Friday, 14 November 2008

The End of an Era

It is my last night in Korea. Well, it is my last night in Korea relative to the experience of living here, which leads me to think about the definition of home; first, though, let's talk about the day.
I spent the first part of it with my friend/violin teacher socializing and identifying key flaws in my self-perception, which I freely acknowledge but may fail to deal with. Then I went to work to see people and, having nothing better to do, settled in to make some vocabulary lists and advance my intensive course proposal from the winter. Dork-tastic. Voluntary labor on my last free day in Korea. I stuck around so I could see my students and forbade the one heading towards an eating disorder from getting skinny; I even forced her to acknowledge and consume a miniature peanut butter cup. After work we all went out drinking. It was pretty entertaining. The most reserved of the staff pulled up his shirt to reveal a mighty tattoo of a dragonfly on his torso, I was egged into directly challenging my replacement, and I harangued one of the more adorable members of the Korean staff (who, incidentally, said I sound really educated).
The replacement apparently indicated that he was considering, with his English literature degree, among other things, getting a Ph.D. in Philosophy. Granted, this can't be serious because he is, beyond a doubt, too stupid to achieve any greatness in any field (unless Jackassery is a discipline that has developed since I left college). I was more than pleased to start throwing out words and phrases because I spent my vacation with a philosopher and am confident I could crush said replacement with my mind even without the added help of being able to abuse philosophy jargon to highlight his ignorance. The opportunity never arose. The coworkers began inviting me to speak, prodding me to start fucking with my replacement, and I explained that "the flower must bloom; I cannot force the bud to open," and raised a toast of soju, infamy of liquid infamies, to "horticulture". I hope that my ability to bring laughter made up for my failure to crush my coworker with my mind in an overt and public way.
It's late. I will pursue the idea of 'home' another time.
Dear America,
I'm coming home. Or returning to some close approximation.
Love,
me

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

In the Tank in Singapore

I'm wearing blue today and tracking the elections from my friend's office in Singapore.

Singapore feels much more multicultural and integrated than anywhere else I've been.

In quieter moments I find myself staring down a path of worries about my future -a job, a place to live, what to do with the cat, reconnecting with people.

Things to look forward to: Thanksgiving, baking, vegetating with friends and loved ones, being near my books, sweaters, cooking, fighting zombies, & snow.

If you have a final request for items from Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea or the Narita Airport in Japan please send me a note so I can acquire them. There are 5 airports and 1.5 weeks between me and home.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

I Got Skillz

video



As long as we're on the Wonder Girls I'd like to recommend this one as well because it's another example of how whoever is managing their image has recognized the value of weaving humor into the more traditional selling of sex that comes with girl groups. Tell Me is the group's first hit single and I heard it near constantly soon after arriving in Korea (in cabs, in the grocery store &c.).

Friday, 24 October 2008

Nerd Status Confirmed

So I just watched the following video:


After a few minutes of pondering the more expected topics of Korean pop, the attractiveness of the artist, and the hittability thereof I started wondering: Why don't they ever interrupt Ph.D. defenses? Seriously? I know this just makes me an even larger dork but why is it that when the hip, pseudo-iconoclastic pop star interrupts/disrupts something it's always goddamned ballet or other classical style? Can't just one artist challenge the dominant paradigm of academic success with sexy wordplay, a Greek chorus and a flaming chandelier?

I blame Flashdance and everything after...



Save the Last Dance



Take the Lead



Stick It (if you didn't know, this is the gymnastics version of Bring It On)



Now, turn it around:



I think what truly confirms my nerd status is the fact that I've blogged it. I should add that this is all rather meaningless now as Outkast's "Big Boi" Patton is teaming up with the Atlanta Ballet. It's time to shatter some different preconceived notions.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Stupid Won

The exchange rate is so bad that I cried at the bank yesterday. I'm hemorrhaging hundreds of dollars because the Won is so worthless.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Thanks, McCain!



Also, for the record, I'm incapable of working up any sympathy for someone making $250,000 a year. I tried. I even tried imagining really absurd tax rates and still just couldn't squeeze out a single tear. I guess I'm just heartless.

Monday, 20 October 2008

New Look



Today I was "pretty". Any student under the age of 10 who noticed my new look today said I looked pretty. Interestingly, some of my older students made the observation that I looked older because of the contrast between my actual age and the age associated with one who wears pink bows. The most mortifying part of this was that we got a new part-timer and his first introduction to me was me in a color antithetical to my being. It reminds me of the time I rented a car and the rental agency picked out a bright yellow Ford Mustang.