THE KOREA KRONICLES: Dispatches from the Ice Palace

This morning was the first on a day off from work since I came back to Korea a month ago that I didn’t wake up next to someone, and it felt really strange. This weekend is 설날 (“Seolnal”), also known as the Korean New Year or Lunar New Year. Typically, it falls on the second New Moon following the Winter Solstice and is a time when Koreans return to their hometowns to be with their family, eat traditional food, drink soju, celebrate the passage of another year, and perform ancestral rites. The practical effect of this for me is that my boyfriend, who we’ll call DG, won’t be coming to see me until Saturday evening, even though the both of us have a long weekend. He’ll be celebrating with his family in Busan and, as a result, I hope to be forgiven my mild melancholy. Okay, I admit, it’s not that bad. It’s just that it’s cold and it’s nice to be able to snuggle up to someone special when the chill starts to bite, which it does in my sometimes frigid apartment. Continue reading

DIRTY LITTLE FREAKS: Story Arcs of 2013, Part Un

The Teaching Life“If you do not stop talking, I will turn off the air conditioning, open the windows, and make you all sit on the floor,” I said, thoroughly exasperated. “Do you understand?”

Their affirmations of “yes, teacher” were of course accompanied by seismic eye-rolls and I had little confidence in their intention to heed my warning. In fact, I think we barely made it another minute and half before I simply stopped trying to talk over them, walked to the back of the room and turned off the thermostat, then methodically unlatched and slid open each window in the classroom. With the windows open, there was nothing to hold back the hot, sticky, Korean summer air from steamrolling through and turning the classroom into something just short of a sauna, which it did, and in barely any time at all. Continue reading

THE KOREA KRONICLES: There’ll Be a Great Homecoming

Happy ThanksgivingNine months. I can hardly believe it, but it’s true: I have now lived in Korea for nine months and it’s mind-boggling to consider just how much I’ve changed and grown in that short amount of time. Just two days ago, the faculty and staff of DGEV celebrated a wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner together at a fancy buffet restaurant in Daegu and I can hardly believe I just typed this sentence. THANKSGIVING?!?! Where the hell did 2013 go? By the way, the photo at right shows DGEV’s ORU presence in a moment of revelry at said dinner. As it is now approaching the end of the year, I don’t intend to say too much in this post as I am already working on the next installment in my Story Arcs series. In just a quick teaser of that post (or, as is likely to be the case, those posts), which I will publish somewhere around the end of the present year, I can assure you that the transformation I’ve experienced over the past three-quarters of a year is quite a story and I look forward to sharing it with you all. Continue reading