I woke up this morning with the buzz and dings from my various devices going off. My blurry eyes focussed on the sentence “I am sorry to have to tell you this but Dave passed away this morning….” I scrambled to turn on the computer as if checking my email would somehow make things different. Sadly, as my brain reread the messages and the new ones that followed, it was becoming clear. I just lost my best friend.
If you are wondering why I am writing such a personal post on what should be a photography blog about photography in and around Korea, well Dave was the reason that I came to Korea and even started into photography. He taught me so much in the first few years and was responsible for my first major accomplishment in the field. I would not be the man I am today if it were not for him.
Proper classes don't start until tomorrow, so I get one more night of fitful sleep before I face the students once again. Today was just the entrance ceremony and a chance for the students to collect their textbooks. The one stressful thing about the ceremony is that they bring all the teachers up on stage, in groups of about ten, to introduce them to the new and returning students. Last year I didn't realize this was going to happen until I was being pushed onto stage, but fortunately this year I was more prepared.
It's finally the first day. In theory vacation is something you're supposed to enjoy, but the allure fades after the months drag on. I'm not great at self-motivating, but I also hate feeling as if I'm not accomplishing something, so vacation always ends up either driving me crazy or making me gloomy. Or both! Such a lovely combo those two make.
In my defense, a lot has been going on. I did manage to buy my car, but not after what were probably the most stressful 48 hours of my life. Buying the car itself was pretty easy, but trying to get insurance...well, the phrase "when it rains, it pours" is pretty accurate here. Okay, story time.
So, I was cutting it pretty close, budget-wise, but I was pretty sure I had everything worked out. I'd heard from various people a ballpark range for insurance for a year, and naturally I divided that over 12 months and figured it was totally doable. That was, of course, where I made my first mistake.
As usual, I managed to go for weeks without posting, despite my best intentions. There's something about vacation that just sucks away what little ability I ever had to stick to deadlines or regimes, and suddenly it's been weeks and nothing at all productive has been done, even though I actually have more free time. It's a great mystery of my own personal universe.
It’s about noon at the Dunphy house on the east coast of the USA, in sunny but chilly Middletown, New Jersey. Dad just put a small sausage pizza in his NuWave countertop oven and I am writing a blog about it. The pizza from ShopRite was 50% off, which means it will be even more delicious.
Meanwhile, back in Busan and Gimhae, South Korea, 2015 celebrations are well underway. And from here it feels like a dream. Or something long ago. Or something that hasn’t happened yet.
But, it’s something I’ll be back in the midst of in a few days after an 18-day sojourn over several seas. Thus, all the time, sleeping pills, early, early mornings and compromised digestive tracts will need to be calibrated anew. Shit. Maybe a poor choice of words.
I know, eating dumplings for breakfast sounds weird, but in our defense A) we slept in pretty late and B) don't be such a square.
Hopefully you've recovered from the feast that was Part 1, because I have yet more food to talk to you about. I pretty much always have food to talk about, so it's a wonder I ever write about anything else on this blog. First stop of the day? Dumplings.
Long time no see! Or not see, exactly, but...well...anyways. Sorry I didn't write for so long. I got my first bad cold of the season, and while it tried to knock me down, I got up again because, to quote Chumbawumba, "you're never gonna keep me down." I've been working on a longer post about my teaching style and serious stuff like that, but it's taking too long, so instead I'll take you on a food tour of Jeonju! Because who doesn't love food?
As you get older, birthdays get...complicated. It used to be so easy. Cake and candles, invite your friends over, a pile of presents, rinse, repeat. But now that I'm older, it's more of an annoying obligation that anything else at times. It feels as if I'm expected to have a party, expected to go out, when often all I want to do is stay home with a pizza.
I'll be moving soon, and this fills me with some conflicting emotions. On the one hand, my current place is a sort of glorified dorm room, with no kitchen to speak of and barely enough space to do, well, anything. On the other hand, my landlords are some of the sweetest people I've ever met. It's not unlike renting an apartment from your friend's grandparents.
My students, and I think most language students, struggle with the desire to be perfect. Often, when I ask my older students a simple question that I know they understand, I'm still met with...silence. Averted eyes. Maybe if we don't move she can't see us.
I recently realized that I am a complete hypocrite. Well, in all honesty I've known this for a while, especially when it comes to giving advice, but I had the fact practically thrown in my face the other night. As a teacher of a foreign language, I'm constantly trying to stress communication over perfection. By which I mean, it is more important that you can talk to someone, get your point across, even if your grammar is barely grammar and you're speaking mainly in nouns and hand gestures. Were you able to buy the coffee you wanted? Did they answer your question? Laugh at your joke? A+