24 May 2007

"How hard it is, sometimes, to trust the evidence of one's senses! How reluctantly the mind consents to reality." -Norman Douglas

19 May 2007

Books, Books, and more Books

I have a confession that may come as a surprise to no one, but I am addicted to reading. A few of you might know that I am a closet bookworm. My ideal afternoon is sitting in an old library window seat lost in a good book. Because I know myself and my addictive tendencies toward reading, I made a conscious effort not to read the Harry Potter series until I had finished my undergraduate studies. I was much wiser than I could even have foreseen. I gave myself the liberty to read the series here in Korea, because my homework load is a bit lighter and well, I thought it would keep me entertained. I started the first book on the airplane over. I fell in love IMMEDIATELY. I read veraciously and was making trips to Seoul specifically to buy the next book in the series. You couldn't find me on a bus or train without my book and book light (a precious gift from my friend Mi Jeong). It became a running joke, as I would randomly laugh out loud while reading. It didn't matter to me that I was on a crowded bus. As far as I was concerned I was at Hogwarts along with my new friends, Harry, Ron and Hermoine. I have already finished all six of the released books.... AND I am counting down the days until the July 21st release of the seventh.
*If any of you want to discuss my ideas about the end of the sixth book and conspiracy theories regarding the next, please head my direction. ;)

During one of my visits to a local bookstore, I ran across a new favorite of mine completely by accident. Daddy-Long-Legs is PRECIOUS and I highly recommend it! We have a friend here from the Czech Republic named Radomir. He gained the nickname "Big Daddy Raddy" which over time (due to a viewing of his extra long legs during a soccer match) changed to "Big Daddy Long Legs." Needless to say, when I saw a book titled Daddy-Long-Legs it immediately became a "must-have." It is a short and very pleasant read. Almost the entire book is written in letter form. I will be bringing home my copy if anyone wants to borrow it, but you should really buy it! You will not regret it.

My most recent literary adventure was Jane Austen's Persuasion. I just finished it last night. For Austen lovers, you will not be disappointed. I loved this, her last, book a bit differently that her others. The main character is my exact age and well... we have a few things in common. Just read it, you will be glad. A quick warning, the first ten to fifteen pages are difficult to get through, but the rest is well worth the effort.

Now the dilemma remains; what to read next? I think I am leaning towards Wuthering Heights... we shall see.

New Camera

I have had the same faithful camera for years and years. I bought it before my first trip to Costa Rica and it has served me well in my many adventures. Many of you reading this blog have had your image captured by it at one time or another. For the past year or so, it has been a little "high maintenance." I have had to hit it on the bottom with the palm of my hand to get a proper image. The lens and the camera needed some assistance in connecting. It has gradually been getting worse and worse... and the other day I reached the end of my patience. The photo to the right is of my hand! I figured the time had finally come to invest in a new camera.

My friend Will has become a bit of a shopping fiend here in Korea and has now participated in the purchase of three digital cameras for himself and friends. I recruited his expert assistance and we set off to the Yongsan Electronics Market in Seoul for a grand shopping adventure. I was sooooo glad that Will came with me, because the sight of a MILLION different electronic devices made my head spin. We walked through a maze of booths and storefronts. At times, I thought we might be walking in circles! Eventually we found Will's "guy." (I told you he's become an expert!) I looked at camera after camera comparing lens quality, shutter speeds, battery life, etc. In the end, I bought a lovely new friend! I would like you all to meet my new Casio Exilim.

A suite mate of mine had to move back home to Seoul about halfway through the semester. Her mother is sick and she needs to take care of her. I have missed Jane very much! She loves to laugh and is just a precious soul. I took the opportunity, while being in Seoul, to meet up with her for lunch. We all ate sushi together at a chain called California Sushi. After lunch, Jane spent the afternoon helping us shop. When Jane and I were suite mates we had a tradition of ice cream dates. We would head to the snack shop next door to our dorm and chat about life over a green tea drumstick. So before Jane caught the subway home, her and I had one last date. I was so glad to have some time with her again.

Here is our sushi platter to make your mouths water!!!

After a full day of shopping we took the FIRST CLASS train to Onyang and made the most of the extra room by snoozing our way home!

18 May 2007


선생님 (songsaengnim) means teacher in Korean. It is a word which I have become pretty familiar with, as we use it daily to address each of our professors. Recently, the tables have turned a bit and I have been hearing it used as MY title as well. Monday through Thursday nights a different group of international students from Global Village travels to a local community center to work with underprivileged children who want to learn English. Wednesday night is my night. My kids are adorable and very bright! The photo above is of Paul, me, and Mary. Paul is really soft spoken and normally the only boy in my class. I love his sweet smile. Mary is a giggler and understands the most English. She sometimes needs to translate what I say for the other students and rarely does it without giggling.

The neighborhood all of the students live in was built by Habitat for Humanity. The community center is run by the local Methodist church and my classroom is on the bottom floor. We go through a simple textbook, practice pronunciation, and review how to introduce ourselves to new friends. We almost always end by playing counting games. I have to admit, teaching English appears to be really EASY. I mean, all I have to do is talk to these beautiful children in MY native language. It almost seems unfair. They have to work so hard and I get to sit back and enjoy their company. I have become quite fond of my kiddos and find myself looking forward to each Wednesday night.

When I was in India, I remember being amazed at the power and freedom that literacy offered. Here in Korea, I am seeing the role that the English language has in the international world. For better or worse, the United States and England are global superpowers and English is a nearly necessary tool for anyone wishing to get a "good" job here in South Korea. Everyday, I am more and more thankful to God for the experiences He is giving me here. I am learning a lot not only about myself, but also about the different needs others have. He is extra kind to use children so often to teach and to encourage me.

Truly Outrageous!

A better video to complete the education of the reader.

Showtime Synergy!

I know! I know! I have been a horrible blogger. I am sorry and will try to make up a month's worth of blogging this weekend. A million stories wait to be told, BUT I will share only the most recent one tonight.

Thursday night our social directors Carlos and Henry threw a "Halloween in May" costume party. We drank and danced on the roof of one of our school buildings. Eventually the rain tried to ruin our fun, but we would have none of it. We danced in the rain and later moved into our dorm lounge. Thanks to the boys for organizing the night.

I went dressed as Jem! (For the younger readers who have lived an incomplete and Jem-free life; please view the following video of Jem and the Holograms, the group that inspired my costume and brought me much joy as a young Melissa.) Starting tomorrow, I'll be a better blogger. ;)