Tag Archives: NaBloPoMo

each November, I remember… finding joy after loss…

For the first time in 20 years, I didn’t cry today.

On November 1st, 1996, my father died from cancer. It’s hard to believe I can say that. I don’t feel “old,” but saying I experienced the loss of a parent two decades ago makes me feel like I’ve aged.

Every year, I have dreaded November 1st. For what feels like forever, this day has been a major tracker of life events – much like a birthday or New Years celebration.

Another year I didn’t get to celebrate my achievements with my daddy. Another year wishing I knew more about him – that I knew him as his adult daughter.

Two years ago, I decided that I wasn’t going to let this day dictate my feelings so negatively. I wasn’t going to let it rob me of my joy. Instead, I’ve spent some time over the last week or so leading up to this day to think about how far I’ve come in 20 years.

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I’ve been to the winner’s circle…

Today, I met a friend of mine for what she has always called “gaming.” This term has scared me in the past because in my mind, I equated it with super-nerds gathering to play things like Dungeons and Dragons (the original board game) or others like it.

While there’s definitely some of that going on at said weekly “gaming” gathering, there is also a lot of playing not-so-intense-and-insanely-serious games, too. Caitlin and I began playing a game she had with another “gaming” friend called Splendor. The premise is to gain 15 points by collecting “gems.” This, I totally understood and enjoyed playing. Turns out I’m not the best strategist, though.

After a couple games of Splendor, we moved on to something more intense that Caitlin’s friend, Marc, brought a mammoth game that takes literally hours to play. (There were a couple of other games present that took hours, too, but we didn’t play those.)

The game: Eclipse.

Marc told us it would take a minimum of 2 hours to complete. It was way too much for me to (want to) handle on my own, so I asked if Caitlin and I could play as a “team.” (This basically meant that I had no clue what was going on most of the time, but helped make decisions here and there for our “team.”)

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Start of the game. I was already feeling lost, but things got clearer as we went along.

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the life of a Korean student…

Every month at school, we do what we call “Writing Event,” where the two native English-speaking teachers choose some random-ish topic for all the classes to write about. In months past, my students have written about their dream jobs; if they could build a house out of candy; what they would do if they could go to space; and what their super power would be if they were a super hero.

Of course, every year at Christmas, everyone writes to Santa whether they’re a believer or not. (Most of them aren’t, but I demand that they pretend to be for the 40 minutes I have them in class.)

The other native teacher and I read through our respective students’ responses and choose the best from the bunch; then together, choose the top 3 for every level. Some submissions are hilarious. Once, a kid wrote that he was thankful for his family because they take him to buffets. (That kid won that month. Because that’s stinkin’ funny.)

Most are less creative than I would hope… Korean kids don’t seem to have the same kind of creativity that Western kids have. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s due to this: they’re not really allowed to be kids.

I’ll come back to that thought in a moment. For now, let me tell you about the most recent “Writing Event.”

In October, we decided to keep with the Halloween theme and ask students to write about their “biggest fear.” Not surprisingly, we got many “ghosts,” “the dark,” and various animal-related fear responses. Some said they feared my KBFF, which I reinforce because someone at school has to be scary. And then, in what seemed to be funny, some of them said they feared their parents.

We laughed in class with the students who offered these suggestions. Some of them were very lively and silly when explaining why they feared their parent(s). One of my more odd and good-for-a-laugh students was quite animated explaining how his mom is “scary.”

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here’s what the world thinks of Americans…

Several weeks ago, my KBFF sent me some videos taken on a university campus in Korea, presumably in Seoul. They’re pretty funny and frankly, spot-on in some cases.

It’s not terribly surprising what many of the campus’ international students thought of Americans. As an American, myself, I have thought often that we as a group tend to be loud, a bit obnoxious, and overweight. (Not all of us, of course, but stereotypically speaking.)

What was also funny to me was how the international students (including Americans!) described the Korean students. They, too, were spot-on! Korean students do have a certain “look” about them… I’ve learned since I have lived here that it’s almost a requirement to have a rather square-looking backpack and glasses. Girls usually have the same basic haircut, or something similar, anyway. And everyone wears those fake Adidas slippers. And I mean everyone.

While the qualities in these videos are certainly not true for everyone, they seemed to be on the right track. If nothing else, they made me laugh. I hope you’ll laugh, too.

 

 

What do you think? Did they get it right on either side?

Share your reactions in the comments!

DMZ adventure photos…

If you missed it, I wrote yesterday about my recent trip up to the South Korean side of the DMZ and my stop back at Seoraksan National Park. If you missed the post, I encourage you to go back and read it.

Due to some uploading difficulties, I wasn’t able to include a photo gallery with the post, but I’m doing it today!

My pics certainly don’t do the place(s) justice; it was truly an incredible experience.

Enjoy!

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