Monday, August 30, 2010

Me and my coworkers

... as drawn by Grade 3 student Rachel!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Olympic Park in the Rain

Click to play the slideshow. Click again to go see the full-size photos.

My new neighbourhood

As many of you know, I accepted a new job as the Northeast Asia Coordinator for the International Debate Education Association. I'm so excited about this opportunity - I will be travelling around NE Asia promoting, organizing, and training people in debate!

Although I do love my teaching job, I'm pumped at the prospect of more challenge and a really dynamic workload. I mentioned in another blog post that I went to a debate camp/tournament to meet the debate community, and I was drawn in at once. So although I know it will be at times draining and frustrating, I am confident it will be just as rewarding. I will keep you, my readers, (all five of you!) updated on my travels and challenges.

The new job also entails a move to a new part of Seoul. (In the map to the left, I currently live at the south marker, in Anyang, and I am moving to the east marker, in Gangdong.)

Saturday, August 28, 2010


... feels kind of like home today.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Malaysia: the price tag

All prices in Canadian dollars.

Flight: $645.69
Scuba (one day): $116.12
Hotel, food and fun: $480.52

Trip cost: $1242.33. Pretty darn good for a week in Malaysia.

If you add in the clothes I bought pre-trip ($113.90) and the books I bought there ($104.45), the trip total is $1460.68 - still under $1500, which was my goal.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My return to the debate world

I went to a university debate tournament last weekend! The Asian Debate Institute, a week-long debate camp, was taking place in Seoul, and my friend Michael (the current President of the UBC Debate Society) was there doing some training. Also, I wanted to do some networking in the Asian debate community before starting my new job. (More on that later.)

It was nice in a lot of ways only a debater would understand. For example, I had to wait for 45 minutes and watch a round before I could talk to anyone. When they realized I was also a debater, they welcomed me immediately and invited me to dinner. I came back the next day to watch the outrounds (quarterfinals, semis and finals), which were pretty decent.

Oh, and in case it's not clear, all this debate is in English.

And I can never stay away from a piano...

Friday, August 20, 2010

101st post...

... and also the cutest. Courtesy of one of the Grade 1 students:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Emerging Adulthood

A fascinating article in the New York Times magazine... all about me! It's a must read.

Money quote:
DURING THE PERIOD he calls emerging adulthood, Arnett says that young men and women are more self-focused than at any other time of life, less certain about the future and yet also more optimistic, no matter what their economic background. This is where the "sense of possibilities" comes in, he says; they have not yet tempered their ideal­istic visions of what awaits. "The dreary, dead-end jobs, the bitter divorces, the disappointing and disrespectful children . . . none of them imagine that this is what the future holds for them," he wrote. Ask them if they agree with the statement "I am very sure that someday I will get to where I want to be in life," and 96 percent of them will say yes. But despite elements that are exciting, even exhilarating, about being this age, there is a downside, too: dread, frustration, uncertainty, a sense of not quite understanding the rules of the game. More than positive or negative feelings, what Arnett heard most often was ambivalence — beginning with his finding that 60 percent of his subjects told him they felt like both grown-ups and not-quite-grown-ups.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A poem I wrote in Malaysia

Dedicated (and sent on a postcard) to my parents.

Why is it only here, on the distant
side of the planet, that I understand
what I had? They all seemed less important,
in the grand scheme of time: the family crammed
in the Red Rocket Prairie Convoy, or
the Father's Day co-camping trips, or just
Dad coming with me to Blackcomb over-
night. Just a part of growing up, I must
have thought.

This week, in every family
I see our own: in the glance a mom throws
me as young ones race off, in peacefully
reading siblings, in the woman who goes
home today to see her kin.

I know, too:
It's not what I had, but what I still do.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

For 1500 won ($1.30)...

... I fixed my computer! All it took was a bit of grease... not elbow grease, but thermal grease.

Sure, in the process of fixing it I wiped out the wireless internet and made the headphone jack loose, but the important thing is that I fixed it myself, for a startlingly low price. As the Koreans would say, 아사! (Awesome!)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

What Steve's listening to

Hawksley Worman and Stuart McLean. Oh, the magic of the internet!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Quote of the day

A snippet of writing from my grade 3s:

"Then he got flustered and turned and fell off the cliff and was happy in heaven."

Monday, August 9, 2010

Gaywatch Korea!

During the World Cup, while my friends and I were at our neighbourhood bar waiting for a game to begin, we happened to catch a Korean drama being shown at the bar. We amused ourselves by making up English subtitles, inventing a plot hinging on pizza toppings. When two cute guys showed up in a house together, I piped up to suggest they were lovers.

The scene continued, and the clear affection and on-screen romance between the pair began to build, so that we were soon wondering if my jest had been true. Flash forward a few months and some research, and it turns out we were right! The drama, Life is Beautiful, had for the first time on maintream Korean TV, written a gay love story into the plot.

The clip is below (with English subtitles) for your viewing pleasure. The scene starts a little ways into the video.

Veuillez installer Flash Player pour lire la vidéo

The man on top of the world (repost with picture)

I wrote a poem in May about this piece of art in Central park. You can read it again behind the jump.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

센트럴 파크 by night

Anyang's Central Park, which is kitty corner to my apartment, is a nice place by day - apart from the sweltering heat which has taken over Korea. But in the summer nights, it shows its true colours: the fountains throughout the park light up and invariably fill with gleeful children enjoying the cool water in the hot evening.

I had a stroll through the park with my camera last night, trying to capture some of the colour and joy of the park.

Click here for the full album (26 photos).

By request...

... and long overdue. Spot Steve in the subway!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Malaysia Rafting Pics

A few pictures from our river rafting experience. Thanks Susie for the pics!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What Steve's reading...

... short stories edition! Among the books I bought in Malaysia were three volumes of short stories, which I have picked up first to read.

Notwithstanding, Louis de Bernieres. A collection of marvelous short stories set in rural England in the middle of the 20th century. Once again I wish I could write like de Bernieres.

Zima Blue, Alastair Reynolds. Hard Science Fiction (that is, interested in the ramifications of real physics on future technology) and space opera that is still the perfect escape for me. Plus, it's well written!

Stories, edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio. I'm only halfway through this one, but so far each story has been captivating and unique. The collection blends genres, so each new tale is like a gem waiting to be discovered.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Kota Kinabalu: the story

This is the story of my Malaysian vacation to Kota Kinabalu in Borneo, with my co-workers Angela and Susie and our friend Gina.

Saturday, July 24 - Day 1

Woke up to alarm, 5:45am, after packing late and very little sleep. Ran on adrenaline until crashing on the plane. Got to Malaysia in the late afternoon.

The first really exciting thing that happened on the first day was the impulse purchase I made in Incheon Airport - a Canon 1000D SLR camera! The fantastically clear pictures throughout this post are courtesy of this beautiful machine. Only $450 USD too, duty free!

The other exciting event was that myself and Angela were bumped up to business class! Hello champagne, good wine, and food served on real dishes!

Arriving in Malaysia, we surveyed the town of Kota Kinabalu (small and chock-full of tourists) and sized up our five star hotel (grand, modern and chock-full of tourists and nurses), grabbed some dinner and went to bed.

Happy Pride!

To those in Vancouver who celebrated it this weekend - Happy Pride!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Kota Kinabalu Photos

See them all at this link:
Malaysia Photos