Thursday, March 31, 2005


Today I was a blog of the day! How cool is that? I've always had a hard time writing for other people, and so I decided to turn to the anonymous beauty of blogging. (Okay, so it's not always anonymous.) I've always written and I've always hated being read. It stems from a couple of (apparently deeply-rooted) childhood memories:

1. In the fifth grade I sold poems for money. It made me feel like a whore...a ten-year-old nerdy whore, but a whore nonetheless.

2. A few years later I decided to bare my soul and allow myself to be vulnerable. I read my newest short story to my mother while she was brushing her hair. It was about horses. She said she didn't "get it".

3. A sneaky high school teacher entered one of my poems into a competition without my consent. I won the contest and was forced to attend a writers workshop with some famous author. He proceeded to analyze my writing to the point where I didn't even recognize it anymore. Pacifist tendencies...futility of war...feminist leanings. WTF?

Anyway, my husband (okay, I'll admit it - that feels weird) loves what I write, when I'm bold enough to share, and he always talks about the day when I will publish. I used to silently swear that would never happen and that the first order of business to be carried out upon my death would be the cremation of every word I'd ever set to paper or screen. I have recently begun to soften. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad.

People, who I don't know, read my blog. And they liked it. I don't feel like my soul has been left to rot in the open air and I haven't been ridiculed. It just felt somewhere out there, somebody gets it. And that, after all, is what it's all about.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Frank Rich does it again. Sometimes it makes so much sense and I just can't understand what people don't get.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005


Sunday's earthquake in Japan sent shockwaves through the Korean peninsula and I didn't feel a thing. The quake measured just over a 4.0 here in Daegu and all of my students were talking about their swaying apartment buildings and things falling off the wall. Me? Nothing. What a rip off. The worst part is that this is the second earth quake I have missed in my life. There was a pretty big one when I was in California as a kid. Apparently my 12 year old sleeping mind assumed it was still on the rides at Disneyland.

I'm up and I can't sleep. Better yet, I can't sleep, so I am up.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Ding, Ding, Hell

My God - how could I forget to mention work? It sucks. In fact, it licks goat scrote...that's pretty bad. We have been fighting with the bosses for week and they just keep piling the work on. Meetings, reports about nothing, presentations about even's never ending and it's all busy work. Koreans are procedure oriented not goal oriented so they always make us do this shit to keep us doing something. I could seriously sit there all day and do nothing and I would be better off than if I came in for 5 hours, worked my tail off and went home. Anyway, another co-worker has also been kicking up a fuss and recently received this warning which I thought summed up the Korean attitude pretty well:
"There is an old Chinese proverb that says that if the
minions rise up, beheading one of them will make the rest fall into line."

Minions? That would be us. Rising up? Asking for fair treatment. Beheading? Your guess is as good as mine.

Moving to Cow Town

After a week of agonizing and flip-flopping, we finally decided where we will me moving in September. Our first choice was Victoria but after a lot of research we realized that it was way out of our price range. It's a nice idea, but the only thing we could afford was a fishing wharf. Now, I actually pitched the idea to Brian of living on said fishing wharf but was promptly refused. Now the book flap with my picture on it won't have the cool little blurb about living on a floating rat trap while I struggled to make two sentences meet. Ah well...

So, we are moving to Calgary. Which at first really disappointed me since I don't want to be in Alberta but I have come around to the idea somewhat. It's closer to our families and will hopefully allow us to still travel and enjoy the outdoors. It's not Hippyville BC (in fact, it's the complete opposite) but maybe I can open my own little commune. With a Starbucks of course, and lots of MEC gear. Sheesh.

Anyway, can't complain because Brian got into law school (at every school he applied to - yay Brian!) and we are going to buy a house and have a life and all that jazz. I might even get a job. Watch out.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Bull Negotiations?

This past weekend we went to the International Bullfighting Festival in Cheungdo. It was pretty cool. I was a little apprehensive at first because I didn't want to see an animal gore another animal, but it was far more peaceful than that. Being Korean bulls, they were basically just stubborn pacifists. It was great day out in the countryside and once again I ended up on the news. White happy bees to honey.

Monday, March 07, 2005


We are still waiting to get our professional pictures back...but here is a teaser wedding shot for you!

Brian, Caroline and Kahu Silva

World Wide Weird

Am I the only one who thinks the official North Korean webpage is a strange combination of creepy and humorous? I know Kim Jong Il is a nutcase and has killed people, divided families and snuffed out democracy, but he has a weird magnetism about him. He's like a naive, socially retarded, megalomaniac.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

What's in a Name?

I didn't change my name after I got married. I had never really thought about it to be honest. I didn't see any good reason for it, and Brian said he didn't mind either way, so I just kept it. I didn't do it to make a point, or because I am not fully committed to my husband. I am not a radical feminist (although, I don't think feminism is a dirty word, like some). I am not even opposed to the idea of changing your name, I just didn't think it was right for me.

I have been surprised by the reaction to this choice. Koreans, of course, think nothing of it. Women here never change their names. Some of my friends have been supportive, others haven't seemed to feel one way or another and some have been surprised. Surprised bordering on scornful. I don't think either set of parents are overly happy about it. Seeing the impact of my decision has forced me to re-evaluate my choice.

I am certainly not alone in struggling with this decision. Women in this century have made so many advances in their struggle for equality, but it's not over yet. Did you know that in 1972 it was illegal to get a driver's license or vote under your maiden name, in America. 1972!! That's nuts!

I have always been a Knox and the idea of suddenly changing my identity because of my marital status, bugged me. It just felt weird. I have finished two degrees and published under my name. I have made friends and contacts under my name. It is who I am. Brian agreed. He said that the idea of his name suddenly changing from one day to the next was strange and that if he doesn't have to do it, why should I? Good question.

I have to admit that I find being addressed as Mrs. Brian West, rather insulting. I know it's traditional and that people aren't intentionally being disrespectful, but really, think about it! I am a thinking, breathing individual who suddenly disappears because I get married. I always feel torn about these kinds of moral semantics. Part of me thinks "Sheesh, it's just a tradition. Why get so worked up about it?" The other part of me knows that if people don't try to change the little things, the big things (like pay inequality, under-funding of women's healthcare and international torture) don't stand a chance. The little things make up the foundation for sexist attitudes and assumptions. It makes certain attitudes acceptable, and these attitudes ultimately lead to inequality. I don't want to make "a mountain out of a molehill" but I do want my daughter to know that she can be anything or anybody that she wants. I want her to think of marriage as empowering, not an abandonment of self.

Let me reiterate that I do not think changing your name is the wrong thing to do. My mother did it, and the majority of women still do it. People have lots of reasons for adopting the tradition - the desire to share a family name, because they prefer their husbands to their own, but mostly, because it's what you do. I guess that is what bothers me. If you think about it, consider the options, and then decide to do it, that's great. It's the automatic acceptance of a tradition rooted in sexism, ownership and paternal descent, without rational consideration that continues to irk me.

Who knows? Maybe one day I will change my mind, and my name along with it. Until then, I am just happy being me...and married.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Paradise...and Back

Hawaii was better than I thought it would be. I knew it would be beautiful, hot and full of native English speakers (a real bonus at this point in our lives) but I also thought it would be a bit too touristy for my taste. It wasn't. It was more beautiful than I had imagined and less busy and congested. There were plenty of empty beaches to walk along and not too much traffic. I fell in love.

We stayed at a great little place on the Windward side of the island. The cottages were right on a private beach...every morning I would walk along the beach, the aqua water on one side, palm trees on the other. Some mornings, I wouldn't see a single other person. It was like I was on my own private island...just me and my family. We decided to get married right where we were staying...on the beach, under a palm tree. Does it get any better than that?

There were a million things I wanted to do on the island, and sadly, I only managed to fit in a couple of them. I guess that means I will have to go back! I did manage to do a couple of cool things though:

1. I shopped my ass off at a really great mall. Didn't have a lot of money, but was loving brand names I could recognize. The food court was the best part of all...Brian and both walked right past the Korean BBQ joint. No way, no how.
2. I went swimming with turtles! We went to Turtle Beach and got really close to them. Later in the week, I went snorkeling and swam right into one. Coulda kissed it.
3. I ate fantastic food, on the beach.
4. I read to my hearts content.
5. I spent a lot of time with my family. It's never enough but I enjoyed every minute of it.
6. We went and watched a pro-surf competition and the world famous Banzai pipeline. That was impressive.
7. I swam in the ocean and did some boogie-boarding!
8. Did I mention the food?
9. We went to the International Marketplace in Waikiki...very cool.
10. I watched a sunset at Sunset Beach and swam in Waiamea Bay.
11. Ohhh...and I got married. :-)

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


So, I am officially married! Can you believe it? It still doesn't feel real. In a way I expected to feel different, although I know this makes no sense, but I don't. I just feel like regular old me...not that that's a bad thing.

The wedding was perfect. I know that is a big claim to make but in my mind, it was everything I could have ever dreamed of. I went to bed on the 23rd and was feeling anxious and a little ill. Not nervous so much as emotionally drained. Buying a dress and getting ready for a wedding can be very tiring! As I lay in bed I kept trying to wrap my head around the idea that I was getting married and I really couldn't. I fell asleep to the sound of rain against the windows. I woke up to the sound of rain. Uh oh.

It rained all morning. The makeup artist, Leslie Gallagher, showed up at 8:00 and started working on Bobbi, Patt and my Mum. She was really great. I couldn't stop moving and pacing all stomach kept doing flip flops. The boys and girls had been separated, so the men were all getting ready upstairs and the women were downstairs. At one point I looked out my window and Brian was out snorkeling in the ocean! I was pacing and he was snorkeling. That's the difference between men and women!

At about 10:30, all of the "wedding people" started to arrive. The musicians (ukelele and guitar), the photographer, my wedding planner, Tammy, and the officiant, Kahu Silva. I started to get excited and nervous and happy all at the same time. It was a strange mix of emotions - my family was all there and excited, the sun was starting to shine and I was in my dress.

Brian and I decided early on that we wanted a traditional Hawaiian style wedding. Kahu Silva is a Hawaiian spiritual guide and master chanter and does a really neat wedding that combines Hawaiian and western traditions. About 20 minutes before the wedding started, the sun came out and lit up our beach. Kahu Silva, Brian and Craig started down by the ocean and Kahu Silva chanted them in from the beach and onto the grass. This symbolized the Hawaiian belief that all life began in the ocean. After they were positioned, the musicians began to play the Hawaiian wedding song which was my cue. My maid of honour, Bobbi, walked out first and my Dad and I followed. It was beautiful. The music was perfect, the sun was shining, our families were all there in a big welcoming circle and Brian was standing there waiting for me. He looked amazing.

My Dad gave me away to Brian and we stood and faced Kahu Silva. The ceremony was really beautiful but difficult to describe. A lot of it was in Hawaiian and then translated in English. Hearing the Hawaiian was really flows so softly off the tongue. Kahu Silva talked about "Aloha", the spirit of love, and how to incorporate it into our lives. We did a traditional ring exchange ("With this ring, I thee wed...) as well as a Hawaiian lei exchange, where the lei's represent unity and eternity. Finally we did a "hone hone", a Hawaiian version of the wedding kiss. We touched nose and inhaled slightly, which represented an exchange of our souls, or spirits. Then we kissed the good old fashioned way and were married!

After hours of getting our pictures taken, the limousine showed up and took us to the reception, which was onboard the Star of Honolulu. The ship was anchored at Waikiki Harbour and was absolutely beautiful. I couldn't believe how lucky I was! We boarded the ship and made our way to the third deck. Our table was on the sunset side of the boat and as we left the harbour, the food (wine, lobster, filet mignon...) started to arrive. It was so good! We watched the sun set over Diamond Head, danced to great music and had a fantastic time.

After the boat returned to shore, the limousine took us to our hotel and Brian and I bid farewell to our families. We walked into the hotel (still wearing gown and tux) and I was greeted with a single rose by the bellboy. The hotel was the nicest place I had ever been! We checked in and were promptly upgraded two scales to an oceanfront room. A perfect ending to a perfect day.

And the rest, as they say, is history. ;-)