Sunday, February 22, 2009

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I had a great time with Young-Sook, Steven, and Claire in Seoul. They were so incredibly sweet and hospitable. We went to Namdeamun and Insadong markets and to some really upscale mall. We had odeng in the market, Starbucks coffee (with Young-Sook), a really nice lunch of this beef stew with seafood and the dish that looks like an omelet with oysters, and a red-sauce other seafood dish, and dongdongju (rice drink). Everything was so delicious. I had great talks with Young-Sook about ESL teaching and learning and with both of them on every other thing that came up. Their vivacious 6-year old was a real trooper. We hung out until 9:00PM! I took the bus back, which stops near the KTX train station. The bus trip was not bad at all, and the luxury bus was half the price of the KTX. I’m not sure if it was just closer from where we were or if I would have been too late for the last KTX train, but I was up for the adventure. In some ways the bus was nicer because the luxury seat leans back and a leg rest pops up, so you can sleep. The trip is about an hour and a half longer, but I had the latest Steven Pinker book (The Stuff of Thought) that I am borrowing from my neighbor, Paeder. Taking the bus reminded me of taking the bus anywhere. It's all the same; I was really glad for the one rest stop for a bathroom break. Steven said that the bus terminal was near the train station, so all I had to do was follow the people getting off, no chance of getting lost or ending up in Timbuktu. I planned to take a taxi from there to Kyungpook, but the bus stopped somewhere else first, and some people got off, so I asked a young man/boy to be sure where I had to get off. He said that that stop was West Daegu, and that I needed the East Daegu, the last stop at the terminal. When we arrived, he waited for me and asked if I wanted a ride to Kyungpook, that he lived nearby. His dad had come to pick him up. Wasn't that nice?! I accepted. The boy's name is Jeong-Eun (sp?). He graduated from HS last week is going to Seoul National in March. He wants to be an earth scientist. I gave him my card in case he ever came to Austin.

Home in six days! Love to everyone.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009

It's Friday night, and I am alone and cold. The heat broke in the faculty dorms. If the fix is minor, it will be fixed by Monday. If not, it will take a week. I'll be on a plane by then! The cold inside is not too bad, not really colder than our house in Austin. That's one of the perks here. Regardless of how cold it is outside, the indoor rooms (not halls) are always warm and toasty. In my dorm room I often wore shorts and a sleeveless top I brought with me. Toasty indoors makes the cold a lot more bearable because every time you go out, your bones and blood are all warmed up and ready to face the cold.

Speaking of cold, it got cold this week. It's been really cold this week--this after a week of temperatures in the 50's. It will be even colder in Seoul, where I am going tomorrow, but I am ready for it with my long underwear and by blanket wool coat.

I am going to Seoul to visit my old classmate from UT and Drew's old lawyer colleague and their cute 6-year old daughter. I'm leaving at 7:30. My new young friend and acupuncture buddy, Eunae, is going to accompany me to the train station. She is so incredibly sweet and helpful to me. I'll be back on Saturday night. On Sunday afternoon, I'll go to a movie and dinner with some students.

I'll tell you what really sks here (in the dorm at least) is TV! I just saw an episode of the Biggest Loser (not straight through, some BBC from time to time), but now Survivor is on, so I am back on BBC for some Israel bashing. We get Aljazeera here, too, fun!

I’ll be home on the 28th! My dad’s 80th birthday is tomorrow!

Hasta la próxima,


Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I'm a bad blogger. It's just that so much happens, and I don't have time to sit and write it all down. The main part of the course is over, and now I'm teaching a two-week Internet-Based TOEFL (iBT) mini-prep course. This is the do or die test for many students--even those who have no immediate plans to study in an English-speaking country. A TOEFL test score (preferably high) is required for university admission, graduate-school admission, law school, many jobs in Korea, and probably gym memberships, also.

I love my students! They are sweet, friendly, considerate, fun, and studious. We have gone to lunch, dinner, hikes, and even an overnight outing with them. I wish I could do more for each one individually.

The two main adventures we had were a trip to Palgong Mountain with one group and to the traditional city of Gyeongju with another group. (I will try to post the pictures on this blog after I finish writing. If I manage, enjoy them.) There are lots of mountains in Korea, and Koreans climb them as sport, but you’ll see many older Koreans climbing than you will younger ones. Many Buddhist temples are located in the valleys of the mountains. Some of my students explain in one of the short movies I’ll post. Gyeongju was the capital of Korea during the Silla period (see or or send me a better link. We spent the night in a traditional-style Korean home with an under floor heating system (for Ami and other interested friends: I could say a lot more about these places, but I have no time. I have to listen to my students TOEFL speaking practice.

There are other pictures I’m going to try to post—from when I arrived, the trip to Seoul, some student dinners, in and around Daegu and Kyungpook National University, and odds and ends.