of us stay here permanently, and that means the friends you make are only here for 6 months, a year or two years.

    Shit, I only really have one friend here now. It's too depressing to make new friends, knowing that you'll probably split and never see them again.

  2. Hey, what are you talking about? I nver shared an aprtment with anybody. I am the most paranoid person ever.

  3. Youseok,
    Maybe you are, but this guy could have given lessons to Eeyore...