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An Eye-Opening Experience

I know that, as a Westerner, I have different ingrained cultural norms, concepts of polite behavior, and ideas about what is socially acceptable than many Koreans.  During my year here, I have tried to remember that I am a guest in someone else’s culture, and that I should respect their ideas and practices.  Ric and I try to be culturally mindful and polite whenever possible.

But I’m about to throw all that out the window and have a good ol’ fashioned American freakout here for a minute.   You’ve been warned.

The Year of No New Clothes

On July 7, I came back to Busan after a week in the States, glad to see Ric again and ready to kick off our last year here in Korea.

If there’s one thing our first year here has taught us, it’s that our home in the States has too much stuff.  This might sound unusual coming from two people who currently have all their belongings divided between less than 100 square feet here in Korea and a small storage shed in the States, but it’s completely accurate.  Like most Americans, we have too much stuff.  

I am certainly more guilty than Ric, whose wandering spirit has imbued in him the natural urge to travel light.  I, on the other hand, put down roots.  I collect stuff–photos, books, programs, ticket stubs, keepsakes.  I stockpile things that I never actually get around to using–bath salts, fabric, craft supplies, things I swear I’ll find a use for one day.  

Summer Time

bikeandbridge1Summer has truly arrived and the air is thick with small birds, dragonflies and the high sawing call of locusts.  The students complain about the heat and I get cold in air conditioning.  It has been some time since I last wrote. Although not overtly ‘new’ anymore, the surprises this culture offers are even more enjoyable. Like the water fountain that sporadically spurts rhythmic jets to the tune of ‘Oh Micky you’re so fine’ and takeaway shops delivering to anywhere along the tree-covered riverside.

Sports Day

Half my lessons were cancelled last week so that the students could practice for Sports Day on Friday. A couple of students from each class would come to me, half an hour before their lesson was due to start, for permission to continue skipping practice instead. I’d pretend to think about it and then say ‘Ohhh, alright then’.  Their faces would light up, they’d thank me ardently before leaving, and I’d return to drinking tea and reading my book.  What can I say?  I choose to use my power for the good of all.

That situation lasted for a few days until I received a text from the captain of class 3:5, saying that I was to join their team for some sporting activities.  This scheme was initiated by my co-teacher who has taken it upon himself to offer me as many experiences of school life as possible. So it was that I swopped my teacher shoes for trainers, marked my book and went to learn dodge ball and a stick-jumping race.

This Is The Saddest Picture I’ve Ever Seen

Widow of slain civil rights activist Medger Evers

This is a photograph of the son of Medger Evers, a civil rights activist who was assassinated fifty years ago in Mississippi, which I discovered yesterday here.

The inevitable incompetence of being me.

I have received a few e-mails of late, for which of course many thanks, which indicated that we are all struggling to do better.

Let me call it “The Inevitable Incompetence of being Me”.

Anyone starting their own business will soon hit a wall, a wall where lack of experience, of knowledge, of the law, can have a detrimental effect on the progress of the business.  You might have a great idea, but it is impossible to take care of everything.  You might call it “critical mass”.  Critical mass is a situation where you have enough people doing something that things start working on their own.  Being alone (somewhat…), the amount of skill you bring to the product will always be limited.  Being able to extend your critical mass might make things go more fluent, but you have to pass the hardship first.

I guess to cross that wall makes the difference between success or not.

Last weekend I learned how to meditate!

Last weekend I learned how to meditate! RT @aclipse: Culture in Korea: Time For A Templestay!

Weekend Bingeing

Over the weekend I finally let myself go out and enjoy the bounty of summer. Being cooped up indoors ruthlessly studying did little for my positive outlook and even less for my backside. So I enlisted the help of some good friends to assist in all the eating and drinking I’d missed. This meant I finally tried the raved about vegan sushi roll from Sushi Berry.

Sushi Berry Vegan 2

Colours, Colours, Colours! A Good Vibes Post for My First Two Weeks Back in Ireland.

I’ve been back in Ireland for approximately two weeks. I promise that during this post I will not mention the weather too much. All I can say is that it has been unseasonal.


When we return to Ireland we spend most of time in my parents home and my old stomping ground, Beechdale in Dunboyne. At the best of times it’s a fairly ordinary housing estate on the outskirts of Dublin, albeit in County Meath. We also managed to get down to Kerry for a few days, to show the visitors around (the visitors being Herself’s oul pair who are over here with us).

Well, we’ve been doing plenty of touristing around here (yes there are some things worth doing) and also down in Kerry. It has been a good few weeks.

Some thoughts and a recap of last weeken

Some thoughts and a recap of last weekend’s wedding! RT @aclipse: Spring’s Last Hurrah: A Wedding Day in Korea

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