All posts filed under: Random Rambles

Man & Stick: A Love Story for the Ages

..a queasy, disorienting feeling came over me. Something was missing. I stood there on the roadside, checked for wallet, sunglasses, lens cap, glasses: all present. I clicked on the camera, reviewed the last shots from my Sineo-San walk, trying to spark a memory, saw this one of the cherry-bordered mountain road I’d just descended… Advertisements

House of a Hundred Rooms

Howdy, strangers. For the second time in Korea I’ve been knocked horizontal by something nastier than a common cold. Everything ached; party season at Club Mountaingoat was reluctantly curtailed. My malaise was exacerbated by an injured rib from a fall a few weeks back: every cough was a blade through my chest. Then just as the rib seemed to be mending, I coughed so hard I threw out my lower back, an old injury that flares up once or twice a year to transform me overnight from Bear Grylls to Grandpa Simpson. As you know, I’m not the complaining type, so I withdrew from the world and stewed in anonymity.

American Woman

Hey, all, and a Happy 2013 to my fellow bloggers and readers! My American adventure started brilliantly and just gets better and better. I was met at JFK by Kate, sister of Dude and close pal of Trouble, the couple whose wedding I flew over to attend. Kate and I had never met but she was a fan of this here blog. We immediately set forth on an erratic but always entertaining journey north to the girls’ camp in the Adirondacks where the wedding rehearsals were in progress. We were technically lost for several hours and I saw much more of the state of New York than I had anticipated. It was a totally engrossing drive, however; we talked non-stop and learned a lot about each other. I started the journey intrigued and finished it six hours later utterly infatuated. We missed the rehearsals.

An Unexpected Visitor

Well, I didn’t see that coming. After that little taste of Winter up on Bulmo-San last weekend, I’d assumed I wouldn’t be seeing any more snow locally until I climbed some more peaks later in the season. Last Winter here in the balmy south (late January or February) the hills nearby got just one light dusting and a few lonesome flakes kissed the school playground one day before a quick death and a return to sweet nothingness.

The Young & the Desperate (Scene from a Stroll #7)

Lunchtimes Monday to Wednesday I escape N1 and stroll to a park five minutes away with a sandwich, a coffee and the Kindle. I didn’t think much of this scrappy little patch of green at first, but with Summer it’s grown on me, like much of Korea — an oasis of respite from the chaotic din of the corridors and the depressing chimes that divide the school day. It’s even better when the two old men who enjoy staring at me from the opposite bench are absent.

High rise & korean flag

Middle School of the Damned

Don’t ask me nothin’ about nothin’ I just might tell you the truth ~ Bob Dylan, ‘Outlaw Blues’ I teach in two schools. That is, I “teach” in two schools. At my second one, a co-teacher made the mistake of asking me how my Friday had been. It had actually started quite well, with few murderous or suicidal impulses, but by lunchtime it could’ve gone either way.

Gazing out the Window at Independence Mountain

Seeing much, suffering much and studying much are the three pillars of learning ~ from the Day 1 class notes of my Korean co-teacher Thursday was Independence Movement Day, commemorating the first mass resistance to Japanese occupation on March 1st, 1919. When my vice principal told me about it, I recalled climbing a small mountain/big hill not far from home, half an hour downstream along the Dirty River:

Iceland Calling

Ha! Hope that got your attention! I was going to do a nice sunshiny post this time to reward readers who stuck with me through that sorry — and rather chilly — Jeju saga. I’ve done 16 hikes or prolonged rambles (the lines are blurring) in my five weeks in Korea and I’ve only been bone-chillingly, pre-gangrenously cold on a couple of them, so I have a lot of more temperate tales to choose from and a lot of catching up to do. But I’m being spontaneous here, tonight, sitting on my heated floor in my lovely little apartment, thinking about Iceland.

Enter the Dragon

Happy Seollal — Korean Lunar New Year — readers! Not only is this the Year of the Dragon, which happens to be my Chinese sign, but this post is also, by some sweet cosmic synchronicity, my 100th on TGTW. My first post was published on January 29 last year. I’m proud to have kept this leaky little rowboat afloat so long in these turbulent times (the turbulence seems to follow me around) and hope you’ve been enjoying the journey.