Sunday, May 29, 2005

Spring League

Spring here has been beautiful so far, and today was no exception. The sun was shining and it was a balmy 27 degrees. We headed to the Daegu World Cup soccer stadium to watch a soccer game. The stadium is really beautiful and is nestled in the valley between two mountains. The open air seating was practically empty and for $7.00 we had the pick of any seat in the house. At home you go to a game (soccer, hockey, whatever) and you have a choice of hot dogs, chips, beer, soda and other assorted junk food. Here you can choose between rice cakes and ramen noodles. (Be warned that if you choose the noodles, you may just have to wait in a long line for the hot water.) And beer of course...some things cross all cultural borders!

The game was good, though I spent most if it chatting with my friend Chelsea, and our team won 4-3. Every time the home team scored, blue streamers and sparkles would shoot out from somewhere above our heads! It was cool. Like most things in Korea, the normal event of a soccer game was made foreign by the strange foods, the different smells, the constant staring and the language barrier. We didn't know what we were chanting most of the time but we were chanting alongside the rest of the fans, and it was fun.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Today was a strange day. I woke up early and went to my friend's house for a couple of hours. My friend is nine and very cute. She's a mini Korean version of me at that age and she amazes me every day. She's smart, creative and funny. I love her so much and I never leave her house feeling sad...until today.

I've been in a slump the past couple of days...hormones I figure. I decided to walk home from my friend's house and listen to Brian's iPod. It was a long walk home but I loved every minute of it. I started off listening to really mellow music which didn't help me feel much better but did give me the opportunity to wallow. Wallowing is good...but only for so long. About 45 minutes into my walk I switched over to my music from the 60's...the Doors, the Four Tops, the Beach Boys. Before you know it I was singing my way through downtown Daegu. I loved being outside and took the time to smell the roses...literally. This actually turned out to be a big mistake since the roses in Daegu are all growing along side the stinky, garbage-filled river. The smell of rose only lasts a few milliseconds before it's overcome by the smell of stench. That'll teach me.

In the evening we went to a DVD bang (bang is Korean for "room") which I think might be one of the coolest things I've ever seen. You go in and pick your video, much like a videostore at home. You hand it to the guy at the counter and leads you through a maze of dark hallways and into your own little mini-theatre. In each room there is a huge movie screen (about 7 feet by 5 feet), a big comfy-couch and a table for drinks and food. You can bring in anything you want - a pizza, beer, name it. It's great. It's private, cheap and comfortable. Like going to the movies only better. They're technically illegal here (can't imagine that the movie theatres like the competition) but they are on every corner.

We watched Motorcycle Diaries and loved it. It's based on the journals of Ernesto Guevara, before he was "Che Guevara". It was filmed in Argentina, Chile and Peru and the scenery was unbelievable. It was really interesting to see how many of Guevara's revolutionary ideas first developed. It's amazing to me how chance encounters and discussions with strangers can affect a life as profoundly as it did Guevara's. Before his travels across South America he was an Argentinean medical student. After his travels his destiny was much greater and he eventually became a pop culture icon. In hindsight, maybe he should have stayed home.

Friday, May 27, 2005

I need to write a manifesto...I'm just not sure what I want to say. Sometimes I get so filled up with frustration that I want to scream but I can never really verbalize what frustrates me so much. This generation...the black hole of revolution. The complacency that surrounds me, despite plenty of things to get worked up about. Human rights abuses, the erosion of the separation of church and state, not to mention our planet which needs to be under death watch. The Bolsheviks had their revolution, the hippies had theirs...we're just too damn lazy. Forgetting everything else, the environment should be enough to unite the whole world into a frenzy. It should cross cultures, languages and age barriers. It should (gasp) leave the fringes behind and become a mainstream cause. But it hasn't...not yet anyway. It's wilting in the melanomic sun and people are going about their everyday lives.

What makes a "cause" well up and pour out into a revolution? Soldiers are dying in Iraq at the same rate (if not worse) than they were in Vietnam and nobody is marching on Washington. War medals are not being thrown into chanting crowds. People in Africa are dying by the millions...the famine that swept Ethiopia in the 1980's hasn't disappeared, just shifted course. And there is no Band Aid. Women are still treated as second rate citizens in many parts of the world (some would argue all parts of the world) and no one is burning their bra. What happened to the revolution?

What happened to not living by default?

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Now, call me crazy, but is it possible that this Newsweek story might actually be true? After all the fallout from Abu-Ghraib I am quite sure the US government would go to great lengths to silence any similar type of story. Even as far as paying off/threatening its biggest national news magazine?

Al-Jazeera claims it has separate sources that support Newsweek's claims. Something tells me that we will never know the truth. We can just flush that hope right down the toilet.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Love in the Rain

Tonight it was raining and Brian met my taxi at the market. I stepped out of the cab and under his awaiting umbrella. The air smelled like rain and strawberries and it was just about the most romantic thing I had ever seen.

Monday, May 16, 2005

A hodgepodge...

I cannot believe this Newsweek thing. "Ooops, we made a mistake, sorry about the 15 people killed in riots over our story." And our journalism profs thought we we were bad fact-checkers. Ha!

Brian and I each got a Tamagochi...and we're addicted. I thought I was immune to the expired Japanese craze. Apparently I am not.

Sunday was Teacher's Day and on Friday I got bombarded with presents...good ones. (No repeat of the Christmas seaweed set.) Body shop gift sets, candles and even a Tiffany and Company jewelry bag. Brian got a giant bottle of Johhny Walker Black label, which is sort of an odd gift for your teacher, but still very considerate. It was a good day.

We booked our tickets out of here!! Wahooo! We fly out on July 9th into Singapore. We are making our way from Singapore up into Malaysia and then on to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and then into China and Mongolia. We are so excited! We have time, money and no real itinerary...could I ask for anything more?

We leave for Japan in "18 sleeps" (as Brian says) and that will definitely make the last few months fly by. We have our accommodations booked and have the climb planned. Now all I need to do is save the money for the medi-vac to get me off the mountain. I'm a little worried about the climb but Brian says it will be fine...hard but doable. It will be worth it when I get to the top of Mount Fuji and watch the sunrise over the crater.

Went bowling last week and I loved every minute of it. Now, some people may not know this about me but I love ten-pin bowling. Enough that I have looked into joining a league when we move to Calgary. I have priced out balls and shoes on line and I am determined to be the best bowler I can be. Brian thinks this is ridiculous and insists that bowling is for "white trash". Guess I won't ask him to be my bowling partner. I will admit that every team I looked into joining was named after either a beer or a Nascar driver. What I need is a bowling team/political discussion group/secular humanism and skeptic association all wrapped into one. Maybe I can start one...any joiners?

Only 36 work days left...not that I'm counting.