I Think I’m Turning Ko-re-an

“My very chains and I grew friends…”
—Byron, The Prisoner of Chillon

The 22nd Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Marathon!



Our Weekend: Gyeongju

Recently I've been feeling a bit 50/50 about being back in Korea. Nothing seemed new or special anymore, the workload had increased, and then the recent news seems to be worrying everyone at home! A couple of weeks ago Nick and I decided to sign up for a trip to Gyeongju with a tour group called WINK, or When in Korea, and I'm so happy we did as I can feel my enthusiasm for my decision to stay seeping back to me now.

Gyeongju was the ancient capital of the Silla dynasty hundreds of years ago, which is a big deal, and considering the amount of times that Korea has virtually been burnt to the ground and rebuilt through war and invasion, Gyeongju is a gem of history amongst its concrete sister towns and cities.

The Joy Of Creating Cinema

Yesterday I started spontaneously filming anything interesting I could find with my phone, rushing about the city of Gyeongju on my bike, shooting the flowers in the trees, the train rushing along beneath the sunset, the traffic racing over the bridge, the takeout tents and the neon signs flashing over Hanbok rental stores. I had been instructed several hours earlier by one of my friends to just, like, film Korean shit—shoot it, edit it together really fast, throw in some good music, put your book cover in at the end, and you’re good to go. Everyone knows that ebook commercials are all the rage these days, another friend reasoned, and a decent one might help increase my exposure; if I simply release the book right now without any kind of a change to my dismal promotion methods, no one will buy it.

A Gyeongju Day in Spring


Last week my friends went on a last hurrah trip to the beautiful city of Gyeongju (same place I’ll be doing my race in next week). Laura and Analie left Korea this past weekend, so it was a last epic trip with them. Plus it’s spring, the cherry blossoms were starting to blossom and we wanted to ride some scooters. The trip in summary:

The Coffee Alchemist At Schumann Gwa Clara

Spring is finally here!

Training You know what that means! I am challenging myself this year and trying out my first 10K. If anyone knows me, you know I hate exercise. I just never liked it. The closest I get to it is through salsa and other forms of dancing. But Dave and Matt are runners, and like to [...]

President Park

Yesterday in class I suggested that my students say “What do you think of…” instead of “Howabout…?”, since the latter is a pseudo-Konglish-y phrase thrown around all the time by even the most advanced learners as a segue from one topic into another—”Howabout Ameleekano?” was the inspirational disaster hurled my way in a fascinating discussion of coffee preferences (“Why do you like it?” “It is very delicious.”)—and as a more interesting example and possible kindler of more fruitful conversations I said the students could ask each other what they thought of Park Geun-hye, the new president of South Korea and the daughter of the dictator and (more-or-less) founder of the country, Mr. Controversy, Park Chung-hee. There was at once a collective gasp from the entire classroom. Eighteen students gaped their mouths and eyes: I had committed some sort of faux pas.

The Unknown Gyeongju

Cherry blossoms? Who gives a damn? I’ve been to Seokguram. I’ve seen Bulguksa a thousand times. I’m going to have a seizure if I even glance at the tumuli again. The idea of wandering inside the Heavenly Horse Tomb fills my heart with bile. To hell with Gyeongju! I’ve seen everything worth seeing! I’m going to Japan!

There are already green buds on the trees here, and warmth is flowing through the air: the cherry blossoms are coming, and when they arrive in the first few weekends of April the city is going to be so mobbed with Korean tourists you won’t be able to stick out an arm without knocking off someone’s poker visor. On top of that, you’ve probably already come here a few times by now, and you undoubtedly think you’ve extracted every last drop of fun from the palpitating fruit that is the city of Gyeongju, but you couldn’t be more wrong. As one of my friends said, in Gyeongju, there’s so much to Gyeong-do!

Lunar New Year – A Road Trip Adventure


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