What’s So Routine About Mornings in South Korea?

Have I been here before?

I wake up, usually these days at about 9 or 9:30 a.m. I shake off the last remnants of a dream, sometimes about things at home, things in Korea, a combination of the two, grab my laptop from the nearby chair or floor, click off the SimplyNoise white noise site and go to Facebook. I then go to Gmail, lamenting likely over the lack of need to visit either so religiously and feeling a pang of guilt for the amount of time wasted on both. At least I don’t have a smartphone anymore.

If my bowels have not responded like clockwork by this point, I may check out some news stories on Pulse. But, usually, more often than not, I’ll head to the bathroom.


As I finished my morning ritual, flushed the toilet and washed my hands, I checked myself a moment as to whether or not I already had done this this morning? I had not. That was yesterday. Or, it could have been the day before.

Michael, my fellow foreign teacher at my hagwon, commented the other night (it was almost a week ago, but when I thought of it this morning it felt like a couple days) that freewill, while sounding nice, may not exactly be true. No one is going to shift what they do so dramatically, no one is going to do a complete 180. You may change careers but you’re still going to go downstairs and make coffee before heading to your new job if that’s what you’ve always done. I’m not going to decide to hold in my bowel movements and wake up at 11a.m. just so I can say I did something different. I’m not going to not do my laundry when the machine gets a bit full just because that’s what I always do. Basically, we’re robots. At least that’s what he thought.

I’m still a bit on the fence as I look at the time of 11:31 a.m. and have a mild moment of panic, knowing I have to get ready for work in a couple hours, just as I did yesterday and the day before that and the day before that and …


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