Sunday, March 23, 2008

me and my gold tooth

I fully realize that for some of you this photo will literally gross you out ... but I wanted to show you I now have joined the ranks with some amazing people in having a gold filling in my mouth!  I would like to state that now, officially have a million dollar smile ... 

As the story goes ... I went to the dentist for my bi-decade dental cleaning and realized I had ONE cavity, which I will say is pretty impressive since I haven't gone to the dentist in a very long, long time.  So I had a choice, fill the cavity with porcelain, silver, or gold ... and I thought to myself, "this is my mouth for Pete's sake ... I'll take the gold!"  And thus, we arrive at the gold filled smile now captivating Koreans everywhere.  I showed some of my students last week and they said, "Teacher, that is unhealthy!"  I said, "You are right young one ... but look, it's so shiny!"  

Moving on to other happenings in my life ... after the dentist visit, I thought it would be necessary to visit the local Oriental clinic for some accupunture ... a doctor from the clinic goes to my Taekwondo training center and offered to help me on account of my teeth grinding habit at night ... I must be anxious about something ... so I had several, and when I say "several" I mean about 10 or 12 needles sticking in my body in various places ... hands, wrists, feet, and my face ... yes I said face.  They don't really hurt that badly actually, the press the needle in and push it in some predetermined distance until it hits some nerves and gives you a nice little jolt of electricity.  This, although seemingly painful, is quite relaxing and it would seem that the effective remedy they are going for is only able to sustain for a few days or for the most part of a week, then you need more.  Which is fine with me because it's all free.  

I've just passed yet another color of belt in Taekwondo and thus moved up the ladder of becoming the most dangerous person on the earth ... trust me friend, you'll want me in your corner.  Learning the martial arts is quite enjoyable, I've spent a great deal of time in the gyms tossing the weights over my head and away from my body and can honestly say at this point that perhaps some of my best exercising has been at Taekwondo ... trying to become flexible, an on-going thing and using my body to punch, block, kick, and twist has whipped this white boy into shape.  

Teaching is still going well ... I've got a new group of kindergarten children, they are cute and wild as I try and struggle to impart to them discipline and focus for studies ... and all is in English, as you can imagine, this is fun and not stressful at all! ... actually it gets easier every week as they understand more and more.  I'm seriously considering another year over here ... I have made some reasonable demands on my contract and if all goes well I would be back in the States for a few weeks in August and then back to Korea for another year of teaching.  

I hope this post finds my friends and family in good health and in the best of spirits!


Sunday, March 2, 2008

New Photos

So I still can't seem to get my Thailand photos up ... but here are some recent ones of a day-trip into Seoul to do some sight-seeing and tourism-type activities.  One thing is for sure ... so many more people in Seoul than in Daejeon!  

I went to the War Museum which oddly enough had the display of the Dead Sea Scrolls and some other artifacts from the region: it was pretty cool to see these really old documents and to learn more about the culture and history surrounding this unique find.  I still can't seem to understand why they were on display at the War Museum of all places, a paradox for sure ... or perhaps not and I just need to adjust my mind.

After the Scroll exhibit we went to a nice shopping district near our next destination which was one of many Palaces in Korea.  This place was named Insadong and had soooo many people, the street markets were packed yet it still held a nice atmosphere of enjoyment for all.  I was amazed at the Palace ground and History of the place.  I was reminded just how old this civilization was and is and how they have done an amazing job preserving their heritage.  In some of the pictures you can see the direct contrast between these ancient buildings surrounding by fantastic mountain ranges only to be met just across the street by a modern sky-scraper.  In this place I could really feel the vast gulf of difference between modernization and the ancient ways of the Korean culture.  

We also visited a Buddhist temple ... I think it was the biggest one in Seoul ... there were lots of people praying and offering various gifts and petitions to their ancestors.  The temple itself was quite beautiful and serene; it was once again another unique and enjoyable experience.  

Before we boarded our super-high-speed KTX train to come back to Daejeon we ate dinner at a place that served primarily chicken ... I don't know why but we opted for the super hot sauce that reminds me of the kind my dad used to make when I was visit.  Being fully exhausted at this point we boarded our train to make the journey home and thus concluded a great day in that massive and ancient city.