For the last five or six weeks , my friend and I have been going to a stables in Sangju City on Saturday morning. It's an international caliber facility run by Sangju City located just an hour from Yeongju. They take the best care of their horses that I've seen so far.
Way back when, I gave up horses to come to South Korea and my first five years I hardly rode at all. However, when horses are truly in your blood, being away from them does not diminish that love. Anyway, long story short, I've come to accept that I cannot life without horses. Which is funny because I'm terrified of them. Well, I'm terrified of everything. Take ice for example. I hate ice. It's slippery and easy to get hurt. I also hate escalators, though I've some how managed, not overcome.... had I truly overcome the fear, my heart wouldn't jump into my throat just be for I step on. What I've learned to do is to not think about it and pretend it ain't no thing.
That's also how I ride horses. Thirty years of being on the back of these creatures has not resulted in what you'd call a confident rider by any means. No, no. I'm terrified. It sucks to love something that terrifies you. And I totally don't mean like the way a horror movie terrifies.
Anyway, long story long, I have been riding this horse named Dream. The first week I rode her well. The second week not half as well and last week the instructor is like, "What are you doing on the ground?"
"I got scared so I baled," I muttered, spitting dirt from my teeth.
Actually, what really happened is this: I switched the whip from one side to the other like I've been trained. But none of the horses are used to that and Dream shied. And that would have been fine. But I panicked and then sat on the horse like a bump on a log, assuming bumps can shout "whoa" while flapping the whip in the air. Then, because I clutched up like a deer in the headlights, I fell off.
This week, I got to ride another named Jo. At first I was disappointed but then when I rode Jo, I wasn't terrified I was going to die so I started to have fun. But Jo wouldn't go into a canter (run if your not a horse person) and so the instructor tried to give me a whip. I reached out for it, Jo flinched Fearful Fred was like "Nuhhh." The instructor might as well tried to hand me a poisonous snake. Later, I told him , that I'm afraid.
But later, I felt like, yeah, maybe he gets it, but probably not because, if you're not a fearful person it's hard to get. I"m going to reference a book, Ride with Your Mind by Mary Wanless. In it she talked about how some people feel disconnected to the earth, like they could just float way. I couldn't comprehend this, but what she was really talking about is how everyone has a different experience (and perception), even those people who enjoy the same activity. She talks about the journey, getting to know who you are and where you are, because how can you begin to progress if you know nothing?
These ideas are not just ideas about riding, but ideas about life. In order to get to France, you have to know your place of departure. And so it is true with all aspiration, whether it be to ride horses or write stories. Where are you now really? What your strengths? What are you weaknesses? One more thing Mary Wanless says about riding, but is so true for other things to. There is only the journey, really. The destination is not the end, but rather a goal that has been reached. Beyond that goal the journey continues.
The internet has heralded in a border-less age. Redneck Americans can live in China and talk to their girlfriend in West Virginia who is also a second cousin twice removed! We at Microsoft are afraid.Very, very afraid. I mean, think back to the good old days, when those cousins would have had enormous international phone bills. Instead they Skype date night. Further more, why is Skype a verb and Google a verb? Why can't people say they're Microsofting?
Anyway, enough is enough. We paid our top minds a fortune to figure out how to put boarders on the internet. We're going to squeeze our international customer's balls so hard they'll wish they were a eunuch and if they don't have balls, we're gonna milk 'em like my great, great, great, great grand pappy's dairy cow.
"Moo," a direct quote from great grand pappy's cow.
Our think tank has already had some great ideas on redundant questions. So let me tell you our latest plan in fight against globalization. If you're an American living in China, you can only get the Chinese version of Office 365. Not only do you have to buy the Chinese version, but we'll change your account language to Chinese making it impossible for anyone who isn't fluent Mandarin to use.
But wait, we're not done ! Soon we'll be implementing the Microsoft Travel Plan. We have a cloud for everyone on every device, but notice our exclusion of the words"every where." Right now our users go all over the world without paying extra! With our new travel plan our customers will have to buy a new travel license for each region they travel to. And we're not limiting our limitation to every nation. We're also, limiting use by State, province and by 2025, users will need a city by city license!
What actually happened.
I tried to change my monthly subscriptions of office 365 from monthly to yearly which resulted in losing my access to 365 all together. I've never had so much trouble trying to give a company my money. I called Microsoft Customer Service and was informed that when you are traveling with you're laptop to different countries you "not allowed to use your program in that country."
I said, "You don't know what you're talking about," and ordered from Amazon. As it turns out they do know what they're talking about.
Anyway, I want to keep using Office 365 on all my computers ( even though Microsoft's cloud is slower than molasses in January ) I like most of the features enough not to mind paying a subscription. However, Microsoft's fear of globalization... there is nothing I can do. Since Office industry standard, I've been reticent about switching to Open Office but now I have to. And all that I've spent building my writer's database with Access ... and I don't even have time to convert. It's not even a mater of buying in Korea. I would if I could.
- Their website doesn't have an English version.
- Their Korean site is incapable of accepting a US credit card.
- Once I purchase from the Korean site, my account language changes to Korean and knowing Microsoft, that will cause all my applications to change to Korean. Have you ever tried to use Word in Korean?
- When I travel back to the States, I'll have to change back.
Unless you've lived abroad, it's in expressible how helpless you can feel sometimes. It's not just in your day to day life, but in moments where you lose something you're used to. Perhaps, I'm being overly emotional, but writing is like a blanket. Granted I procrastinate as much as any writer. But that's not the point. .Microsoft programs are the tools I use to work toward my dream, but instead of working on that I've spent the day converting all my files to RTF so I can access them because when I said, soon, I meant I lose access to Office 365 tomorrow and there is nothing I can do. I feel helpless. I know.... I know there is Open Office, but I feel like a pint of ice cream anyway.
Mariel R. is an ESL teacher, horse trainer, writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. She lives in South Korea with two cats, three horses, a German Shepherd and 17 chickens.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Goldy in English) R.I.P February, 23, 2018