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Time for a Recap!

And the unveiling of some old photos I found on my phone. I haven’t really posted on my WordPress blog in around a month, so I figured it was time for a quick recap of what I’ve been up to.

I’ve been taking Taekwondo three times a week, and I am now a green belt! Last month, I was invited to a Taekwondo picnic right outside of Busan. There was food, water gun fights, fishing, and a lot of general merriment.


The Grand Master setting up our tent

On holiday

Sorry to disappoint you but I’ll be off on Holiday for a week.

Mission Statement

Music. It’s been part of me for every step I’ve taken in this life. I’ve studied, taught, performed, promoted and produced. Since moving to Korea 4 years ago, music has taken control. This has opened the door to a vibrant music scene that perhaps many people don’t realize is happening right under their noses. Even when Korean promotors and bands actively pursue foreigners for attendance at their shows, all the necessary info is rarely translated or distributed properly. There are amazing artists that are doing their thing in dingy basement clubs and most expats never know.

I’m no insider. But I do find myself regularly trying to get my friends to see bands that I find incredibly interesting. Hopefully, if you’re reading this blog, you’ll learn about a new venue or festival or band that will change the way you think about arts in Busan.

Thoughts Before Departure

People love creating metaphors about life, especially involving books. Those metaphors are really misleading.

I’ve been referring to my upcoming sojourn in Korea as “a new chapter” in my life. With that comes the expectation of a blank page, a clean slate.  A lot of expectation, actually. And I’ve fallen through this rabbithole before.

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.

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