Posted by: revenantananias | 4 12 13

cooler weather

how I lived a childhood in snow
and all my teens in tow, stuffed in strata of clothes
pale the winter days after dark
wandering the grey memorial park, a fleeting beating of hearts

~  the decemberist

 

I am delighted to say that it is so much cooler now. Most of the autumn leaves have met the ground, those left are contending the wind which will inevitably bite them off. The travelers to 아차산 are becoming less and less. The view seems bleak from the top as skeleton fingers of the trees wave in winter.

I have learned that teaching english jobs are not very easy to get. Many places want FBI background checks and apostillised copies of diplomas and transcripts. Doing this for one application costs shy of $1,000 and might require you to go back to the states. So- get that done ahead of time.

Fortunately for me, my wife works for the president of a university. I have been freelance editing for them and have been offered a position.

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Posted by: revenantananias | 27 10 13

9 October 2013

This is my first birthday in Korea. And it is the first time in many years that Korea brought back the Hangul holiday. Korean is the only written language where we know when and how it originated. It was invented in the Joseon Dynasty under King Sejong in 1443. However, Korean was spoken before Christ walked the earth, it was just written out in Chinese.
As I am learning Korean I notice that reading it is easy, pronouncing it is tricky at times, and the lack of pronouns can, at times, drive me nuts. Nevertheless- it is always fun to learn a new language. And this one was created with great care and makes more sense than other languages (except Korean could use some more pronouns).

Posted by: revenantananias | 27 09 13

mobile phones- and then some

file me away
in  your heart someday
you just be you
i’ll be me, ok?
~ badly drawn boy

mobiles are used everywhere and by nearly everyone.  but in Korea i have seen it reach new heights (or perhaps limits?).  i have seen, on the subway, several people with more than one phone.  oddly enough, i see just as many iphones as i see samsungs and lgs.  for the most part they all have the same app running- kakoa talk.  for the most part people do not use the text app on their phone, but use kakoa talk instead.  but unlike what i have seen in the rest of the world- it is not just the youth.

even the elderly in korean have smartphones.  and unlike other places in the world i have been, they know how to use them.  phone, internet, maps, pictures, and even kakoa talk.  it is amazing seeing grandparents use their phones like champs.

but sometimes it is overkill.  once i saw a guy kakoaing with his iphone with one hand and in his other hand he held an ipad playing a television show.

Posted by: revenantananias | 27 09 13

happy 추슥!

fields within fields
acres to the edge
an acre for your bed
thinking of you
marking up your plans
making up what memories you have
look around there’s no one left but us
~kathryn calder

thanksgiving in korea is fun.  it reminds me of old time america when all the shops were closed and everyone went to visit family for the weekend.  only that does not happen for many americans anymore.  and america never closes shops anymore- 24/7 for maximum income.  thanksgiving in the states means shopping.  people go to bed early thursday and get up at 3 to make it to the shopping mall to buy, buy, buy.  sadly in these markdown shopping events people have been mauled, shot, and trampled to death- a long way from the days when americans went home to spend time with their families and rest for the weekend.

my wife and i received a few customary 추슥 gifts- tins of spam (i have not seen spam since heaven knows) and fruit (spam in the states is equated with poverty, but spam in korea is more like a special treat and a reminder of the past- how far they have come.  and korea has a lot to brag about- after the war they went from a third world nation to a first in record timing).  we visited my wife’s cousin and had a fun time.  there was no turkey, but there was 오디 (duck).  i love duck.

i am happy to see that, regardless of how Kore has become a 1st world nation that family is not forgotten as it has in the states and part of europe.  in fact, many children live at home until they get married and it is not seen as weird, unlike the west where it is viewed negatively.

Posted by: revenantananias | 15 09 13

the rain has ended

eli, the barrowboy, you’re the old town 
sells coal and marigolds and he cries out all down the day 
below the tamarac she is crying 
corn cobs and candlewax for the buying, all down the day

the decemberists

 

the sun has been out a lot more these past few weeks.  when i first arrived in the beginning of july, it rained three weeks straight without a single ray of sunshine to be found.  it was wonderful.  i love the rain and rather dislike the sun.  that may be because i have that fair european skin that burns when left out in the sun for more than three minutes.  

the rain, though much appreciated by myself, also kept the humidity very high and along with it the temperature.  recently, however, the temperature has been much lower as well as the humidity.  the sun is out, but it is not too hard to dodge what with all the tall buildings of Seoul.

people here laugh when they say that i cannot wait for winter.  they think that the winter in Seoul will be a big shock to me.  but i grew up on an mountain in upstate NY and i am certain that winters here will not be so cold, time will tell.  but even if they are- i will be all the happier.  like it was said of scrooge, ‘no winter wind could chill him.’  though i am not a cantankerous old miser, winter is the best.

but let me not speed up time.  let’s enjoy the autumn first.  i am quite excited to see the view from Acha San.

Posted by: revenantananias | 27 08 13

popped collars are not dead- they just moved to Korea

home you can’t take it back
all i have is what i know
when its all been taken away
home is where i cannot go
~kathryn calder

 

in Seoul, there are a ton of different styles.  the most fascinating to me is the acceptance of mountain climbing apparel for nearly ever occasion.  sure- they may have just come from the mountain- but church, shopping, movie going, even at a wedding- someone will be wearing mountain climbing apparel.  

but there are tons of other styles.  you name it- Seoul has it: skater, business, business casual, preppy, clean, grunge, hipster, and also plain ol’ tees.  and popped collars, that fashion never died out- just moved to another continent.  and for all the styles of clothes that one can find, there are a pair of glasses for it too.  they range from the cool, sleek and sophisticated looking glasses to the just plain huge and goofy.  and sometimes there are no lenses in those big goofy lenses.  

another thing that i noticed- these clothes are good quality.  regardless of the stye, they are high quality.  i have a suit that my wife’s parents gave me.  they bought it here in Korea and it is from Italy- but it is the best suit i own and i have yet to see its equal.  there are few poor quality clothing items in Seoul.

Posted by: revenantananias | 21 08 13

the mountains

Well, then the trees began to shake,
fa la lanky down dilly,
Horse did tremble and man did quake,
fa la lanky down dilly.
The birds betook them all to peep,
it would have made a grown man weep,
Fa la la-n-fa, da-n-da da-n-fa, lanky down dilly.
~kate rusby

Seoul, and most of Korea, is full.  it is full of people, cars, noise and smell.  the eyes can only see so much, the ears cannot hear all, and the nose is just as distracted.  if one is a country-boy like myself- it can make one feel pressed in on all sides.  i consider Seoul the first city i have ever lived in.  before here i lived in Briarcliff, an area just outside of Atlanta proper, therefore not a city and removed enough.  this makes Seoul enormous to me.

Seoul has skyscrapers as high as the sky in every city.  unlike the states, the people do not live in the mountains, they live in the valleys.  and to house all of them there are many skyscrapers.  the number of them is impressive.  take a train in any direction and one will notice that the mountains are bereft of people whereas the valleys are full of them.

but in all the busyness, one can find solace, a sanctuary, a respite for the senses.  please allow me to take a quote out of context, “head for the hills!”

we live next to a mountain, Acha san (아차산).  no less than two hundred people go up there a day walking past our place, and i am certain that there are more than that.  but no one lives up there: no hermits, no poets, no one.  it is, instead, visited by those wishing to increase their quality of life as peaceful daily asylum seekers and those wishing to get their blood pumping.

the view is magnificent.

cropped-dsc_02072-panorama.jpg

Posted by: revenantananias | 19 08 13

it is good for the Seoul

“steady, steady, steady the wheel
i know we’re heading for the ditch
but i think we’ll be
okay, okay, steady me now
my wooden hands grind into dust
that settle like snow on us”

~kathryn calder

i have decided to take a can of air and blow off the dusty logic board of this online journal.  it certainly has been a while.  i am a few years older, maybe a little more mature, and perhaps a shade wiser.  these days i travel with my wife; we are staying in Seoul for a few years.  so i decided to write about my experiences as a misplaced person.

throughout this process i will be making notes about the people, culture and food.  perhaps other things as well.

currently it is 25 degrees.  it was 32 earlier, and Seoul has humidity like Florida.  it feels like i am riding my bike through a pond.  oddly enough, after ten minutes i look that way too, what with all the sweat.  bikes are truly the best way to travel in Seoul.  SongHee and i live about twenty-five minutes from church by walking- but by bike it is not even ten minutes.  the bikes we bought are hands down one of the best purchases we made.  taxis are cheap too, in Seoul they start at ₩2,400, currently $2.15,  (₩2,800 in Busan and Taegu) and you go far before it starts to add up.

public transportation is cheap too.  we recently came back from Taegu and it cost about ₩80,000  ($71.50) for two one-way tickets to Seoul on the fast train.  in the States, amtrak would charge your about $200 for one ticket for the same time.  the busses and subways are cheap too.  public transportation here in Korea is just as safe, clean and timely like Switzerland, but cheaper.  in the summer taxis and public transport may be better than the bike, however, as they have a/c–the bike does not.  that being noted, bicycles are still great to use here.

we bought our bikes from a father/son duo who have been selling and repairing bikes for decades.  the price was slightly higher than buying it online- but we were able to ride away instantly and not stuck updating the tracking info online every four hours.  and we received free locks and free lights for the front and rear of the bikes.

best of all, though, is watching the smile on my wife’s face as she pedals around.

Posted by: revenantananias | 14 04 10

typical response to invitations- ‘too busy’

i spent some time looking up things and found that president obama is attending the funeral of the late polish president. though my heart goes out to the Poles, it seems odd as he did not go to his grandmothers funeral. i think it is because he is trying to make up for all of the things he has not attended:

1) king and queen of Norway’s request for dinner (he just took his peace prize and bounced)
2) 1st US president to skip the ball honouring the medal of honour recipients
3) national day of prayer (it was said that he was distancing himself by not attending.  incidentally still hosted the national day of prayer in which many world leaders are invited…)
4) EU-US summit in madrid (though Spain’s president was able to attend the prayer breakfast)
5) 1st president since grover cleveland to nix attending the gridiron lunch (grover was president over 100 years ago)
6) not attending the Berlin wall ceremony (after being invited by chancellor merkel.  tons of other world leaders were there.)

and i think it is really interesting that as france did not invite the Queen to the 65 anniversary of Normandy- obama is doing his level best to get her in.  nice gesture and all- but you, sir, need to go where you ARE invited.

Posted by: revenantananias | 17 01 09

i was following the pack
all swallowed in their coats
with scarves of red tied ’round their throats
to keep their little heads
from fallin’ in the snow
and i turned round and there you go
~fleet foxes

long time folks. really long friggen time. but i have an amazing excuse, i am in seminary. long and short is that i am reading a lot and have little time to do much else. masters work is difficult compared to undergrad. especially when you are learning 5 languages and reading hundreds of pages. now it just sounds like i am whining.

a lot has been happening here. strangely enough, it started this year. no one has pointed any fingers in my direction. well, one person did- but it was quickly pointed out that i read all the time, and therefore it could not have been me. phew, the punishment for all of these odd goings on is expulsion.

fire extinguishers have been put outside people’s doors, names and hangings are being moved from door to door. and somehow someone (or someone’s) put a picnic table in the middle of the stairwell. that must have taken some time because no one heard it and it took three people a not so easy time to get it out. then someone put the three television remotes from the student lounge into the backpack of some foreign exchange students bags.

weird…

but now i am under attack! someone called me a heretic. no big deal. except two days ago some girl called me the antichrist. really, now! this particular girl said that she was giving up speech for lent. i told her good- because that would be great for the rest of us and that God loved her silent prayers best anyways.

naturally she called me the antichrist again, in front of a large table full of people and a church body convening a meeting in the next table over. if i was the antichrist, my cover was blown.

i put my hand over my drink- because it seemed like something could get into there. no sooner did i do that and she said that she was going to put something in my drink and that i ruined the opportunity. oh well. then she resorted to ice cubes. so i held her hand until the cubes melted which made her squeal; better than the cubes going down my shirt or pants.

then i was about to leave and she grabbed some of the stuff that she was taking back to her room- a few cups of cereal. she was in a hurry to get me and one fell over. i laughed and looked up high and said, ‘thanks God’ and gave the thumbs up sign. she got pissed and the church members at the other table looked up to see what i was looking at, forgetting that i said, “thanks God.’

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