We disappeared for a few weeks there. Not sure what happened back in St. Peter, but the server hosting our site went down and we were out of commission for a while. We’ll have more posts up as soon as we can get them out to you. While we were out I wrote some fiction and might hand it over to you later this week to see what you think of it. Keep it tuned here.
MOULARD PUZZLE CAFE, ILSAN — I am seated outside piecing together the last of the Starry Night puzzle’s frame. A puzzle cafe is exactly as it sounds, a cafe where you may sip a coffee of something a bit stiffer while assembling a myriad variety of puzzles. The drinks are mediocre, though the beer is at least well priced, but the real draw are the puzzles.I excuse myself to the bathroom and let Danielle try to go it alone in figuring out how to interpret the Thousand Pieces of VanGogh sitting on our table.
Continue reading “Brief Encounters with Businessmen”
Most people outside of Korea might guess that the word “Hogwon” is the Korean word for a hog farm or the name of some kind of hog-based commodity. I’ll admit I didn’t have a clue about what a Hogwon was until I started working for one. Even now that I am working for one, I still do not really know how to describe it, because there isn’t really anything like it back home. The closest thing to it is probably a learning center like Sylvan, but even that isn’t really the education model that can describe a Hogwon.
Continue reading “On: The Hogwon”
Summer vacation came and went this week and, given that we have not yet seen a pay day, we decided to explore our suburb’s parent city, Seoul. We toured the Changdeok Palace in Seoul. Rich with history, it is among the most beautiful structures in all of Seoul. It brought back memories of Beijing’s Forbidden City, except that, unlike Beijing which lost many historical landmarks over the years due to urban planning under the growth-at-any-costs mantra it is a city with palaces, monuments, museums and other landmarks scattered throughout, reminding visitros and Koreans of the country’s long, proud history. In addition to historical significance, Seoul is also a magnificent cultural hub; a city in league with Paris, London and New York in its internationalism. Classical music, fine art, and Broadway musicals all make their way through Seoul. As we learned more about the city, and explored deeper and deeper into its nooks and crannies, we quickly realized that Seoul is probably one of the most under-appreciated cities in Asia.
Continue reading “A Diamond in the Rough”
When most people who know what a podcast is think about podcasts they usually think of a downloadable radio show, but podcasts can have many different files embedded within their code, including PDFs. Since we’re generating a PDF “printable version” of our site anyway, we decided to make it easier for you to receive our updates right on your home computer, and are now offering our site as a podcast.
To subscribe to our podcast, use the following url in your favorite podcast or feed reading software: http://harmsboone.org/feed/
If you do not know how to podcast, visit this great explanation from the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/help
Hope you’re enjoying the site.
The trash piles on the ground floors of apartment buildings in Korea are veritable gold mines for the visiting foreigner looking to furnish a studio-size room. Everything from kitchen supplies to living room furniture, can be easily found lying on the ground left by the latest resident to move out, into fresh digs. The Urban Crowd Effect is the force that compels people to ditch some of their larger belongings and buy (or find) new furniture to replace that which could not survive the trip. It pays dividends for foreign Hogwon teachers still awaiting their first paycheck but hoping to decorate the apartment a bit to make it feel, you know, a little like a home instead of a few blank walls, a tiny kitchen and a bathroom. While the couch we found this week may be a couch from the trash, it is still a couch. The cushions covers are washable, and the rest of it can be vacuumed; it’s also not too shabby for found furniture.
Continue reading “One Man’s Trash”
In the interest of making self-publishing, and making this feel less like a blog and more like an online magazine, we will be publishing a PDF version of all posts alongside the web version. Feel free to download and print or just keep them to admire the photos.
Also, expect a new entry soon.
When it rains it pours. While this old saw usually refers to a series or chain of bad events each subsequent event getting worse and worse as the event or moment in time proceedslike when an organization suddenly sees four of its six VPs resign in quick succession, when it rains it poursduring the South Korean monsoon season it is quite literally true. Work is only about a twenty minute walk from home for me, and though many of my co-workers take a roughly $3 cab to work each day, lately Danielle and I have taken to walking. The only real problem with our it’s-only-a-twenty-minute-walk-why-would-we-take-a-cab approach was exposed on our second day of work at our hogwon when a little bit of what looked like manageable rain turned nearly instantly into a downpour so heavy it was as if the air had suddenly turned to water. Thus began my first full day as an English teacher.
Continue reading “When it Rains, it Pours”
I promise there will be a real entry here soon. I have a busy day of correcting journals written by first through third graders today, and then I’ll start blogging for real. Check back soon, Saturdayish.