Archive for March, 2007

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Another round up the hill

March 23, 2007

Today I decided to zap the blues with a long hard run up the nearby mountain, Ansan. The last time I tried this, I got a little lost and was barked at by Army guard dogs. Today, the only problems I had were clucking ajummas complaining, “Oh now, it’s too slippery for that kind of running down the mountain, by all means. . . .”

Last time I made the following prediction:

Now that I know the path, I’ll make it in under an hour next time, fo’ sho’.

Today’s time up the mountain: 45 mintues. Huzzah.

After a shower I headed off to dinner at my local diner and met a group of Americans who are missionaries at a church next door. Interestingly enough, the pastor was a graduate of… Nathan Hale High School and the son of the pastor at a Baptist Church on Layton Avenue. Another person in the group was from Williamsburg, Virginia, where our dear friends are living and where Dominica is headed today. Inneresting.

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a day in the life

March 19, 2007

The temple trip was only 24 hours, but it was just what I needed. I feel refreshed, refocused and re… uh… re… uh… really hoping my better half gets here soon )

A warning: A LONG post follows… with pictures, and videos, and mp3s, and long religious digressions. Beware. You might be bored, you might not make it to the end. But, the post is as much for me and my scrapbook as it is for you, so certainly, don’t feel obliged.

If you have dialup, you might reconsider clicking on this. If you want to know the details, email me.. I’ll tell you all about it (and why you should invest in broadband). Read the rest of this entry ?

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vagabondin…

March 15, 2007

It’ll be short, but hopefully sweet.  I’m up at 4.30 in the a.m., off to catch a 5.30 train for the mountains. Gonna shack up in a temple for a coupla days.

I’ll try to take pictures and let you know how it went.

‘Til then. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all my fellow Micks. And if ya ain’t green, there’s always the next life…

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!

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it’s gettin’ hot in hurrr

March 6, 2007

Nothing like this in the winter of aught seven:

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I recalled hearing stories about a frozen Han River, but during the course of this winter, I couldn’t believe anything was ever really possible. Now I know why. I’ve just lived through a veritable freak of nature.

Some news from the local weather front:

South Korea had the warmest winter in more than a century due to global warming and the El Nino weather system, officials said Monday.

The country’s average temperature during the three-month winter season to February was 2.46 degrees Celsius (36.4 degrees Fahrenheit), the highest since such records began in 1904, they said.

The average winter temperature between 1971 and 2000 was 0.43 degrees Celsius, according to officials at the Korea Meteorological Administration.

It attributed the unusually mild winter to “global warming and the influence of El Nino,” which refers to the abnormal warming of surface ocean waters in the eastern tropical Pacific.

The administration said the February average was 4.09 degrees Celsius, 3.34 degrees higher than the average between 1971 and 2000.

And in Tokyo:

TOKYO – No snow has fallen in downtown Tokyo since the beginning of winter — the first time the Japanese capital has gone this late in the season without snow in at least 130 years, the Japan Meteorological Agency said Sunday.

On average, Tokyo’s first snow comes on January 2 and the last snow on March 11, said Tsutomu Shinya, an official of the agency. Winter begins in early November.

But on Sunday the still snowless city passed the milestone for the latest first snow, set on Feb. 10, 1960, Shinya said, adding that the city has never experienced a winter completely without snow, according to records that began in 1876.

I’ve not met a single global-warming skeptic in my time here. That goes double true for the taxi-drivers, with whom a discussion about the weather is, of course, mandatory.

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sigh, or, happiness isn’t…

March 4, 2007

On her way home….*

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Well, you ever in the need for time to be speeding up? Spend a few long months thousands of miles away from your sweetheart and then schedule a short visit with tons of work to do/people to meet. Time will fly, I guarantee.

So, I sigh… and the sky sighs with me, all day long, in the rainiest day since I came to Korea. Luckily, it got up to 60 degrees, so it isn’t all that bad out, but still, the mood does seem uncannily resonant with the sadness that comes with yet another couple of months of separation.

I will say that the visit could not have been better. We had loads of fun, meeting friends and eating delicious food, and Dominica found a Korea she never really had a chance to see before. I think she can look forward to her sojourn here with a lot more excitement and a bit less trepidation knowing that she’s got a world here that she can fit comfortably into and that welcomes her with open arms

That’s all I have the strength to say… I’ll leave you with a poem from Gyeongheo, and a song from Lou Rawls, that perfectly capture my moods.

It must be the grace of heaven that allows us to meet,
You adorned with aromatic hair and beautiful hairpieces.
Amid the constant rain from the clouds over the Yang tower,
The seagulls of Nak harbor fly up high as dragons.
The brown leaves and desolate woods mean it is already
late summer,
And a thin smoke floats by the old castle like flowing water.
I emptied the wine glass to toast our reluctant parting,
And it will be my lasting memory in this fleeting world.

* Actually, “home” is becoming a relative concept now. She’s left some clothes here, and a suitcase, and our second cat… so, this place is rapidly becoming her new “home,” even as she flies back to the old one. So, when she left the airport today, I bid her farewell by saying “Go and come back soon!

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rainy day vacation fun

March 1, 2007

We’ve come across our first rainy and chilly day here in Seoul, which works out well since Matty got a last-minute rush editing assignment and I have a stack of 40 compositions to grade that I’ve all but ignored since my arrival. In any event, we’ve had beautiful weather and have been running around town having fun all week, so it’s actually very relaxing and cozy to turn up the heated floor, order in, and hang out with the kitties. Not to mention… Matty’s new laptop has a built-in isight with lots of useless, but hilariously fun features. I do declare that I have the most handsome husband in the world. What do you think?

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Actually, the last one is pretty good, I think! Aren’t vacations grand? I don’t think I’ve ever fully appreciated, felt like I deserved, or enjoyed one more than this. We’re sad that it’s about to end, but the sooner I leave, the sooner I wrap things up in Ann Arbor and get to come back!