Saturday, January 26, 2008

public nudity

yes I said "public nudity."  Feel free to squirm a little, I'll wait.  

First, here are more pics of Thailand ... I though you would enjoy the perspectives of different views in the world and these are among the most interesting and beautiful.  Now to my thoughts ... 
For the last few weeks I've been able to frequent a public sauna and bath house near my school.  This is a new and interesting thing to me.  They have these huge rooms, saunas really, where Koreans, and a few Westerners, cram into and sweat out the sweat.  It's all quite nice and relaxing and the end of the outing is finished by washing off in the public bath house.  Personally I have no problems with showering in public places ... I have been used to this from my summer camp of my youth at Camp Sea Gull in North Carolina.  But this is not just some row of shower heads ... they have everything, and I mean everything.  In my mind I will simply enter in and shower and head out ... but this is not the complete way of doing things.  There are several hot spas, there is a sleeping area and little "caves" for one person to take a nap, they have steam rooms, cold baths, and really, really hot baths all coming from some underground upward welling spring source.  There is a level of, "man this is weird" but I realized hell everyone else here is naked why do I care.  I think perhaps I stand out a bit with my different physical features that are not normal to Korean men such as hair on my chest, the color of my hair, and being the only naked Westerner in there.  As I'm writing this I'm wondering why exactly I'm sharing this with you ... I don't fully know so forgive me if this is odd for you.  There is one thing though ... aside from the strange display of public nudity that my western mind is simply not used to I rather enjoy it and always leave feeling refreshed and renewed a bit.  So who knows, perhaps soon there will be public bath houses in the US ... I would say to try it ... it's weird and different but it's a unique thing to experience a way, however strange and odd to us, how a different culture relaxes on the weekends.  

Also this weekend I picked up the Planet Earth DVD series fro BBC.  It's quite amazing and I highly recommend it ... the visual aspect and the landscapes are quite breathtaking and there is so, so very much about this world that I had no idea about.  Especially if you have the HD thing on your TV, apparently that's what it is made for.  

Ok, all is well!  Enjoy yourself!


Saturday, January 12, 2008

just words ...

Above are more photos of my trip to Thailand ... as you can see, we saw many things ... including a Muay Thai fight where the first bouts were between children no more than 10 years old.  Yes, I was disturbed by then until I looked near the ring and saw one of the young fighters mothers yelling at him in much the way a soccer-mom in the west would yell at her kid.  It was a truly universal moment ... and a unique view into this culture.  The country side is also beautiful, this area at the foot of some mountains on the island of Phuket, was, I believe, somewhat new.  After arriving back in Korea I read an article stating that Phuket received 30% of all Thailand's' tourists.  This is a huge amount ... something like 1.5 billion dollars.

I have been trying to post all of my photos from my trip but have been having a bit of trouble with uploading them ... so hopefully soon I will be able to get more loaded to share with you all.  

Now for the update on me ... I am doing well.  I believe, and hope really, that I have somewhat passed through the difficult stages of the whole culture shock cycle.  It did, however, coincide with the holidays so with that it was especially hard this season.  It's a peculiar thing to be so far away from family during the holidays with all that has happened this past year ... I can remember enjoying time with family but also wanting to be elsewhere doing something other than what we had always done ... but this year wanting, more than I thought I would, to be doing the very thing I had done for the past 20 years of my life or so with my family.  The question seems to linger at all times ... what will I do after my contract is up?  I will be the first to inform you, I have no idea.  I find that my mind changes as much as the weather ... two months ago I would have told you I'm going to stay ... now at this point I would say I'll probably leave.  All this talk and thoughts of "what's next" can be very consuming but it seems to come back to the fact that truly I still do not know what I would like to do.  I may want to finish out the school year with my kids in the end or may feel that moving west is the best course.  I do question the longevity of it all being here ... perhaps a bit more schooling for a different part of the world ... perhaps something in the humanitarian field ... perhaps teaching in the States.  The options seem to be endless.  

As for school right now.  The school year is coming to a close soon when we will get new classes and new schedules.  I'm trying to make the most of it and give my students all that I have and to, more importantly, teach them the best and most effective ways that I know how.  

So that updates you as of now and what I am thinking and other things.  Email if you get a chance!