Making my way through Asia (and grad school) one adventurous step at a time.

Sunday, February 29, 2004

“It’s wave over wave, Sea over Bow, I’m as happy a man as the sea will allow”

Thanks to Great Big Sea for providing the soundtrack to today’s adventure. My 1st thought as I boarded the hydrofoil ferry to Japan this morning was “Why bother taking a boat if you can’t go out on the deck?” Soon I realized that in contrast to an airplane, if the ferry goes down, the life vest under your seat might actually do you some good. Secondly, you can watch the waves, so you can expect when you’ll crest or pitch….unlike crazy things like wind and airpockets that just lurk around in the sky waiting to shake your airplane.

On the ferry, they showed (with Japanese dubbing) the woodworking show with the woman who used to be on Anne of Green Gables, and Road to Avonlea.

Also on the ferry, I met a guy from Florida who was also going on a visa run. He knew where the Embassy was, so I tagged along with him until we got our paperwork done. After that, I wandered about for some time in search of my hotel. Eventually I found it, and it was wonderful! An absolutely perfect place to relax for a few days. In fact, after a nice hot bubble bath, I curled up for a ‘quick nap’ at 4pm…and didn’t wake up again until the next morning!! I had an intense 16 hour hibernation to help me recover from months of GO!GO!GO! Ahhhhhhhhhh. Maybe years from now, I’ll look at such a long snooze as a waste of my time in Japan. But right now, I think it's worth it.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Ahh. I've arrived in Daegu, and am totally congested. I can hardly breathe, but I'm too excited to care.

My new room isn't ready to move in yet, so I'm crashing on John's floor for the night - but I've seen my new place and I love it!! It's small, but bright and clean and new, and has a great view of the mountains. Very nice.

Tomorrow I officially move into my new place, but won't actually sleep there until Thursday night. grrrr.

Happy - excited - and going to sleep.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

And so begins my last full day in Daejeon. I got up early, feeling like a big slimy cat had crawled into my lungs and had kittens. Not a good start to the day.

Now however, it's 11:00am, and the movers have just left with 7 boxes, 2 huge suitcases, and a bicycle, which they will deliver to my door in Daegu for only $55 !! Not bad at all. Everything else I'll carry on the train with me tomorrow. I also need to find room for a big Astro Boy alarm clock that Mike gave me for a going away gift. The thing is hilarious. When the alarm rings, it plays music, and makes 'blast off' noises, and he sings something in Korean. It's pretty funny.

Mike and Paula have fled the apartment for the morning, (after doing a stellar cleaning job!) so now I have a few minutes to get used to the idea that I really am leaving - before the place fills up again for my goodbye open house.

Yesterday, I was finally permitted to tell my students that I was leaving. The seemed confused, and a little sad. I was too. They're mostly good kids. Then, last night, I went out with my favourite Korean friends 'Ken' and 'Jenny' to the Outback steakhouse. Those two make me laugh and smile and keep me sane. I'm going to miss them tons.

I may not have any new postings for a while until I get settled in Daegu, but I'll try.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

2 days from now, I'll be finished my current job.
4 days from now, I'll be in my new apartment.
7 days from now, I'll be in Japan.
10 days from now, I'll be exhausted.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

"The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as substitute for blood plasma." ...a good tip to keep in mind next time you're stuck on a deserted island, and are feeling a little anemic.

Ugh. I've come down with a cold. I'd planned to spend most of the day packing, but now it's 8pm and I'm ready for bed...and still haven't packed yet. I keep forgetting how much I hate moving. ugh.

On a brighter note, I bought an MP3 player today to keep me company on my trip to Japan. I'm listening to Duke Ellington right now, and have a happy smile spread across my face....although that could also be the effect of the cold medication. Either way, it's nice.

I only have 5 teaching days left here in Daejeon - and the woman who was supposed to replace me just backed out. So if you, or anyone you know wants to come to Korea ASAP, we'd love to have you!!!! Send me an e-mail, and we'll talk.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

"Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes." ~ thanks again to Jason and Stephanie for that useful tidbit. I immediately cancelled my ticket on the trans-pacific donkey caravan that I'd been planning on riding home next summer. It looks like I'll be flying afterall.

Today was pretty taxing. Not a single one of my 7 classes went smoothly. However, my night class did do their homework (a rare event) - which was to prepare a History lesson for me about Korean history. There are only two students, and they stood up at the front of the room for almost a full hour regaling me with tales of Korean history. Dates, Kings, Generals, etc. They're only 1/2 way through, so they said they can finish the rest of it next time! I'm looking forward to it. With that exception though, I spend most of my day mentally counting down my days here.

(8 more teaching days to go....)

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Thanks to my friends Jason and Stephanie, I now have a list of tantalizingly trivial information in my inbox. I've decided to start each new blog with an interesting tidbit. Today's is "Turtles can breathe through their butts". There - now don't you feel smarter already!?

In other news, I spent some time at a PlayStation room today (where my wonder-friend Ken works). I was playing a new game - something about mobsters in London and a car chase. I wasn't interested in the plot...I was just trying to go for a nice drive around London and try to see some familiar sights. Unfortunately, the mobsters kept shooting me, and I never got very far.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Sometimes you feel like a nut...

Since today is the 1st full moon of the new Lunar year, it is auspicious to eat nuts. I asked my students if they ate nuts today. One bright young man answered "No, I don't like any kind of nuts. I don't like peanuts, and I don't like doughnuts"....but he didn't realize he was saying anything funny.

In another class, I am stuck with a textbook that is way beyond the capabilities of my 6th grade students. Most of the students in that class just finished a book about clowns, colours, and shapes. In their current book, both the vocabulary and the subject matter are way off base. Consider today's scenario: The title in itself was incomprehensible "Stereotypes: What are your initial reactions to the following occupations?" right. After lots of drawing and re-phrasing, they finally understood - then we started working our way down the list of occupations....only to be stopped short by occupations #8. The conversation went as follows...

-Students: "Teacher....nude model....what?"
-Me: "uhhhh, like a fashion model, but naked."
-Students: "Teacher....naked....what?"
-Me: "A person in a magazine - a model - but with no clothes"
-Students: "Teacher, draw!" (often, when they don't understand a word, I'll draw it on the board for them. This works well for some things, not so well for others)
-Me: "NO! No, no,no, no. It's a model. (nods of comprehension), but no shirt, no pants, no ..." (the lights go on in their eyes)
-Students: "Ugh - teacher! next question, please, next question!!"
-Me: whew.

I don't know who chose that textbook for a bunch of elementary school kids, but today's lesson wasn't an uncommon one. They'll be finished at the end of the month, so hopefully their next book will be a little more appropriate.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Two things happened today - one made me remember I was in Korea, and the other made me think I was in Canada.

When I was coming home after work, I could hear the distinctive sound of the instruments the Buddhist monks play. I thought it sounded a little loud to be coming from the monastary on the hillside. I was right. As I approached the intersection near my house, there were about 4 or 5 monks sitting on the corner with about 12-15 women behind them singing and bowing in the buddhist way. That made me remember I was in Korea.

Later, as I was running some errands, snow started to fall. Huge fluffy flakes coming straight down from a black sky. It was beautiful. That made me think I was in Canada.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Of roses and protests....

One of my co-workers broke up with her boyfriend recently, so yesterday 100 longstem red roses appeared at the office. They were gorgeous. I've never seen so many roses in a single bouquet before - and they teachers room smelled fabulous for the rest of the day. Wonderful for us...not so wonderful for they guy that bought them, because I don't think they're going to do him any good.

In other news, students at the university I'll be working at next month are in the midst of massive demonstrations. They are protesting tuition hikes by staging huge sit-ins. The protests haven't interrupted the teaching schedule, but they have blocked access to the main building (where our new offices are going to be) - so we'll be working out of the old offices for a little while longer. It makes no difference to me however, since I've never seen the old offices, or the new.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Thanks to Ben for the link to countries visited. As you'll notice, there are still lots of green 'unvisited' places yet to be explored!! I cheated and put Japan on, even though I won't be there until the end of the month. (And Singapore is just too tiny to show up)

It looks like I'll have to start working on Africa and South America next...

My roomate just came home with the movie "Maid in Manhattan"...I think I'm going to go hide in my room.
World66, the travel guide you write: visited countries: "

create your own visited country map
or write about it on the open travel guide"