Saturday, September 28, 2013

Hiking and Random Updates

K. will be arriving in Korea on the 14th.

I met a venomous pit viper in the woods today! I have been hiking a lot, because my bike isn't here yet, and my knees haven't been feeling up to running. And I live on the side of a mountain, with awesome hiking trails. If you follow the university campus to the terminus at the uphill end of campus there is a hiking road (an ollegil) and a trail. The trail I walked on twice, but especially when it has recently rained, it gets a bit mucky. Despite my initial resistance to walking on the road, which looked so uninspiring, I finally went up and discovered that it goes quite a distance. The first couple of times I couldn't go the whole way, because the road crew was working, but during the holiday I went to the end of it. I have also talked, twice, with a member of the road crew. I have learned it is 3 kms long, and they're able to build about 1.5 kms a year before they run out of money. The money is coming from the city of Yong'in, not the university, and the land is owned by a variety of people, foundations, and the city. The lower half was completed last year and is better landscaped. When they feel it necessary, they've roughly paved it (the lowest end of the paving has culverts to direct the water), this is mostly on the switchbacks (it climbs steadily). Mostly it's packed sand and gravel, until the new section, which is still constantly churned up dirt. I met the pit viper because they were working on the road today, before the nice trail down the mountain (a wide and well maintained trail), which allows me to make a giant 3.5 mile circuit. So I decided to explore up a narrow almost unnoticeable trail. In a short skirt and footie socks... leaving much too much ankle and calf exposed to snakes! I had been warned about snakes and previous serious snake bites, but hadn't given it much thought until I met this sucker today-- two feet long, at least, with a diamond-like head that just said to me "I'm a scary snake." There are about 15 kinds of native snakes in Korea, I looked through the photos and identified him after I got home. He was a bit cold and moving slowly, but we did have a stand off for awhile as I hoped he'd move off the trail (more like opening between the trees) and he stopped for a break.

There is also a lot of great and less strenuous hiking to be done down in the agricultural areas around here.

This weekend there is a huge festival, but I decided not to go because I feel too pressed to get things done for my classes, and since my computer is too fragile to move, I can't do class planning and prep in a yogwan room in Andong. It's a 9 day festival, I will go next week. I don't feel like I have a choice-- the festival is that important! I also was lured to attend a local performance this Saturday... I went, but it was rained out, so I guess I just took a long bus ride, and that's all.

The lower section of the Ollegil looks very nice, with lots of cosmos, because it was finished more than a year ago. Some sections with more erosion danger are paved. 

Late afternoon sun shines on some trees making it look even more like fall is coming (it is!)

Near the end of the hiking road (Ollegil) they are still in the thick of their work to stabilize the road bed

At this point it was very dark, but this is what the path down the mountain looks like at first... if you look upwards. It's a staircase... pretty steep! 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Losing People

The past few months I've thought a lot about death and losing people.

My high school boyfriend died in late July. Probably anyone reading this can agree, when we lose someone the first feeling is often of regret. I regretted how little time I'd spent with Tom in recent years. I knew he'd been unwell, but partially because he was unwell it had formed this barrier to me visiting him-- even though I'd been on Lopez-- living nearby. I knew where he lived. If I could find time to play with the goats almost everyday I could surely have visited Tom. I can make excuses-- like how hard it is to see someone you mentally picture as handsome and young and vibrant in a reduced state. I could talk about the guilt that Tom had helped me, as an overly sensitive, dramatic, intelligent teen through a very difficult part of my life, and that after I left Tom (and Lopez) he had lived a difficult life, while I had earned my education, traveled the world, and felt (despite my fairly empty bank account) pleased with my life. When I had seen Tom since leaving Lopez (only a handful of times after the first couple of years), I had always felt that feeling of "what if..." or "if only..." and wondered if I should help him, somehow. I visited him in 1996 or 1997 (either right before leaving for Korea, or after my first year in Korea) and he was already physically ailing. I tried to smile and laugh with him, but it was breaking my heart that he was easily thirty pounds under a healthy weight (and he'd always been skinny), his skin dull, his energy level low.

I next saw him in 2010. At that time he was almost housebound, his body rejecting most foods, and his energy level too low to prepare the sort of foods he should have been eating. He was no longer able to move around easily, and in the conversation we had his bitterness was palpable. I wanted to do something, but what could I do? What Tom needed was someone to be with him and love him and help him as his body grew increasingly intractable, but I was not free to be that person. I only saw him once after that, in the parking lot of the gas station, where we exchanged a few words. We kept in contact, irregularly, on Facebook. Below is the last interaction we ever had, on a scanned page from an old photo album. I am so glad it was positive, and I really hope Tom saw my reply. He died less than a month later.

Tom's family and close friends decided to hold a memorial in October, and I knew I'd be here in Korea. All I could manage to do as I sprinted around the West Coast in August preparing to move was to unearth several sets of negatives from old rolls of print film. I wanted to create a sort of photographic offering that could be displayed at the memorial. I wanted others, many of whom had seen Tom much more regularly in the months and years leading up to his passing, to remember him as I still see him in my mind's eye-- as a handsome, charming man.

Of all of the relationships I have had in my life, or at least all the relationships that lasted more than a few weeks, Tom was by far the kindest and most tolerant. I was young and very willful and he was a few years older, in his early twenties, but due to the low population of young people on the island, he ended up dating me, his first cousin's age-mate and close friend. I was not an easy girlfriend. Although I didn't ask Tom to spend money on me, I was learning how to be in an emotional relationship with a man, and can remember being pretty awful. He was never awful back. He was faithful. Patient. Understanding. Loving. He loved me consistently, gently, forgivingly. My high school friends (not the friends like me who were bound for college, but the many other friends I had) would ask me if I was going to marry Tom. Or ask what I would do if I got pregnant. Tom's grandmother, Bee, who saw me often (as Tom was living with her and helping her construct her home), told me to leave him, get off the island, and get an education. I took her advice. I didn't marry Tom, in fact we broke up before I left for that tumultuous first year in college.

I've lost other people. In August, in mom's attic, I tried to repack my many stored boxes. Most of the things in the boxes could be described as "paper." Programs for shows, newspaper clippings, essays I've written, letters I've received. There are some other things-- a set of glasses, nice candlestick holder, my hiking stuff-- but most of it's paper. I tried to sort and throw away unnecessary paper (old issues of magazines, materials for reports, bank statements from the 1990s), but as I was doing this I was confronted by letters and photos from people who are now gone. Tom had just died. Two of the other significant men I've loved have also died. And back in the day we usually got duplicates of all our photos. One set is in an album, the other set is just running around--sometimes it makes its way to the people in the photos, but often not. Former co-workers, dead. Former lovers, dead. Former friends, dead. Letters and cards from my deceased aunt, deceased grandfathers, deceased grandmothers, a few treasured blurry snapshots of me and my uncle, the coolest uncle ever, an early casualty of the AIDS epidemic. I sat in the attic, and tried to quickly cull through boxes, but then I'd find a photo of Jesse on the beach on MDI and want to cry because he died on the morning of his own wedding in a car accident. Or see Kurt, goofy goofy grin on his face, and wonder if I should try to find his ex-wife and send them for his son to have. And then I found the corsage Tom gave me when he took me to junior prom.
Dress by Edi Blomberg. Photo probably by Gregg Blomberg. 

Now we are facing losing someone else, Karjam's father, who has been diagnosed with advanced stomach and liver cancer (or one type that has moved to the other location as well, since we're not in China, we have not been able to ask these questions). We don't know if Karjam has months to get to China, or days, at any rate, his plans to leave Lopez, pass through Korea and get to China have all been moved up.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Contemporary Popular Culture (class)

I keep mentioning the class I teach in Korean, because it's such a giant presence in my life right now, but I'm also teaching Contemporary Popular Culture. And I have to say, I love teaching the class. The students are awesome, and they are trying very hard. I teach this class in English (although I translate vocab words for them, or answer questions asked in Korean, and even allow them to explain a very difficult thought in Korean), but none of the students are majors in the English language and most of them haven't studied the language since they graduated from high school. It's a larger issue for a couple of them that the class is in English-- but it's a class where I am introducing very theoretical ideas, so it's not easy for any student. (I did give up on having them summarize readings and now I summarize and explain the readings for them, but the ideas are still tough nuts!)

Yet, as you could guess, they love the topic. Today was the fourth class, and they really started to use some of our theoretical terms and ideas. They have mastered the Bechdel Test. They can spot "male gaze" at work in music videos and advertisements. They can (collectively) work out whether something is best described as appropriation, or transculturation, or cultural exchange. They seem to accept "cultural texts" and "media texts" as terms that don't (have to) refer to something written down. They have been exposed to various definitions of popular culture, and I've done my best to explain that we can analyze texts based on cultural reception/use, or production/political economy, or text -- or of course use a hybrid approach.

They are now reliably able to complete short analysis exercises without getting side-tracked by description (there is a woman, she is cheating on her boyfriend) or judgment (he has a good voice, I like this song). The breakthrough on that was last week when the students watched Lorde's "Royals", a song they'd never heard before, and one wrote "the fact that they are boxing (a low-class sport), and just standing in the pool and looking at the tennis court, reinforces the class differences between people who are royal and the video subjects." (I did clean up the English a little for you).

Today I was so obviously pleased with them that they felt pleased with themselves and I think we all left the classroom feeling very happy. One of the students told me during break today that the class has already changed what she sees when she watches music videos (due to the convenient length of music videos, we've used a lot so far, although I am moving on starting next week).

I love teaching this class, and hope I have an opportunity to teach a similar class in the future. Perhaps by focusing it more on Korea, I could teach this as an advanced Korean Studies course.

In the meantime, I must admit I'm enjoying exposing the students to a wide variety of media texts, and actually anticipating reading their first assignments (due next week, on viral videos --their example must not be a music video, however).

I decided to do what I thought was right today, because I feel this class of students can handle it: I told them that if they came to class and turned in all their work, they'd all get an A, not even an A-. I felt a little bit like Peter Sellars as I explained to them that it was not my place to try to figure out if they had done their best work or not. If they wanted to hand me crap and pretend it was their best, they could live with knowing that they were the sort of person who takes the lazy route. I asked them to think of the assignments not as a bothersome item of work, but as exercises that would allow them to engage with the class subject, and help to empower them in a world full of media texts. I asked them to enjoy the assignments without thinking of them as work, or feeling stressed, and to do their best work because they wanted to, not because it was the only way to get an A. They looked at me with a mixture of shock and joy. It was somewhat the same look they gave me when I told them that if they told me honestly, 24 hours in advance, that they'd be missing class, that I could accept that, because they were adults and should be able to decide how to spend their time, as long as they didn't abuse my understanding by missing class often.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Teaching in Korean, Part II

The second class meeting of the Korean Culture and Society class had 9 students in attendance (with 16 on the roll book). There had only been four the previous week because the class was listed online only one day before it was first offered. Apparently some students who are on my roll book can drop the class (but there is no adding classes at this point). Conferring with Sanghyeon, a sweet student assigned to assist me by the Ukrainian Studies Department, I have learned that students take between 12 and 20 credits per term, a credit roughly equals one hour in the classroom, meaning that my two hour classes net them two credits. I am guessing, then, that students may register for a larger number of classes and if they can handle all of them, earn credit for all, but if second week slams them, then they just don't show up for the other classes.

I was very nervous about the Korean Culture and Society class, since I'm teaching it in Korean.

I had assigned the students to read two articles (academic articles) written in Korean (and for those more comfortable in English to scan the articles, but read a third English article closely). I had assigned two students to give a brief overview and summary of the two articles, and had prepared a quiz (my new assistant even checked the Korean to make sure that my bilingual quiz wouldn't screw up anyone based on an improperly phrased question). The entire class was centered around the idea that I would not do all of the talking, but rather I would encourage them to talk. They had been instructed to ask their older family members about how Chuseok and other traditional holidays had changed (the focus of the articles as well), and so in my mind's eye I envisioned them sharing these stories together. Then one hour before class one of the students assigned to present on an article sent a text message claiming to be sick.

Twenty minutes later I printed the roll book. Looking at the list of enrolled students online (admittedly I did not look very closely), I had one Chinese student and 15 Koreans. However when I printed the roll book their names were written in Roman letters next to the Korean. Whoa! Hidden Chinese! Perfectly normal looking names like Geonhun became Jianxun, when written in Roman letters. I had presumed that Helen (헬렌) (majoring in English Translation) was a Korean-American or something like that. Nope. Hong Konger (is that even the correct term?). Seeing the four Chinese names (there are five including Helen, but at that moment I still thought she was K-American) contributed to a rising feeling of panic. To top it off, I slipped on some water (it was raining outside) and fell hard in the hallway, seriously injuring my notebook computer, although I didn't know it until after class.

I started off the class by reviewing a few ground rules, then passed out the quiz.

Yep. One student had done the reading. Another had started, and even brought the print outs to class. That was it. I talked to the Korean students (the one with the print out and the one who had read) and they assured me this was much too difficult for them to understand and that it was unusual to be given an academic article in their other classes. Later colleagues warned me that students don't really take their distribution classes (my class is a distribution class) as seriously as their major classes.

So, off the cuff and without a powerpoint I lectured on the two articles and changing customs in Korea. And somehow managed to make it through two hours without running out of things to say.

After class I felt horrible. First of all because I'd spent more than a week scrambling to prepare a good syllabus and find readings (since all mine are in transit to Korea, not to mention the fact that I don't have enough in Korean to cover all topics). With the combination of 5 Chinese students (all with less Korean than I have) and the lack of ability to read academic articles, I knew I'd have to re-plan the entire class again. I couldn't even rely on exams and class presentations as my two primary grading elements. Second, I felt stupid because various people (people teaching in Korea at other institutions and colleagues here) had hinted to me not to have such high expectations and I hadn't listened, and I could have saved myself some work. Third, I felt overwhelmed by the knowledge that for the rest of the semester I'd be doing essentially two hour lectures in Korean.

I spent much of the Chuseok (Harvest) holiday rethinking my class (this also coincidentally meant we didn't have a class in third week). I drew up a plan to have 7 short assignments (writing less than a page, or giving a brief oral report), one group project (requirement to split the Chinese students up), and the two exams (reduced in importance). I dug up news articles for students to read for the 4th week (demographic changes in Korea). And spent time (but not enough to finish) on three future PPTs for the class.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Bak Myeongsuk's "Hwanggeumgaji, Honja Nunddeuneun Achim II"

My friend Chae Haeri, an awe-inspiringly well-connected scholar of Korean dance, invited me to go to a  modern dance performance today. Generally speaking I have had quite a few experiences with Korean modern dance that left me disappointed (and a few, almost all choreographed by Ahn Eunme, that left me stunned and grateful to have eyes in my head). This has generally taught me to save my dance watching for traditional dance, and leave the modern dance choreographers(except Ahn Eunme) alone. But I went because there were reasonable expectations that it would be good on Haeri's part, at least.

The house was nearly packed, with a large number of people milling in the lobby (Haeri introduced me to some of them). Tickets were 20,000 (at least where we were sitting) but Haeri had been gifted with them, thanks be.

The show was uninspiring to say the least.

I was irritated by two issues:
1. the music, esp. in the first half was extremely over-powering. It included well known French chanson as well as well known Western songs (one was by the Beatles). The easily recognizable music dominated the performance, esp. at the volume at which it was played. Also the cuts from one song to the next were done with no finesse, they simply ended and then started at the beginning of the next song-- no blending or editing involved.
2. the female dancers were in many cases obviously instructed to use hairography-- they were whipping their hair around-- but not artfully as a punctuation, or frenetically for effect, but as if all big movements were supposed to also include a hair whip.

But by far the largest problem (aside from a lack of any conceptual through-line in the 1 hour 20 minute show) was that there was NOT ONE dancer who was eye-catching/mesmerizing/charismatic/highly skilled in such a way that you were drawn to watch them and ignore the others on stage. In a cast of over 20 dancers (only about 5 in the first half, the rest in the second half), there should have been at least some people so clearly talented that even with lame choreography they would shine. But no. Perhaps talented dancers detract from an effort to seem entirely mediocre.

There were moments when I found the lighting and background video images interesting, and a couple of movement sequences (never lasting more than twenty seconds) that I enjoyed, that brought me to momentary hopefulness... but this was never sustained.

After the show I went out to dinner with Haeri and a friend of hers who is a scholar of drama.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Odds and Ends of Oddness

On Monday I received pillows and blankets. One wonders if they thought I was sleeping on a bare mattress until now, after all I've been here over a week. In fact the previous tenant had left many items and I've been deciding what to toss and what to keep. The addition of two more thick blankets, two mattress covers, and two thin blankets (I have two bedrooms), helps to clarify my choices. I inspected the used blankets and mattress covers (I had already washed them), and weeded out any with various signs of wear and tear.

I have an electric two-burner stove. The burners are flush with the counter top, and seem to turn on and off, always at the same temperature (lower heat means they turn on less often and high heat means they're basically always on). They are oriented front and back, not right and left, so while trying to cook on the back burner (the larger one, better for bigger pans such as the pan I'm stir-frying in and hence have to reach for more often) steam and heat from the front pan (cooking rice or soup) is bothering my reaching arm. In other words, engineering FAIL.

The apt. is equipped with a phone that is free for calling international (yay!), but you have to dial a complicated series of numbers. There was a direction card, but it did not instruct me that I had to dial 7 + # and then wait for an automated operator to come on the line. So I kept dialing without waiting and reaching Mohammed, another new professor, who is in apt. on the third floor. He's from Egypt, educated in England, about the same age as me, except with a wife and three young boys. He's debating bringing them here, as he has been convinced by my across the hall neighbor, Abdul Kareem, that Koreans are very racist towards those from the Middle East, and has not seen anything to really disprove A.K.'s assertion. A.K.'s son is college-aged and attending college here in the computer science department, and yes, that means he speaks acceptable Korean. A.K. is from Yemen. My next door neighbor is Deanna(I think this is an English nickname) from Indonesia, and I've met a Bulgarian (Lyudmilla) who is almost done with her Ph.D. in Korean literature (but teaches Bulgarian), the two Italians Maria Anna and Sara, Wadu who teaches computer science (he's from Bangladesh), and Joe (American, Sports Management), I also met a guy who teaches Czech but I didn't catch his name. I also talked with a couple-- the man has an amazing beard. It's very long, and square, and his eyes are very smiley. He was in totally traditional dress (more like a robe, but from where?) yet his wife was wearing Western clothes [edit: I found him in the professor directory, he's teaching Greek!]. So those are random details about my neighbors-- obviously a very diverse lot.

I live in the corner, almost to the top. 

Path to the residences. Likely to see my feet a couple times a day for years...

Sara and Maria Anna on a walk by the riverside

Looking down a river back towards campus (to the right of the apartments visible in the distance)

Lots of farming around here. 

Sara, Llyudmilla, Maria Anna

Monday, September 9, 2013

Showing my Face in Korean Academia

Friday there was a special one day conference that I decided to attend. Most of my academic friends tend to complain about conferences in Korea, but the subject seemed interesting enough that I decided to go. I also wanted to just jump in and get my renewed presence in Korea known to those who do somewhat similar research. Among the attendees, including discussants and moderators of panels (but none of the presenters) were three major scholars that I already knew: Seo Hanbeom (emeritus professor of Korean music, Dankook University), Yi Byeongok (emeritus professor anthropology and Korean dance, Yongin University), and Kim Yeong-un (Korean music professor at Hanyang University).

The entire conference was about the family of Shim Jeongsun, a noted performer of multiple genres who lived from 1873-1937. The general thrust of the conference was that Shim and his descendants should be much better known in Korean performing arts scholarship. Various papers illuminated this point in different ways. The most animated presenter, No Jaemyeong, presented about Shim's son Shim Sanggeon, a performer of Gayageum Sanjo and Gayageum Byeongchang with many early recordings.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Teaching in Korean

Around 6pm on Tuesday night I checked my text messages and found a text informing me that I would be teaching my class (the next morning at 9:30) in Korean. Admittedly the text was over an hour old-- but that hour would not make the difference.

Teaching in Korean provides the following challenges:
a. My Korean is not at good as it should be to actually -lecture- in Korean.
b. Teaching in Korean requires assigning readings in Korean. All my books and articles are in transit, so again this means finding entirely new materials-- but this time they're in Korean, so I can't quickly scan across a few paragraphs and get an idea of the difficulty and appropriateness of an article for my class.
c. Preparing to teach in Korean means mastering the information in these readings-- publications that are brand new to me that I must be prepared to talk about and lead discussion surrounding almost immediately after reading (there is no time to prepare for the entire term in advance since it already started -and- since I've got other stuff to do, too).

I began to plan immediately, and although my jet lag was kicking in again, I realized that I had to throw out my syllabus of the same name and rethink the entire syllabus based around the number of classes I'd have, my desire to have exams instead of papers as the major grading element, and the clusters of complimentary readings I could find.

I became more calm after Maria Anna and Sarah, two professors in the Italian Translation Department, assured me that no students at 888 U expected a full class on the first day. They just wanted to know about the workload and get a sense of the professors.

I woke up at 4:45 (getting later everyday) and went back to work on class preparation.

I found the room where professors can photocopy and print things around an hour before class, printed a few articles I thought I might want to use for the next week, scanned through them, then went to my class.

There were four students there, and an odder group I cannot imagine the two extremes were:
a) Chinese student (Sports and Leisure Department) who is not of Korean ethnicity, who has been learning Korean for a year (still challenged by readings in Korean), who cannot speak or read English.
b) Korean student who lived from 5 to 18 in the US (and is now 19), who is challenged by readings in Korean, and wanted to have class in English (English Translation Department).
The other two were somewhere between these two.

I gave a one hour class, getting to know each other and discussing why Korean studies is important for people in translation departments and others as well. I also described in detail how they should prepare for class for the next week.

I think I did not make a fool out of myself, but I'm not quite sure.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

First Class

Waking up at 4 again helped me to prepare for my first class. The class, from 11:30 to 1:30 (is it a mystery why I skipped lunch?), was almost unnecessary. Since it was only advertised by word of mouth, and because apparently many students don't even show up during the first week, I had four students in attendance, a 5th year, 4th year, and two 2nd years (all majoring in Ukrainian Studies).

My slapdash preparation (knowing that I would still need to do introductions the following week) was a class on the VMAs, Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke, and the new Robin Thicke parody "Defined Lines."  Discussing this recent topic and parody as a response to the increasingly over-the-top popular culture offerings was a good way to fill the class time. For next week they can actually do reading before class and hopefully have a good discussion.

I was pleasantly surprised at how good their English is-- even though they are in Ukrainian Studies.

After class I headed to my first curriculum development meeting-- there were five of us in the room-- four administrators and me (I was also the only woman). We discussed (in Korean of course) how to recruit more students for the program from overseas, what sort of additional teaching staff I'll need, the transfer of the Korean Language program to our campus (next year), the need for students in our program to study in Korean, not just English (my point, not theirs) and so on. It was just a broad overview of discussions to come.

I will have an office next week, and should have a department assistant shortly after that.

Welcome to Korean Academia

Yesterday was Monday. Monday was my first day of work at my brand new job at 888 University. 888 hired me (rather at the last minute) in the third week of July, and I had been running like crazy just to make it to Korea-- I arrived Saturday night, so Monday I was still dealing with massive jet lag.

Monday morning, of course, I woke up at 4 a.m. After it got light out, took a lovely walk up the road to the end of campus and then up a narrow mountain hiking trail. The woods were beautiful and the temperature was just right. Not long after I returned to my residence I got an email from Professor Hong Seok-u, my first email from a bona-fide colleague (picture me excited). Professor Hong, from the Department of Ukrainian Studies (yes, we have such a department) was inquiring if I'd like to teach a class. The wording was unclear-- did he mean just come and lecture one day? I agreed to coffee or lunch, and on the phone we confirmed time and place. After we met up at the coffee shop Professor Hong decided to take me to the best cafeteria, near the Institute of Russian Studies (I am still learning all these buildings and it was the first time I'd even been to that part of campus). There, by coincidence, we saw his good friend (and undergraduate classmate) Professor Song Junseo (a Russian historian). We had lunch and they informed me about many aspects of working for 888 U. By the time lunch was over, I had agreed to teach a class on Contemporary Popular Culture (to the students of Ukrainian Studies). Professor Hong then walked me by a mountain path (yes!!!!-- except for the fact that I was wearing 3 inch heels on 1 inch platform) to the main admin building where I had a meeting with the staff.

I was faced, in this meeting, with the unfortunate reality that in Korea they calculate grades of professor in a very strange way, and were threatening to drop me down a pay grade (a difference of 500 a month). Yes this means I have yet to see my contract, although I am trusting enough (or understanding of Korea enough) to be here. I persevered in this meeting, trying to keep my voice from rising, as I argued that they had decided to hire me not because I already had at least two years teaching experience post-university, but because they saw me as the right match for their program. All this negotiation, of course, happened in Korea.

When I won, I was also told that they might pay me less this semester as I'm "just" doing curriculum development. A few minutes later it was determined that I am also teaching another class-- "Contemporary Korean Culture and Society." Perhaps with two classes and my curriculum development duties my pay is safe.

Naturally I spent most of the rest of the evening (while meeting and enjoying dinner with Heather) worrying through the increased fog of jet lag how I was going to teach a class the NEXT MORNING on a topic I'd never even taken a class in. Facebook friends came through sending me readings (as my books are in transit from CA right now) and good ideas.
A series of photos of the residential area. In the top photo, second floor from the top, the three windows closest to the mountain are my windows.