The overseas job search has turned up nothing hopeful. South Korea has turned out to be very difficult to break into: if you talk to tourists they're all, "Oh yeah, there's incredible demand for teachers there! All sorts of jobs!" but if you look at the websites they're all, "This is the worst time of year to look for work, and anyway, you don't have your paperwork in order, and here's a new stipulation we came up with last month." As well, the message boards are full of horror stories, teachers working in private institutions headed by a schizophrenic or simply running afoul of a foreign bureaucracy with little to no legal recourse. Many of these are written poorly, a warning flag for me when reading reviews, and of course people are going to hyperbolize the negative, but even when dialed back down from 11, the ratio of "I had a good time" to "what a Kafka-esque nightmare" is not encouraging.
On top of that, I'm getting tired of just blowing through new cities, seeing the same old new things over and over again, being charmed by and then tired of various cuisines. I'm tired of every conversation (with locals) quickly leading into a sales pitch. Few of them ever just want to talk, to share ideas. They're all estimating how much money they can get from us, because their assumption is that all Americans are rich. One Khmer's jaw hit the floor when we explained there actually were poor people in the U.S., the living conditions in the Appalachians. Was it so perilously naive of me to think I might make a few friends on this trip?
On top of that, the ecosystem has been irreparably damaged by human influence. Reputable scientific bodies are producing more and more reports to underscore this, and they're winning Nobel Prizes for their research, but when we try to talk to the laity about it we get a lot of derision and denial. It's impossible to ask people we know to stop buying so much, to cultivate a personal garden, to take an emergency preparedness course, to form communities. Everyone seems to be arguing in favor of behaving as though nothing's wrong, betting on everything staying the same, and yet no one has won a Nobel Prize for this philosophy. No reputable scientific organization has suggested everything's okay and we can undo this damage. And at times it looks like the only responsible thing to do is to cut this trip short, stop looking for work overseas, go home and buy some land and start living up to this alarmist philosophy of ours.
I don't know what to do. I don't know what kind of life I can go back to, and I don't know how responsible it is to stay out here. Everything just feels like shit. The climate has broken the point of no return, everything's going to hell, and at best we can only mitigate the inevitable crash--except the passengers are vehemently arguing that nothing's wrong, the plane is still in the air and will be forever. Am I looking for sympathy? Surely I will get none, as people complain about the lives they have chosen in contrast to the decisions we made.
I'm not looking for sympathy. I'm looking for an answer to, "What the fuck?" Someone said the comfort of unanswerable questions was the fact that they are unanswerable, but oh my gods do I disagree with that right now.