Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
I think this festival is a testament to cabin fever rather than about any fish. There was ice fishing, Korean sledding, ice skating, four wheeling on ice, dune buggies on ice and generally just people on ice. Cold as it was, it was a good time.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
The kids were great. They were pretty high level English speakers and surprisingly anxious to learn. My co-teacher was awesome and she set up the math unit all by herself. We also got to teach outdoor sports and despite being the middle of January that worked out as well. We taught the kids hockey and American football and only one kid got wanged in the face with a hockey stick and had to go to hospital. That's pretty good for us. Another one of our children walked face first into a razor wire fence and had to get stitches, but that's another story. Overall the whole thing worked very well, despite my attempts to hate it.
If you're a Korean kid, aged 11, who doesn't know any better; then Lotte World is amazing. If you're a disgruntled waygook-en then Lotte World is laughable. I guess I'm jaded because I hit up Magic Mountain in California over the summer so I expected miles of roller coasters. I got meters of kiddie rides. Still, it's all about the kids, right? (That's a serious question.) They took me on all their favorite rides and ate way too much junk food. They had a blast and that's all that matters; that and I didn't have to pay a dime.
Despite this promotional video, there are plans to visit the Hwacheon Ice Festival. I think the script for this piece of marketing media was translated directly from Korean to English with no consideration for cultural language differences. That accounts for its ridiculousness and the utter irritation it can cause upon viewing. I believe hell is watching a documentary of my life with this narrator doing the voice overs. Still, the festival promises to be interesting.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
-My grandpa taught me how to throw fireworks. While my parents were telling me to light them and run away, he was showing me how to toss black cats.
-My grandpa made me stilts.
-My grandpa set up some hay bails for archery practice for me. I was always much better with a bow than he was.
-I always thought grandpa was a much better harmonica player than a fiddle player.
-My interest in investing and the stock market is owed to my grandpa. At the ripe age of eight him and my grandma taught me how to read the stock quotes in the daily paper.
-If napping were a sport, then my grandpa would be the Michael Jordan of napping. I'm trying to follow in his footsteps.
-My grandpa has been to all seven continents. In that I am also trying to follow in his footsteps.
-My grandpa could be quite controlling at times. When I was 13 he deemed that I was too skinny and that my sister could loose a few pounds. To remedy this situation he would take food away from my sister and give it to me.
-I never knew anyone who could talk to everyone like my grandpa.
-I was always told that swearing was a sin and I believed it was a sin you could go to hell for, so I was always shocked when grandpa and his brothers would get together and every other word was "goddamn , hell, or son of a bitch". Sometimes I think they just swore at each other with no topic of conversation.
-I remember watching the Friday night line up with my grandparents "Dukes of Hazard" followed by "The Incredible Hulk" and then "Dallas". I always thought Dallas was terminally boring.
-My grandpa used to grab me, hold me down and scratch his whiskers against my face. This minor form of torture always entertained him.
-My grandma and grandpa taught me how to play blackjack at an early age.
-My grandpa was a paradox. He scrimped and saved all his life but would give money freely to the grand children. When the can opener broke he waited until can openers went on sale to buy one, but he and my grandma bought me a new car for graduation. They then bought me another one when the first got old and run down. He is the reason I am now a spoiled brat.
-Grandpa taught me (by force) to eat my vegetables.
-I got to go up in one of the planes my grandpa went sky-diving out of. I was 16 and he was 70. I remember him just kind of toppling out of the plane and he was amazed how at how fast he fell away from me.
There hasn't been a lot of death in my family so I'm kind of confused at how to deal with this. Of course I'm sad, but I'm sad for myself knowing that I won't see him again in this life. I've been so lucky to know my grandpa for so long. So much of what I try to achieve in this life is based on what he achieved. He's always been a role model and I count it as a blessing that we were so close. I think the only thing to say is he will be missed.
Saturday, January 05, 2008
For better or worse the holiday season is over. It was an memorable one that will be easy to forget. There were some great things that happened in there and then some points where nothing happened at all.
On Christmas eve we gathered at Scott and Allison's place for some Christmas Eve cheer (Yagermeister), had a traditional Christmas Eve dinner (marinated rib meat and kimchi), and then sang some Christmas carols (Born to be Wild at the no-re-bong). After that we opened presents delivered by the Christmas platypus and bathed in egg-nog. I'll let you decide which parts are true and which parts are false.
New Year's Eve
I hate to break it to everyone, there are other Wyoming people in Korea (hold the Brokeback comments please). Sarah and Jason Behuniak have arrived and are teaching English in Ulsan, about four hours south of Seoul. Since the distance between our cities is a little much, I won't be able to see as much of them as I would like. Still, Kat and I have visited their quaint little chunk of Korea and this New Year's they came up and visited ours.
I learned that I love playing tour guide. We went to the palace, to some markets, to the museum, and we only got lost once. The good thing Sarah and Jason showed up on some of the clearest days I've ever seen in Seoul. They also showed up on some of the coldest days I've ever seen as well. Bars are pretty warm so we took them to a few of those on New Year's eve and we all had a blast. I did the kind of dancing that makes me shudder the next day when I think about it, but that's all part of the fun.
The Long Bout of Dullness in Between
In between the two holidays was a lot of time. Time for what? Not much. It's one of those things where I swear I'm going to get this and this and this done, and somehow I don't do any of it. I liken my will power this holiday season to a clunker automobile in sub-zero temperatures; it takes a lot of effort to get me started and once I get to my destination it's too late to do anything. Here's what I accomplished:
-Played Final Fantasy. My friends called me a geek for playing this one. Thankfully I came to the conclusion that Final Fantasy Tactics is a boring assed game and there are better uses of my time. Too bad it took me four days to realize this.
- Bought a new camera; but I don't take any pictures with it. I'm scarred of my luck with cameras. For right now I think I'll just stare at it and take pictures of things in the apartment. We'll work up from that.
-Made lists of things to do. Unfortunately these lists became lists of things that I'd like to do could I must up the motivation.
-Went to the gym. I think the act of picking up heavy things, moving them around for a bit and returning them to the place I found them is the perfect symbolic gesture for this holiday season.
-Writing in my journal. There was a lot of self-psycho-analysis going on.
The thing is in a week or two everything is going to hit all at once. School will be in full swing, university will start, there are side projects, I won't find time to do my laundry, the toilet will overflow. I just wish I could get some of these things out of the way but there's only so much laundry you can do ahead of time. I wish I could take this free time and package it for later when I'm burnt out; take an hour or two throw it in a box and open it during finals. I wish for so much and my girlfriend just has one wish, that I could relax.