It is January 25th, 2013. The wheels of the truck that is barreling towards South Korea are set in their motion and won’t be turning back. I have finally received a legitimate ten-year passport. Hudson has received his clean criminal background check, which means he can get his visa. Emails back and forth with schools all around the country are taking place daily as we wait to try to find the best offer in the best location.
But it slapped me across the face lately how fast this is all happening. January will be over in just another blink and as the weeks continue to zip by faster and faster the more you try to hang onto them, I realize how much money I still have left to save.
Over about ten months of saving what I could, but still enjoying brunches and vacations and bars at my leisure, I put away $5400. Knowing I must pay $1800 to my mother to secure six months of student loans before I go, as well as cough up $1400 to the IRS for my taxes, and put enough aside for a plane ticket, a number that once seemed hopefully large now feels impossibly small. And so, it’s crunch time.
There is no more time for bars or friends when the expected start date is looking like sometime in March. Only five or six weeks stand between me and South Korea. And so I have discarded my social life. The last two days I had off I spent a total of thirty dollars on some booze for the house and a pizza. We downloaded movies and stayed in bed and told our friends we couldn’t make it out this time. I have put almost every single dollar I have made this month into my savings. And I have had a good month. Often coming home with more than $300 a night, it goes straight into the envelope. $1400 saved in fewer than three weeks and already I am inching up on $7000.
But to be honest, I am exhausted, and am still so so far away from my goal. So far, it seems impossible. Working at the bar is incredibly draining. Answering the same questions a hundred times a night for 17 months now, pushing through hoards of rude drunk people, accidentally hitting you in the face and then scowling at you for the sip of their own drink they spilled when they hit you. 12 hour shifts of nothing but running and pushing and sore feet and rude people and forced conversation and bad tippers and you just want to scream. Two days off used to rest my soul and prepare me again for the madhouse that is a busy bar. But now it seems no number of days away rejuvenate me. I’ve been stuck in a routine for too long now, and weary nights at the bar only wear me further down.
With Korea now in sight, when I need to be working the hardest and saving the most, I find myself the least capable of doing it than ever before. Almost like a case of senioritis, I am so close to the next step that I just want to quit today and press fast forward on the very same thing I have just been talking about slowing down. But I know if I start giving up shifts now and taking it easy on myself, I will only regret it when the time comes to board that plane and I am stuck with whatever savings I’ve got.
And so I’ll go back tonight with renewed resolve. I will not let the masses of assholes get to me this time. I will bust my ass and sell expensive whiskeys and be as charming as I ever was. I will hide the jaded, dejected eyes that have been creeping out from behind the glittering facade that every person in the service industry must wear. I will smile as though every day is my first day working at this bar that I have loved, but which has broken me down through no fault of its own. Because I have to follow my own advice, and nothing, nothing can be more important than saving in the last desperate weeks before the grand departure.
But I still reallllly don’t wanna go to work today.