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

Saturday, May 28, 2005

I read in the news this morning that North Korea has developed a candy to help make it's kids grow up big and strong. It sounds like a great idea. Then, later on in the article I read "Unlike sugar-packed and chocolate-covered sweets, the North is hoping that children in the reclusive state will enjoy munching on their nutritional candy made of seaweed, beans, carrots and sesame seeds, the newspaper said." Ummm, maybe it's just me, but SEAWEED, BEANS, and CARROTS are not candy!!! I'm trying to imagine all the Twix lovin' kids back home throwing a temper tantrum in the grocery store because they want some of that 'seaweed and carrot' candy.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Sometimes, my students worry my with their observations. I've never been one to wear a lot of makeup, and my eyeshadow is usually barely noticeable. I tried a new shade the other day, still barely visible. (kind of like my mom paints the house, then tells me "this white wall is green. this white wall is yellow, and this white wall is peach") Like I said, barely noticable. Anyway, I walked into my Education class yesterday and the first thing they said was "OH! Teacher! Eyeshadow! Colour Change!" Just like that. exclamation marks and all. They can't remember to use a verb in their sentences, but they notice I've changed my eyeshadow. They're a great class.

It's Festival time again here on campus, which is always lots of fun outside, but not so fun in class. All my students are either absent because of fatigue, and/or hangovers or else they're in class suffering from fatigue and/or hangovers. So I've dedicated this week to a review games day and a take-home assignment day. So far it seems to be working well.

Tracy and I went for a walk around campus after dinner to say 'hello' to our students and take in the festivities. In the process we wound up at the pottery sale table. Now, it's not enough that tomorrow we're taking a semesters worth of our own pottery to the kiln, and that in 2 weeks we'll have a house bursting with new wobbly bits of clay that are supposed to resemble flower pots and soup bowls. No, we had to buy some more wobbly bits of clay that other people made too! I got a little spoon rest for $1 and a piece that's shaped like a bag that hangs on the wall for $12. I think when I grow up, I'll probably see if I can make my whole house out of clay.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

We had one of our World Famous Birthday Barbeque Bash's tonight. (3 birthdays were being celebrated together) As usual, we sang 'Happy Birthday" in as many laguages as we could, which means I think we sang 7 versions tonight. As you can see from the picture, it was a quasi-costume party (meaning costumes were optional). AND I am excited to say that the birthday pinata has been added to the fun. I hope it becomes a regular tradition. It was tremendous fun for us, and provided just as much amusement to the Korean onlookers with whom we shared the BBQ pit. So, after many hours of fun and frolic, I'm going to go to sleep.  Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 12, 2005

It's 5am. I'm awake.

It's 5:30am. I'm still awake, I'm hungry and I need to pee. I get up and make some coffee, put on a sweater and go sit on my balcony. It rained last night, and the ground is still wet, and the air has been washed clean. It's overcast, so there's no sunrise, but the sky is as light as it's going to get today. I think about going for a bike ride (at this point, the thought does occur to me that I was abducted by aliens in my sleep and it's the implanted microchip that's doing the thinking). It's still a full 3 hours before my usual time to rise & shine. I read a couple of journal articles about differences between German and English rhetorical style....and I'm STILL awake by the end of the 2nd article. A bird lands with a splash in the pond, and from where I'm sitting I can see a black and white cat trotting along with something orange hanging from it's mouth. Then I look at the orange and black and white cat curled up sleeping on my lap. I think about how different the cat's lives are. Catticus is clean and cozy and well fed and plays and sleeps a lot. The black and white cat (I've seen it many times before) lives down the hill in a garbage heap. It's dirty and skittish and also well fed, but judging from what in the garbage pile, I doubt it's nutritious. Then I think about the news lately, and picture the people in Darfour, Bosnia, Bagdhad, Afganistan, and I know I'm missing many more. - and I think about me curled up on my balcony sipping a hot cup of coffee. No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to get it settled in my head that we all get one life, and while I"m living mine as it is, so many others spend their lives so differently. It's something I've been thinking about for a while, but it's like trying to eat a rubber grape. No matter how much you chew on it, it still looks the same when you spit it out again. (I know this, because we used to have rubber grapes when I was a kid. I chewed on 'em a lot, and they still looked the same when I spit 'em out again. If you've ever bought rubber grapes at a garage sale at our house, you might want to give 'em a wash).

And that's what happens in my head at 5:30am when I'm awake, hungry, and need to pee.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Happy Mother's Day!!

Roses are Red,
My mom's hair's turning Gray,
And I love her more,
Then this lousy poem can say.

I love you Mom! Thank you for loving me, and praying for me, and for letting me eat raw cookie dough, and making me vanilla milkshakes when I had chickenpox, and reminding me to slow down 'cuz I have to pay my own speeding tickets. (I think there might be a metaphor somewhere in there.)

If you're not my mom (and, well, let's face it ~ most of you aren't), but you're sombody else's mom, then Happy Mother's Day to you too.

Friday, May 06, 2005

My friend Mike also has a Blog (see the link on the sidebar). His Blog is titled "Something About Nothing", and each entry begins with "Something About...." and then his topic for the day. I think it's a great idea. Now, everytime I sit down to write an entry, I want to start it with "Something About...." It's catchy.

If I were to follow Mike's example, todays post would be titled "Something About Yellow Puddles". Those of us who were raised in the snowier parts of the world understand the wisdom behind the admonition "Don't eat yellow snow", so I'm familiar with the existence of yellow snow. Until moving to Korea though, I was never familiar with yellow puddles. Now I am. As I've mentioned before, we've been covered in Yellow Dust for weeks now. Even after new clouds of the stuff stopped moving in, we hadn't had any rain yet to wash it away. Cars, streets, tables, desks, bikes, etc. were all covered with a heavy layer of yellow dust. Last night, the rain finally came by the bucketful. (Hooray!) We watched bright yellow rivulets of water flow past our apartments. This morning, puddles rimmed with bright yellow rings were everywhere. But if you step in 'em, you wind up with bright yellowness clinging to your shoes. So, they're pretty, but not much fun to play in.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Hooligan (n.) : a cruel and brutal fellow

Newspapers all over the world have picked up the bickering going on between the American and North Korean presidents. I've skimmed through a number of them, and have noticed that while Australian, Indian and South African papers have included the word "Hooligan" as part of the name-calling. I've noticed though, and I admit I haven't done extensive research, that the American news agencies have left that word out. They carry pretty much the same content as the international papers, but they don't mention that Kim Jung Il called Bush a hooligan. Perhaps we've watered down the meaning of Hooligan in the west, and American journalists didn't think it would carry the same import as the other nasty names the two grown men have been calling each other. I'm sure I didn't know it meant "cruel and brutal" as the dictionary says it does. I thought it was more along the lines of rowdy and ill-mannered. Whatever the reason, it's always a little disheartening to hear kindergarten-style name calling from two world leaders. What's next? They'll break each others crayons and pee in the sandbox? Or, start in on the ever-popular "My nukes are bigger than your nukes" taunt. Whatever it is, it's not looking good for our respective neighbours.