Showing posts from April, 2006

weekend recap . . . weekend preview

As members of the Sangmu Kumdo Academy's Demonstration Team, we are most often called on to demonstrate combat situations wherein showing the practicality of what we're taught. Of course there are embellishments, like the unnecessary kicks, spins, and cartwheels, and honestly it’s sometimes like feeding children creamed-corn, but when the masses demand the “airplane approach”, it’s what’s done. In the end we were applauded and “whooped”, receiving rave reviews from young and old alike. Master Lee was quite pleased, and we were pleased it was over (if only to get our lives back).

Ah yes, living. It’s what we’ve promised ourselves to do this year. Since Alex was shackled to his former job, we could not escape the limits of Gwangju as often as we would have liked. This year is shaping up quite differently.

This weekend is the beginning of our quest to see the wonders of the Korean peninsula. On the agenda Mokpo (목포), this state’s major port city, and a historic strategic …

The Foreigner Problem: Part I

I woke up today wondering why we’re still here. My mind raced with people, places, commitments, and most of all, time. The ever-elusive time, those spare days that Alex and I had hoped to save for travel around the peninsula. The hours in the weekend we wanted to explore Gwangju, or maybe, see a movie. The afternoons I wished to be out with my camera, but instead I’m shoulder deep in dictionaries and Korean newspapers in my continuing quest for the language. The late nights of martial arts that, once in awhile, we would prefer to spend over a quiet dinner. “Why are we still here?”, is the question that nagged me this morning as we woke up to bike to the immigration office.

Riding a bike is a meditative thing, especially in Gwangju. Small streets wind out onto the modern city routes between squat, square buildings. These small structures conceal cars from pedestrians, and vice-versa making for close calls, or calls you don’t want to get. Sidewalks are small if they exist at all,…

One Year On

So one year has come and gone and here we are still in Korea. This past year has been tumultuous, to say the least. Underwater trees, busted eardrums, vomiting in the park from food sickness or too much sun, or let’s just say it: alcohol. And that was only one trip. I suppose this retrospective should be something along the lines of “Things I’ve Learned” or maybe “What to Do and What not to Do in Korea” or some equally inane clichéd thing, no offense to those who enjoy those kinds of lists, I’m just not that way, generally, I hope. So then what is this going to be? Really short.

When I came to Korea I expected the language to come rather easy, I suppose if I had studied as hard the first five months as I did from August, I would have a much better handle on it. I know enough to get around, but there is a lot more, as if that isn’t obvious. My time at the place where I was employed was as turbulent as this year, and in some way could have been the cause of all the chaos. But th…

When in Spring...

Ice skate?  I mean, sure, let's ice skate.

We went on a friend date with our pals Ki-Hyeok and Seung-Gyun today to a nearby ice rink.  It's been some time since I've been on blades, but it's a lot like riding a bike.