Archive for the ‘Facts of life’ Category


Wood dowel (C) goes into hole (D)

August 17, 2007

As these things tend to go, it all ended anti-climatically. We came, she was gone, we moved in… er, are MOVING in. This is gonna take a while. But, we have time for b-fast on the porch in the morning.

So far: we’ve met our old friend, Donna Nuna, from Cali. who happens to be a visiting prof here! We’ve had a huge salad and bread lunch brought over from the neighbors! We’ve had coffee and blueberry pie over at the other next door neighbors! We had our first run – most of it along the river… (some of it inhaling noxious paper factory fumes)!

Huzzah and Welcome to the bahngnahngdahng!



Still not in…

August 9, 2007

The indignity! Our closing from hell continues. The seller won’t leave the house she agreed to sell! So, we are left in vagabondage, our every possession in storage, our cats and persons in my parents’ basement. Oh, how could it come to this?!

One more week, just one more week. The bahngnahngdahng beckons…


The Closing from Hell

August 7, 2007

Dang. We are in the midst of the house closing from hell. Sadly, the delay means that the cable/internet guy who Dominica had diligently set up from Korea a week ago will not be installing internet today, but maybe next week. . . Intermittent blogging till then I’d guess. We’ll become regulars at the local indie coffee shop/internet hot spot in the meanwhile. Or… maybe our new neighbors will have some wireless to “share.”

We’ll keep y’all informed. Please, keep your fingers crossed!


Na neun gayo.

July 30, 2007

So this is it, the morning of my last full day in Korea this time around. 85% of the final goodbyes are done, but some of the hardest ones remain. I’ve already shed a few tears, but the heaviest ones are yet poised to drop.

I have very little left to say right now other than it’s a weighty thing to forge out a new life in a foreign land, and then have to leave it all behind. I’ll be back, but the world I’ve created this year will not be here when I return.

Lee Sangeun (aka Lee Tzsche) provides the mood music and refrain with her song “Samak사막” (Desert)…

“Na neun gayo.”

I’m leaving… I’m leaving…



The Cats of Minsokchon

July 26, 2007

Some brief thoughts, but first a song for your enjoyment. The song and thoughts have no relation whatsoever. I’ve just been giving it a pretty hard listen, so, I thought I’d share. Pure pop, of the summer variety, by a band named Phoenix. They hail from Paris, and sing in English. Go figure… Song’s called, “One time too many.”

We said goodbye to Jaime, who had a splendid time here in Korea (and we had a splendid time hosting her). It was her first time in Asia, and she was very excited to take in everything. She seemed to really like the bath house, especially. I second that.

The monsoon weather has set in to a pretty even pattern, lots of haze, sometimes cloudy, occasional showers… and always humid. Luckily, we’ve escaped the wrath of heat I faced two years ago when I was here for a summer of research. Daily temps over 100 and scorching sunshine. No thanks.

A sign that home is near . . . the 10 day weather forecasts no longer apply.

A sign that will be near our home . . . I ordered a wood name plaque for the 방랑당 bahngnahngdahng. It turned out incredibly well. I got goose bumps when I saw it. Then, later that night, two of my study partners, Yujin and Giseok, gave me a going away present – a big dojang (stamp) with the characters 放浪堂. It’s absolutely gorgeous. Gave me goosebumps and a few tears. I’d show pictures, but that’d spoil it. If you want to see them, you have to come to the bahngnahngdahng.

Finally, we visited the Korean Folk Village in Yongin (한국민속촌). I hadn’t been there in 13 years. They’ve made continual improvements, and the entire site is just fabulous. The preservation of trees has made all the difference, as each section remains separated from the other, lending the entire park a feeling of multiple cozy villages nestled into one another. An interesting side-note, and one I hope that others will catch onto, such that the little guys might gain a little fame… the village is full of chubby, beautiful cats! There were cats everywhere we looked. Of course, they steered clear of the humans, and rightfully so, but they seemed to love the village the most of anyone. They reminded me of the cat portraits from the Joseon dynasty painters Kim Hongdo (김홍도):

Kim Hongdo

-Hwangmyonongjeopdo (황묘농접도)

and my personal favorite, Byeon Sangbyeok (변상벽):


-( I don’t know the title 😦 )

-Myojakdo (묘작도)

To the cats of minsokchon MAN-SE!- may they live long, peaceful, and happy lives (and stop fighting with each other, you two I saw – you have a huge space to yourselves, enjoy it!).


Closing the Ann Arbor Chapter

April 25, 2007

This past April, filled with staggered goodbyes, has really made me feel the bittersweetness of vagabondage. [see flickr set] It was much more difficult to leave Ann Arbor than I had anticipated it would be. This, of course, is directly related to the sadness I feel about leaving beloved friends and valued colleagues, all of whom will be sorely missed.  As trite as it may sound, with each new move, life becomes more complicated. We now have cherished friends living on at least 4 continents and 12 different cities. In a perfect world, we could visit ALL of them once a year for at least a week each. Until that magic day when Matty and I both become wealthy independent scholars and make this possible, however, we will console ourselves with the thought of how fortunate we are to have met so many wonderful people on this journey so far. Here’s hoping that our next episode in Appleton will bring us similar joys and sorrows.


The Victor

February 8, 2007

Hail! to the Victor valiant~

Hail! to the conquering hero~

Hail! Hail! to Dominica~

The leader and best~


Looks like we’re headed to the Fox River Valley!