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Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Government Efficiency

Last week on Thursday I had a delivery service pick up my old passport (along with a pic, a completed form, and a money order payment) and deliver it to the American Embassy in Seoul. Today, Tuesday, I received my new passport, returned to me at work by the same delivery service. Wow! 4-5 days, though two of those were Sat/Sun.

I am very impressed and already sent them a "thank you" email.

Now I'm set for another 10 years:)

The Stone Balls


If the link doesn't work, go to the BBC website and search for "the stone spheres of Costa Rica".

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Health Care

Republican or Democrat . . . doesn't matter a lot to me at the moment (aside from the fact that we're essentially limited to two political parties).

What does matter is extending health care to all of the people who live in the U.S. The Democratic plan doesn't go far enough, but it's better than the Republicans', which doesn't seem to exist.

You would think that after 200+ years we could manage to get a basic necessity like this done right.

And cost? Give me a break. If we were not so busy fighting wars we could pay for health care several times over.

I live in a country--South Korea--that, in some ways, is much less progressed than the U.S. Yet I have affordable health insurance.

America's politicians seem to be so caught up in other issues that they cannot address the ones that are most important. That's a shame.

Monday, 22 March 2010

As if to Emphasize My Last Post . . .

. . . Mother nature decided that we were due for yet another round of snow today. It's wet and mushy, but it is white and cold.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

March Is Not Spring in Korea

Here in the greater-Seoul area, we have gotten snow twice in the last two weeks, and though only a dusting, it is a reminder that winter is truly not over. Temps continue to remain in the single digits (Celsius--I guess that's 30's and 40's for you backwards folks).

Sigh. I had just bought a bicycle last fall before it turned cold, and I am enough of a wimp that I stopped riding it once the early mornings froze--that's really the only time I can enjoy exercising. So I am excited for it to warm up a bit, though, like most here, I do not look forward to the long hot summer.

And summer in Korea it shall be, as I recently made a decision to stay here for a while longer, at least until November. A good job--one that I am continuing to learn from (always important!)--plus health care, something unfortunately not promised in America (damn the politicians, they have medical themselves), makes a lot of difference.

A new computer is on the horizon (this one is 4+ years old), and I want to engage myself in some other pursuits. I'll write about those once I figure them out:)

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Today Is . . .

Today is Sunday, literally Sun Day, named after the sun.

And guess what tomorrow is--you got it: Moon Day (Monday).

Saturday is named after the planet Saturn.

The other days are named after old Norse (Norwegian) gods . . .

And how about this? Did you know July is named after one of the old leaders of the Roman empire? (Julius Caesar).

So was August (Augustus).

September-December are simply counting names(7-8-9-10; the Roman calendar began in March), but the other months (except for Feb.) are named after pagan gods, such as January, Janus, the god of beginnings/endings, the two-faced god (looking backwards and forwards).

With so many of us belonging to the Christian faith, it seems funny/ironic that we are adhering to pagan names for our schedules, yet I like the ties to our history . . .

Saturday, 6 March 2010

A New School Year

Last week, the beginning of March, also marked the beginning of the new school year in Korea.

I have lots of new classes, students, and textbooks.

Kind of a crazy time with so many changes.

A lot of it is very positive, as a few of my good classes I got to keep, and a few of my good students carried over into my new classes.

Some of the changes are still sorting themselves out, as the students are excited/out of sorts from the shift in their routines . . . a new school year means not only new classes at our English academy but also--of course--at the students' public schools, and at other academies that they might be attending (math, music, Chinese, etc.)

Spring is coming, and it seems the right time for change. Rebirth, renewal, and growth, right?

One of my co-teachers said she wished it were a month from now, when things are all (hopefully) settled, and in a way I do too, yet, except for the stress, I like some of this newness, especially the energy surrounding it.