Sunday, February 27, 2011

Reflection on a year in Korea

I am sitting in my empty apartment, my clothes and belongings packed for my departure, and struggling with what to say about my year in Korea.

While I had hoped that the conclusion of a year in a strange, new country should produce some profound inner knowledge to share, it has so far eluded me. Perhaps I have been too busy with the preparations for going home. Perhaps I have unconsciously assimilated some profound new understanding of the world which I will only be able to express upon distance and more reflection. And perhaps it is enough to say that Korea has become familiar, almost home, and I no longer really think twice about living here.

It may, in fact, take some adjustment to move back home. For example, since I can only express a few simple thoughts in Korean, when I am at a store or kiosk I generally present my goods and assume they will know what I want. When I returned to Canada for Christmas vacation, I had to transfer from international to domestic at YVR to fly to Victoria. I dutifully approached the desk, presented the gentleman with my passport, and silently expected him to present me with a boarding pass. He looked at me quizzically and asked, "What would you like?"

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011


It was Jay's birthday on Saturday, and we went out for ribs... not Korean style ribs, but real Memphis ribs.

Jabob (picture now missing) munched through a whole platter in 7:46, then finished off two other people's leftovers.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Country challenge

The challenge: print out a blank map of the world (you can do continent maps too for detail - especially Europe) and without using any resources label as many countries as you can. Report your score.

I got 55, which I'm not especially proud of but I figure is not bad. (For comparison, my coworker Hannah, who apparently enjoys doing quizzes like this often, got about 150.) I'd be interested to know: should I buff up on my world geography?

For added challenge: add the capital cities!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A riddle... from one of my Grade 3 students

Looking for something? Go to me.
I'm sure that your something inside of me lies.
Of course you can always find hope in me,
Though despair must come first, and later surprise.
What's sought, though, depends on the seeker--
One looks for bobber, another for beaker,
Others for nature, still others for nurture,
The quarry will vary from searcher to searcher.
And yet (I suspect this will strike you as strange)
My contents are set and will never change.
If you still cannot guess what I mean, here's a clue
The answer lies inside of me, too.

Who am I?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I don't usually write product reviews, but I actually got really excited about this last night and thought I'd share: XBox Kinect. The basics: it's a video game system that tracks your body movements instead of using any controllers. My coworker has one, and we gathered at his place to play some games. Before you read, you should really watch this video; we were playing these exact games last night.

My thoughts behind the jump.

Who Steve's Reading

Harvard economist Edward Glaeser! On what other subject than (of course)... cities!

How Skyscrapers Can Save the City. Atlantic, 2011. A defence of upward development with a fascinating history of the skyscraper. I read it on my Kindle!

Start-up City. City Journal, 2010. A history of entrepreneurship in New York.

A talk with economist Edward Glaeser: why America needs to love its cities more. Sarah Goodyear, Grist, 2011.

And if that's not enough Glaeser for you, he was on the Daily Show last night! Video won't work in Canada, but my Canadian readers can watch here.