On saying good-bye

August 10, 2010

Almost all of the foreign teachers here are on one year contracts. Many of the people I came here with are not renewing their contracts so they will be leaving this week and next week for home or other adventures.

Some of the people I met in orientation became very good friends, some only bright spots in the periphery of my life.  My life is richer for having met them, and even though some I only saw a few times, I will treasure the memories I have of them.

This is one of the downsides to a life of travel and adventure. You meet some wonderful people, share wonderful times with them, and always, eventually, you have to let them go as you and they part ways on your own adventures elsewhere.

I have always been very good about staying in touch with most people. Facebook and e-mail has made it easier to stay in contact with people through time and space, no matter how many times they change their physical address.  Even knowing this though, it is sad to say good-bye.

I’m always a bit surprised when it is time to say good-bye, even though with everyone I meet, foreign or native, the good-bye is eventual. It is part of the price paid for this life, these adventures.

I pay it willingly, yet the sadness doesn’t abate.

I wish all those I will not see again for a long while a safe journey to their destination, much love, laughter and happiness wherever they may find themselves and I hope that we may meet again, to recount our tales of the trail.

Good-bye my new friends, and may you be counted as my old friends as the years go by.


Why I love Korea… now with photos.

July 26, 2010

Korea is a land of contradictions. It is grounded in history while thrusting towards the future.  I think that is what I love about Seoul, the tension between past and future and between east and west.

As much as I enjoy the modern and international parts of Korea, I also love the traditional.  I often go to E-mart and Home plus, but I also like shopping in many of the outdoor markets. One of the very cool things is that these markets are not just one farmer’s market in the downtown area, but they are near every single neighborhood.

Some of the scrumptious things you can buy are all kinds of fruit and vegetables, kimchi’s and snacks.

Of course you will find some things that aren’t so delicious.

Of course, my co-teacher would disagree. We met in Insadong on Sunday, with her whole family. Insadong is one of my favorite areas in Seoul (I have more than one)- its kind of touristy, but also it is where you can find a lot of traditional arts, several excellent tea houses and cool modernized traditional clothes. Some of it is even affordable.  While we were there, they had an exhibit of “living legends” – people who keep a lot of the traditional crafts alive.  It was very interesting.

After the exhibit we walked around some and found traditional candies, traditional crafts, and free hugs

But what is really cool, is just going out and about, you can find cool things like:

This is one of the many reasons I love Seoul,  you don’t have to search for adventure.