Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Of Books And Bathtubs

Right now, I'm playing the waiting game -- waiting for a visa issuance number so I can travel to Japan and get my new work visa, and waiting and wondering what would be the best date to move my stuff over to Erewhon. Being in a holding pattern makes me feel too frenzied to read. Yesterday was the first day in *years* that I didn't read one word. I can't even find my Tough & Cool Inner Bookworm anymore. Baby come back?

Sunday was book group (Lonesome Dove) at high noon in Gangnam, but I got in so late Saturday evening from the US that I couldn't rally. Damn. Jet lag almost always wins. I heard that we picked up a new member named Melinda. I'm looking forward to meeting her at the March 8 (Atlas Shrugged) meeting.

On Monday, my son and I went to the U.S. Embassy in Seoul to get my (lack of) criminal record notarized. Ooops, forgot it was President's Day. I was annoyed, but not for long. After all, there's a Kyobo bookstore nearby, where I bought The Zahir by Paulo Coelho for an upcoming book group. After that, we found a hotel near the embassy, then set out to do more bookstore-hopping. As we went down in the subway at Jonggak, I gasped. Right there in front of me, glittering like jewelry, was a Bandi & Luni bookstore that I didn't know existed! Silently promising it that I *would* be back, we took off for Yongsan Station.

I had not revisited the bookstore at Yongsan Station since my son showed it to me in 2007, so I'd forgotten what a gem of a place it is. The books seem to be slightly cheaper, and the literature section had some delightfully quirky finds. To my delight, I found The Mambo Kings Play Songs Of Love, the 1990 Pulitzer fiction winner. Since the train from Erewhon goes directly to Yongsan Station, I won't let another 2 years go by till I visit again.

After a dinner of rice and octopus and assorted vegetables, we headed back to the Bandi & Luni at Jonggak. They had some Wodehouse, which I want to read, but I hesitated to buy any because I'm not sure which book to start with. Also, I saw a Sigrid Undset novel called Jenny that I had also seen at Yongsan Station. From the description, I was pretty sure I'd like it, but ended up leaving Bandi & Luni empty-handed. I started thinking about how I was going to have to move all of these books I was buying. We headed back to the hotel. Determined to appreciate the bathtub to its fullest extent, I took a hot bath for about an hour. Still smashed over the head with jet lag, I crashed at 8:30.

On Tuesday, I completed my business at the U.S. Embassy, then my son and I took the train over to Erewhon so I could meet with my new director. Discussion moved to the subject of the new apartment, and she kindly showed me some sample pictures on her computer. When she got to the bathroom, I was awestruck: A BATHTUB! I'M GOING TO HAVE MY VERY OWN BATHTUB IN MY APARTMENT! The bathtub is one of my very favorite places to read, and I've been missing that sorely during my Korea sojourn. Not only will I have a wonderful place to enjoy books, I'll be able to get back in touch with my girly side -- the walls and the fixtures are all bright pink. The whole bathroom looks like it was hosed down with Pepto-Bismol.

Today's project involves moving all the books I have in my office and bringing them over to Dorm Sweet Dorm. Can you feel my pain? Building a library is one thing. Moving it is quite another.

13 comments:

Booklogged said...

I feel your pain - moving a library is painful. Boxes of books weigh so much.

Eva said...

Loved this whole post! I was without a bathtub at grad school, and it was horrible. So I'm glad you're getting a tub again! :)

And I got a package from you today-I'm so excited about it. Thanks Bybee!

Heather J. said...

Glad to hear things are finally moving ahead! Congrats on the bathtub - that is a huge blessing in my book. :)

As for Wodehouse, the first one I did was RIGHT HO, JEEVES and it was a great place to start. I will say though that I did the audio versions and I appreciated the humor much more that way - I don't think I would have got the jokes had I been reading rather than listening. But that's just me!

thatsthebook said...

I hope the move goes smoothly, because we both know it can be a huge pain in the ass! And be sure to let me know when you've moved and your new address so I can send you the collection of Canadian books I have sitting here for you.

Jeane said...

I love reading in the tub, too. But it has to be steaming hot. Our current bathroom is too drafty and feels cold after ten minutes. I haven't read many books there.

myza said...

Good luck with the move!
I have the same problem with books as you do. My husband just tells me to sell them but we both know that is not even an option! Thank God my prents let me store all my books at their place in Canada!

Tara said...

It's nice to see you back, and yipeee! about your new bathtub! We had a heck of a time moving the books into this house ten years ago, I would dread having to get them out as it seems the number has doubled.

Gentle Reader said...

Sorry about the jetlag, I know how miserable that can be. And moving books is a pain the tuchus. I read Mambo Kings years ago and liked it, you'll have to let me know what you think.

Lesley said...

Oh, I remember reading an older post of yours where you talked about missing a bathtub (and I think you were staying somewhere - a hotel? - where you had access to one and were relishing in the luxury of it) so congratulations! Me, although I wish I could, the idea of taking baths absolutely repels me, even though I love the idea of bubble baths and scented oils and reading in the hot water.

Oh, and moving a library? Not fun! Although on the plus side, it does give you an opportunity to organize on the other end (unless you are a better person than I and already are organized, haha). Good luck!

Dark Orpheus said...

I feel your pain. And not being allowed to move a library is worse!

bkclubcare said...

I love bubbly baths! I just might have to put one on today's agenda...

Mandi said...

For Wodehouse: Right Ho, Jeeves and The Code of the Woosters are great places to start.

I have moved 40,000+ books three times with stairs being involved twice. I so feel your pain.

Lisa said...

Oh God, I couldn't imagine having to move all my books. That one thing will probably keep me where I am for the rest of my life. Congrats on the bathtub!