Thursday, 28 July 2011

Korea Trip 2011 Wrap - Up Party Program

Because if I do not write a trip-wrapping up post now, I likely will never do so, and thereby will disappoint myself and possibly others. So! In a convenient multi-list format, here are things about the trip I haven't yet mentioned:


* I was not in Busan. For some reason I thought we would be in Busan, but we were not. I was either mistaken or misled or simply a spreader of lies to all I know. But the places I went were: Incheon, Suwon, Seoul, Hwaesong/Dongtan (like, a suburb of Suwon?) and Pyeongchang. Those were the places. Not one day, moment or second in Busan.

* The food was not weird. It was delicious. Some of it was unfamiliar, but I imagine I'll find myself at Korean Restaurants more often these days.

* Formality: maybe it was the camp format, or a concession to American Ways, but it really wasn't terribly formal. I've been in the houses of relatives where I felt less at ease.


* as I believe I mentioned before, ten year old boys are ten year old boys no matter where you go. even if they are familiar with, know how to deal with and are well equipped to handle school, they would still rather put chairs on their heads and yell "Teacher! I am Transformer!"

* they love to catch Dragonflies, these kids.

* anna (many children used english names), a 10 year old girl who looked about seven, had braces and was generally quiet, comes up to me the day before departure: "teacher-- you go seattle tommorrow?"yes.
the next day she approaches me with a pen, rolls up my sleeve and writes "I love you. Bey! --anna"


* Korea is very Korean. White people in Seattle love to talk about how very White Seattle is, but it's fricken' London compared to Seoul. 99% of Korea is Koreans. . .

. . . but that doesn't mean the city isn't international-capable. The country. Signs in Korean and English. German tv stations in the hotels. Parisian Baguettes. Etc. The whole culture has it's arms open. Which is maybe easier to do when you can present an obviously unified front? I dunno.

* The buildings are tall, but somehow I don't think I'd go insane living there. Maybe it's the inbuilt parks between apartment buildings or the fact that I know in the back of my head I don't speak the language and thereby a lot of the noise would be rendered useless to me, but I think I could do it.

* Not that I'm planning to move.

* There. Necessarily.

other things? maybe. maybe more pictures. maybe links. maybe k-pop videos. but I know how I work and how this blog is and I don't like making promises.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Asahi(koreatrip #7)

. . . is the Budweiser of Japan. Accordingly, it tastes way better than Budweiser, but was not worth the 8,500 won I spent on my first drink in two weeks at Incheon International.

I've spent about 60,000 won this trip, but much of it today, as time was running out. Flight boards in 15 minutes; accordingly, I'll post a full(ish) recap, with pictures and links and snark and sincerity, later. But three things about the airport:

*"tasteful" korean porn totally available at the the book/video store. "ero blockbuster" the only words in english.
*there is a Dunkin' Donuts here. There is not one in Seatac.
*of COURSE it is Wi-fi-ed. Of course there is an internet lounge. Of course you can charge your ipod at one of the free ipod charging stations past the security checkpoint.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

two photos(koreatrip #6)

we went on a walk up to some buddhist shrines. this is suzanne in a hollowed out log. because of blogger-in-hotel-lobby-shortcomings, this post has taken 20 minutes, and only two pictures instead of like, eight. also, I was posting blind (going only by th ephoto number.)


Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Pedagogy (koreatrip #5)

Day two of teaching went better than day one. This is always the case, you'd think, but it is not, in fact, always the case. (how's that for some bible-style obfuscation?) I'd rather day two be good and things get progressively better, than start good and fall flat.

I'm writing this from the Kensington Flora hotel lobby, which means this, too, shall be a short post. To prove I'm in korea: 아나댐; 나ㅓㅇ댜맺 쟈뎌개누

no idea.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

You'd Think. . .(koreatrip #4)

that in a city like Suwon, next to an international hotel, there would be at least ONE place selling postcards. Cheap, tacky postcards. That I can send to friends, enemies and loved ones.

This, so far, has not been my experience. In further minor frustrations, my camera battery is dead, rendering the picture uploadery I was hoping for undoable at this time. In four hours I'll be on a bus, with the rest of the WBC team, to the countryside, where the real meat of english-teaching will begin.

In the meantime, packing, church, coffee, attempting not to slip into food coma simply from the residual hospitality of the last three days.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Shabu Shabu (koreatrip #2)

today we: went to a Korean Folk Village, looked at ways people in Korea lived as the Euroamerica we know today was still in it's nascency. Visited a Korean high school. Went to the Nam June Paik Art Center. I wish I'd have had more time there, possibly alone, but getting to go was big to me. Ate Shabu Shabu, a dish Japan stole from Mongolia, then Korea stole from Japan. I am so full and warm right now.

The humidity here is pervasive. Tommorrow we're heading to Seoul.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

International Dateline.(koreatrip #1)

Traveling over the pacific, one skips a day. Arrived in Incheon last night to travel over the longest bridge I've known to float. Korean Air is the poshest sort of economy class and they are, as you can see, very proud of their flight attendant's poise, posture and legs.

The flight was ten hours. I watched five movies. Cedar Rapids, Win Win, The Lincoln Lawyer, Ceremony, and Season of the Witch. Brief rundown: Ed Helms is good at both mocking and venerating good-hearted naive types (and in this way the movie felt strangely old-fashioned), Paul Giamatti Giamattis pretty hard, but not quite oscar-level Giamatti-ing, pretty good, a Max Winkler joint and where have I heard that name before? kinda smug but pulls it together at the end and THE BEST MOVIE EVER.

Hotel is good, jetlag bad, gotta hit up a Folk Village.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011


in an hour I leave for:

We will arrive there in twelve hours.

I should make sure I've got my toothbrush packed and at least one light pair of socks.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

This time next week, I will be in Korea.


This isn't something I've really kept blogupdated about, because taking a trip is exciting, preparing for a trip is tedious. Preparing for a trip when said preparations require frequent trips out of town*, taking time off an already too-lite workload and asking people for money so you can go on said trip, well, that is tedious, exhausting, frustrating and one must make the choice for it to not be embarrassing**.

That said, as I've observed elsewhere, consistently impressed with the support and generosity of friends and family. So much to do in the next few days.

That said, amuse/distract yourself with this bit of lite-political musing. There's a few points he draws a bit broad, but hey.

*Stanwood, which is no Busan, but still
**I've largely successfully made that choice, and no one's made me feel like I should be be embarrassed. I think "embarrassed" is just a place I find myself easily.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

News From Home

the t-shirt factory burned down and now he have nothing to wear on the tops of our bodies. your uncle painted his torso with the melted skin of the factory workers. the rest of town saw that and liked it. now we walk around beating our chests and thinking of clever designs. Some of the knitting circle sold their sewing machines to pay for glue. Skin gets flakey. There'd been a plan, approved by the mayor and everything, to boost civic pride by creating apparel based on the sillouhette of the water tower and catfish billboard by city limits. The idea, your cousin tells me, is to sell them to chiseled men and tall women to wear sexily in other
states, but now all our cloth is smoke. No one can put our town on their bodies, the jobs are all grumpy and angry, fruit is sad and wilty and we've been removed from wikipedia. This is what the mayor told us when he visited for dinner. We had my famous lamb-chops and he asked about you, what you're doing, I said I wasn't sure because your letters are so vague. We all had a laugh about that, except
for your aunt, who is not well and refuses to stay awake in church. When you come, bring anynews clippings about your activities, some smelling salts and sweaters. It will be winter by then,
I'm sure.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Falling down is not magic

Thursday's Hoarse reading--complete with welsh magicians, cake, lots of awesome readers and deepstomach laughter-- and last night's Drink for the Kids (benefitting Vera) were good but sitting completely alone in my house without music on, tacos impending, this is good. Soon I will watch Peep Show and sleep.

But! It should be noted that I'm not just imagining how fun the Hoarse! readings are, or how (coughcoughterriblewordalert) "vibrant" and "diverse" (ughgross) Seattle's "literary community" (AAAAAAAAAAGGGGH!) is, as evidenced by Emily Wittenhagen's awesomely enthused manifesto of the this is why we do this variety.

I like the part about Jurassic Park.