Friday, December 24, 2010

Good-Bye Korea, Hello Home - plus the best present ever (AEM, Inc!)

Annyeong Korea!

It's Christmas Eve in Korea. I have no Christmas tree. I have no lights. I have no new dog. I just shipped the puppy-pooch off to the vet for 10 days this morning. I will be boarding a plane and coming home in a matters of days.

But you know what? It's time. It's high time.

I say that, but then I think about leaving Korea, leaving the kids, leaving the great friends . . . 

I was looking forward to having my little apartment filled with good cheer and good food, good barks and good laughs. But that wasn't in the works, and that's fine. I'll see my dog again stateside, and I won't lose touch with the special people here. Plus, I have my health and a wonderful spouse. I have also forged significant and long-lasting relationships here, one of which has changed my life in ways I never thought possible. On top of having the best female friend ever  - she's charming, witty, and British! (kinda) - we have become co-authors of a fantastic book. I know the editor who winds up publishing it for us will be the luckiest gal alive, aside from me.

Hello Home

So I'm returning to the land of the grim. Increased poverty. Stagnating wages. Outrageous Bush-era tax cuts. A President who doesn't seem to care about issues that matter to most Americans. But it's time that we stop thinking of America in that way. We're all right about feeling down on America: it is grim and it sucks right now, especially because a lot people who are running the country are tone deaf. People are hurting and in terrible ways. That is why I don't want a soul to feel bad that I'm crying like a water faucet on full blast at the moment. Because my tears are for the great things and the good people I'll be leaving behind (especially Abi). I'd names others, but I don't want them to freak out, and I'm not sure about their privacy wishes. But to the friends I've made here, and who I will miss sorely, you know who you are. You have been supportive, fun, and genuine. I look forward to seeing all of you back in the states.

The sadness that I'm reading in emails from you, well, that's different from what I'm experiencing. The need for a voice, for change, that's what I hear you demanding through your despairing notes. That's why it's time for me to return.

We're going to make this work. I'm determined.

I've made thousands of connections across the U.S. I'm in contact with hundreds of you on a regular basis. You are talented, smart, capable. On top of that, you want things to be better, and you want it now. We need to stop letting D.C. decide that the focus should only be on 'prospective' students. That's bullshit. We need to let them know who we are. That's why I am intent on opening an office in D.C. The decisions are made when you're in that swamp of a city, and I'm willing to sweat it out.  

It's Christmas Eve and bitterly cold, but I am filled with good cheer. I've been in touch with a number of my Board Members already about my imminent return, and we've been discussing ways in which we can move forward.

AEM, Inc. is the best present I could have received on this very special, yet odd Christmas, and if it weren't for your generous donations, we wouldn't even be a non-profit. There you have it: AEM is a wonderful gift, and I want to thank all of you for making it real.

Now it's time to get down to business. Grant time, friends. Legal defense fund time. All of this will lead us to establishing an office and a presence in D.C. It's time to get busier and to get things accomplished for the indentured educated class.

Happy Holidays to all of you (non-believers and believers alike). Most importantly, Abi and husband, thanks for being the best gal pal and husband ever.

"Let's see who's up next. Oh . . . Cryn. Her readers and volunteers have given her AEM, Inc. as a gift, and her friends are offering her genuine support and love. Splendid presents!"


John in Boston said...

It really feels like a force of nature (um, that's you!) is coming our way, Cryn.

Cryn Johannsen said...

It's not just me, John. It's you in Boston, it's Rhonda in Oklahoma, it's Leni in Maryland, Gail in Kentucky, Jon in Washington, Don in Chicago, Terry in Rhode Island, it's Pete in Cali, it's Dustin in North Carolina, Nick in Florida, JDPainter Guy in . . . and Nando in . . . oh, man, I could just go on and on!

Liza Cardona said...

Oh Cryn don't cry. You knew comming to the US was inevitable. Is just a new phase and although I understand the pain that is to leave memories and good friends behind, I know this new phase of your life is going to best yet ever. On a positive note my husband keeps applying to jobs in DC. The only thing that comforts me is that if we moved at least I will be able to meet you and maybe have a puppy play date. What do you think? Deal? ;)

Cryn Johannsen said...

Liza, that sound great. We'll meet in D.C.

Nando said...

Cryn, I am willing to walk Stanley the Peeing Pup to all of the TTTs in Washington, DC so he can lift his leg on these toilets of law. They saddle ambitious and bright students with mountains of non-dischargeable debt - under false pretenses: "Last year, 99% of our grads were employed within nine months" (yeah, and Halle Berry kissed me under the mistletoe last night); "anyone can do anything with a law degree!"; and "a law degree is very versatile, and is sought after by non-legal employers."

Anonymous said...

As I sit here watching "Price of Admission: America's College Debt Crisis" on CNBC, I don't know whether to end it all now or brush up on my survival skills and live off the grid. I'm fighting back tears as I type this message.

Cryn Johannsen said...

@ Dec 26, 2010 - You can't give up fighting. We need you. We must do this together. I'm back, and I'm ready to begin a bigger battle. Join us and fight for your rights.

Anonymous said...

What are the next steps as far as attempting to get the bankruptcy bills passed? Are there any other bills that are out there that could maybe enforce a lower interest rate on student loans, or cap the total amount paid?

I don't think any will go through the House, but I was holding out hope that the S. 3219 would go through the Senate. I guess not.

Knut said...

Keep doing what you're doing, Cryn. Make sure our generation is not forgotten.

Anonymous said...

I know I sound like a broken record, but I feel my message is worth repeating:

Student Debt will take away all of your freedoms as a US citizen.

Freedom to find decent employment.
Freedom to marry without involving the spouse in the debt.
Freedom to take out a mortgage, car loan, or other type of loan.

Default will make matters much worse.

My default added 40 thousand dollars to my Student Loan debt.

Today I owe 300K, and my life is OVER.

Please kids, read this post carefully and heed the advice, or you will end up in debtors Hell for the rest of your adult life like me.

Never, ever take out student loans. If you cannot pay cash for a higher education--Don't go!