Posts Tagged ‘Korea’


I enjoy the little things in life. That morning commute where traffic is in my favor, the wind is at my back and humidity levels are low. Those times my cat stretches out and I pet her soft underside without getting bit. Those patches of forest whose sights and smells remind me of other times, in other locations. But the biggest “little thing” that I enjoy is natural disturbances. Those times when Mother Nature is really angry and she just doesn’t care who knows it.

One of my earliest memories is from an evening in the summer of ’92. I was just over 3 years of age, my sister just over 1 and crib bound. It was late in the evening and I woke to find an empty house apart from my sleeping sister. The sky outside was ominous, 7 shades of Armageddonon. Eau Claire, WI was on the brink of one of its classic summer storms. My parents had taken the opportunity of us sleeping children, as a chance for a pre-storm walk around the block.

While in my fragile impressionable state, I was undoubtedly terrified at the time. Yet, there seems to be no long-term psychological damage sustained. Amazingly. That could be attributed to the fact that this was a recurring habit of my parents. It wasn’t long before I was joining them on their ritual calm-before-the-storm walkabouts.

All of this came to me yesterday evening in the residual aftermath of Typhoon Chan-hom (a typhoon in China but just the fringes of a tropical storm here in Korea). After 28 hours of heavy winds and rain, I decided to break from my hermitage and head to the hills. The rains had stopped but the winds were making a formidable last-stand. Clad in nothing but shorts and a t-shirt, and armed only with my GoPro I made the 335m ascent to the summit of my favorite mountain – Goraksan (due mostly to proximity but also because of its ancient mountaintop stone fortresses).

The winds came in angry gusts, bending over small trees and exposing their panicky-mint colored undersides. I could not help but draw parallels to how T-Rex had similar affects as he (she?) moved through the forest in the original Jurassic Park. As I came into the clearing of a hillside earthen mortuary, I got an unobstructed view of the agitated summer sky. Like a portal into summers past, I was instantly reminded of that conceivable Armageddon in the summer of ’92.

In a seeming act of neglect, it appears that my parents unintentionally instilled within me an appreciation for the fearful acts of nature and the beauty that sometimes precedes or follows.

And for that I am deeply grateful. How many Wisconsin boys have stood upon a fuming- cloud shrouded mountaintop and watched the passing fury of a typhoon whip by in the form of swirling clouds, contradicted with defiant rock? When “the view” is unseen, I would argue that one can see their future, there in that void. Passing by. One hurried cloud after another.


Time is never time at all

It was 2 years ago today that I stumbled into my first Korean classroom. I was dazed and confused both from the 13 hour flight and the foreign alcohols my new employers exposed me to the night before. I had never taught EFL in a classroom yet within 14 hours of landing in the country there I was.

Well that was all when I was a neophyte. I know a thing or two now. What do I know? I know soju on a school night should be avoided. I know. I know… Hmm maybe ill have to return to this…

My host; WordPress has just informed me that yesterday was my 4 year anniversary of blogging with them. That means I have been out of university over 4 years. I have been away longer than I was there.

You (like I) are probably wondering what the point of this post is it. Apart from the nostalgia and numerical synchronicity that I so enjoy, this post is about time and our lack of it. As Billy Corgan once sung, “time is never time at all”. Its there but its never enough, it moves way too fast.

So what? Do we fold before time and its definitive power? No. We make the most of it. We take the 13 hour flight to a foreign country to do something we’ve never done before because its an opportunity. Its an attempt to make the most of the fleeting time before us. Am I still making the most of that time? I don’t know, I booked a flight to Sapporo, Japan last night.

Ill do my best to continue to strive for new experiences. To make the most of the cascading sands. Its good to have WordPress and its A.I. & automated notifications to remind me that time is precious. As grandpa always said; onward and upward ‘ol buddy.