Friday, 27 February 2015

Some things I did in December (2014)

In December I was particularly busy with work and studies and didn't have the time or energy to get to update my blog, because as soon as my work officially finished I hopped on the plane and flew off to Hong Kong where I stayed for nearly a week. I'll pictures of Hong Kong in a separate post.

Regarding work, it was the end of the semester and I had lots of student work to assess. As for my own PhD studies, I had two classes last semester and also had to submit papers for these. Thankfully, I did well and got an A and A+ respectively. One of the papers that I really enjoyed researching was about the origin and purpose of patterns in martial arts.

At the Taekwon-Do gym we had an international instructor visiting us from Japan. It is always nice to meet people that enjoy similar passions. I also hosted a ground fighting seminar taught to us by Instructor Thomas Locke.

I got to go see two performances. The one was an evening of pansori -- a traditional music genre of Korea, akin to opera.

And the evening before I departed for Hong Kong I saw The Nutcracker ballet for the first time. Outside the theater was this humongous Christmas tree.

One Monday morning on my way to the university where I study I walked into this very colourful subway car. Definitely a cheerful jolt to the senses on a cold winter morning.

These are all characters from a Korean animation called Larva. Here is an example of their silly antics.

I can't remember being too socially active during December, having been so busy. I did, however, have a date with my mom in Korea, Bessie. We had worked together for many years and even lived as neighbors for many years here in Korea. Unfortunately since her retirement and consequent change of address a year ago we didn't have that many opportunities to catch up, so we decided to set aside an evening one night just to hang out. It was really nice.

Another memorable evening was hanging with my friend Young who recently returned to America again. My conversations with Young, who is a pastor, has always been wonderful. Since our very first meeting we have been kindred spirits and our theological conversations are something I really miss. We plan to do Skype conversations once a month starting next month, when we have settled into our respective schedules again.

Someone else who left Korea is the South African ambassador. He retired, so just before he left a group of South Africans came together and organized a farewell party. In my role as chairperson for the South African Students in Korea I got to know him pretty well, and it is indeed sad that he is not in Korea anymore.

The South African Students in Korea also had our own little year end function one evening in December. In March, once the semester has started up again, we will have a little welcoming party.

I went with some friends to a pretty nice Indian food restaurant in Hongdae. The ambiance was great and the food decent, but definitely overpriced. Nevertheless, I think it would make a great place to go on a date.

I walked in the snow... had a haircut...

And did an impromptu painting on the back of a paper plate...

En ek het effens van 'n donker gedig geskryf: "Stilstuipe".

Oh, and I made I really decadent and delicious cherry cheesecake.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Some things I did in November...

The new IFC Mall in Seoul, close by Yeoido, is quite impressive.

Autumn happened and I made peanut butter ...

The real highlight of November, and definitely a highlight of 2014, was my visit to Fukuoka, Japan to go see a sumo wrestling championships.

I slept in one of those tiny little bed-cubicles in a hostel. It felt like a little nest. Loved it. Deserts in Japan, even the ones you just buy at a convenience store are hotel quality. Sushi is definitely better in Japan. Fukuoka is definitely a place I'd enjoy going to again, but the Visa processing is such a hassle that I'm unlikely to go to Japan any time soon again -- definitely not for just a weekend trip.

Thanksgiving was pleasant.

Some things I did in October

This last semester had been unusually stressful. Work, studying and family stuff.

In any case, my vacation has started at last, so let's see if I can remember some of the things I did over the last three months. Here's October...

One day I quickly spent an hour or so at a music festival in the middle of the city, went by a gallery and watched children play and people enjoy the famous Cheongyechen brook that runs through downtown Seoul.

During October I also went to several dance performances, such as Compagnie Linga - "Re-mapping the Body" @ Seoul Arts Center:

I also enjoyed I the Canadian dance compagnie of Virginie Brunelle, and the wonderful Danish Dance Company's "Black Diamond" performance.

Some art at the Gangdong Art Center:

I had to go to the Japanese Embassy (more to follow), so spent an afternoon in Insadong which is close by.

One Sabbath at the international church that I go to sometimes attend I saw this cute scene during congregational prayer:

The gym I train and teach martial arts at moved and my friend got his 4th Dan in WTF Taekwondo: