THE KOREA KRONICLES, PART XI: Moving On Up, and Other Recent Developments

The New ViewThis past weekend, my fellow teachers and I finally moved into our new dorms (see my new view at right). This is a move I’d been expecting since I first arrived in Korea. Before I even began working at Daegu Gyeongbuk English Village, I’d been told not to settle in too snugly in the teacher’s dormitory as, in April, we’d be moving into fancy new dorms that were secluded from the main campus and, by extension, from the children that overrun it five days out of the week. So April turned into July, big deal. The point is, we’ve moved, and the new place is spectacular. I mean, even the old dorms were way better than anything ORU was able to slap together or hold together with duct tape, but my new address is, minus a few to-be-expected bugs to be worked out, without a doubt the nicest dormitory I’ve ever seen. Continue reading

THE KOREA KRONICLES, PART VIII: Blood, Sweat, and Tears

IMG_0019I have never had a nosebleed. Nope, not one. I say this because a lot of people find that little tidbit about me really interesting. “You mean you’ve never had a nosebleed?,” people ask. “Not even once?” I know, crazy right? I’m not sure about this, but maybe nosebleeds are like flammable flatus. Only about a third of humans have the bacterial cultures and genetic background necessary to produce methane-rich farts. And, yes, before you ask, farts are indeed flammable if they contain methane. That said, it’s not advisable for you to attempt to light your body’s natural gas on fire: if it does catch, it burns faster than it can exit your body and can burn your intestine (or so I’ve been told). True or not, it’s enough to make me not really want to try it as that’s an injury I’d be mortifyingly embarrassed to explain to an emergency room doctor. Continue reading

THE KOREA KRONICLES, PART VII: Why Han’guk Is Better Than Mi’guk

ChilgokHow do you tell your best friend he or she really doesn’t sing that well, despite whatever strong beliefs he or she may have to the contrary? How do you tell your wife, husband, or partner that while you definitely appreciated the thought and the effort, he or she should take more care to put two cups of sugar, not salt, into the cookie batter next time? How do you tell the people in your home country they need to extract their heads from their collective asses and get their shit together? I’ll be honest on the first two: hell if I know. The last one, however, is a much easier conversation to provoke. Simply remind America using cold, hard facts that this self-perpetuating mythos that its the greatest thing to ever happen to humanity amounts to little more than a national circle-jerk. Actually, it’s even worse than that: we’re talking about a massive sausage party consisting of old, balding, obese men who’ve long since passed their primes repeatedly telling each other they’re still God’s gift to women and, since it’s so often repeated, actually believe it. That’s really sad, folks.

Continue reading

THE KOREA KRONICLES, PART V: Behold, a Red Horse (and his Children)

The Red HorseIt doesn’t take too many years of living on Earth for a person to learn how wildly unpredictable it can be. Aside from all the quirky things the planet does, like earthquakes and hurricanes and tornadoes and sink holes and such, there’s humanity to deal with. Homo sapiens are peculiar creatures. We treat the earth of which we are made as a consumable resource that exists simply for that purpose. We race to toxify the only planet we yet know of that can sustain us. We take up arms when we can’t solve our disputes like the civilized, advanced, and rational beings we like to consider ourselves to be. We plant bombs in airplanes, subways, parked cars, schoolrooms, and marathon finish lines and kill scores of randomly unfortunate people because someone offended our religion, or killed our dads, or maybe just because our lives suck. Everyone seems to have their own “reason” for doing shitty things to other people. There is so much beauty to be seen in the face of humanity, yet so much grotesque ugliness to behold as well. Continue reading

The Verdict on Occupy: Part Rorschach Test, Part Breath of Fresh Air

Occupy Wall Street

One of my favorite things of all time. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

As the Occupy Wall Street movement was taking off and gaining national attention last fall, I was in my penultimate semester as a college student and I had just left my job as editor of the student newspaper. Never a dull moment.

The circumstances of the leaving had been somewhat less than ideal but it was, in the end, a good thing. Much as I loved the job, it taught me one very important lesson: I was not cut out for supervising abominably-underpaid, twenty-something student journalists while simultaneously serving in student leadership and taking 18.5 credit hours. I would suspect few people are and I continue to be very proud of my successor’s leadership of the publication, whose own blog, I might add, can teach you everything you ever wanted to know and more about preparing tasty delectables for your consumption. And she didn’t even ask me for the plug. Continue reading