Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Some of the stuff I did in January

I wasn't very good at keeping track of my activities last year -- leaving some gaps in my blog postings, which of course is unfortunate since the very reason for this blog is to function as a journal of sorts. It is not that I wish to document every part of my life, but at least the highlights, the unusual or interesting moments is worth logging. It seems that this year is starting out not much better. I'm sure I've already forgotten some of the things I've done in the last few weeks. Herewith then, a short list of the highlights I can remember.

Leeum Museum

I went on a date, which included a trip to the Leeum Samsung Museum of Art. Well, it wasn't technically a date. More of a let's-get-to-know-each-other-better-and-see-where-it-goes excursion. (I mentioned the outing before.) I've always wanted to go to the Leeum Museum, but just never actually made the time before. It definitely did not disappoint. We only got to see one of the three galleries. As I understand it, the first gallery include traditional Korean art (that's the one I went to), while the second gallery focus more on modern Korean art, while the third gallery is for special exhibits. I'll definitely go back to visit the second gallery, hopefully soon. Unfortunately were we not allowed to take photos of the artifacts, so the photos below are from areas where I were allowed to take photos.





Salon Du Chocolat

The French founded annual international chocolate trade fair known as Salon Du Chocolat had an exhibit in Seoul, Korea and of course being the dark chocolate chocoholic that I am, I just had to go. I did not splurge -- only bought one tin of quality coco powder. I did, however, get the business cards of some of the prominent chocolatiers in Seoul, and plan to visit their shops one by one. 

Some of the photos I took at the exhibit below includes "clothes", and even "shoes", made of chocolate. 

















Immigration Office

The day before yesterday I went to the immigration office to re-issue my identity card which I lost a couple of months ago. During the semester I just never had the time to go by the immigration office, knowing that it is a time consuming ordeal. Well, I arrived at what I thought to be the office a little after 10 am in the morning just to find that the office has relocated so I had to go search for the new location. Luckily it was within a 10 minute walking distance. I guess I got there, say, around 10:30am, and had my forms filled out within maybe 5 minutes. But then I waited until close to 2pm before they got to help me. By then I was ravishingly hungry and bougth a foot long sandwich which I devoured in under five minutes. I need to return in two weeks to pick up my ID card. 

At least my ID photo came out nice.



Photo shoot

A good friend of mine is getting married and had his photo shoot tonight, so he asked me to go by so that I can take some photos with them. I took some selfies in between shoots and sneakily got some of them as well. The photo studio don't allow visitors to take photos.








Restaurants

I didn't take photos of all the restaurants I visited over the last month. I don't eat out particularly much -- usually I cook at home. Nonetheless, seeing as I'm on vacation I went to a restaurant probably about twice a week. Some of the restaurants I went to included a Thai restaurant, an authentic Chinese restaurant (most Chinese restaurants in Korea are Korean-Chinese, rather than authentic Chinese), a fusion restaurant, a beef buffet (after which I came down of a flu -- my body is not used to much meat), and at least two Italian restaurants, the South African restaurant (yes "the" -- there is only one in Korea), and one of those chocolatiers I mentioned earlier. Below are some pictures.








Blues Concert

This past Saturday night I went to a blues concert. Blues being one of my favourite genres of music I couldn't let this one pass, but the real reason I was excited to go was to see one of my all time favourite Korean rock musicians for the first time, Kang-San Eh, 강산에. I've posted about Kang-San Eh on this blog before, shortly after being introduced to his music, and has since accrued a number of his albums. (Watch Kang-San Eh on YouTube.) While the concert included a number of acts, Kang-San Eh's was undeniably the best (I might be subjective). Man, that guy knows how to enchant his audience! Apart for Kang-San Eh, the concert which was titled The Blues Again included Kim Ganju & Ha Hunjin, Jeon Seonggi, Seoul Blues, Lim Jihoon, and Lowdown 30. The photos below are of Kang-San Eh. 




Movies

I also went to see four movies. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which I saw in 3D and can highly recommend, particularly to watch on the big screen. Two animations I saw were Tarzan and Frozen. Do not waste your time or money on Tarzan. While the CGI is good, the story is terrible and I found it awfully sexist. Disney's Frozen, on the other hand, was a great treat. The fourth movie I saw was a Korean action, called 용의자 / The Suspect. This was an excellent action movie that keeps its own well along the best of what Hollywood spews out. The lead Gong Yoo who I first took note of in the excellent and disturbing 2011 drama 도가니 / Silenced, and who is generally known for his drama and romantic roles, did a brilliant job at crossing over to the action genre. The film is full of suspense, great chase scenes, and well choreographed fights scenes. Slightly over the top, but in a good way. 



Books

I'm currently reading:


Friends

I also spent some quality time with friends -- one of the great pleasures in life. 

Friday, 24 January 2014

Gianni Schicchi: Vampire or Zombie?

Dante and Virgil in Hell (1850)
by William-Adolphe Bouguereau

I saw this painting and the first thing that came to mind was, cool, a vampire. I mean, look at it, one guy is biting another guy quite ferociously in the neck, and flying above them is some type of batlike man which looks very much like something I've seen in such vampire movies as Bram Stoker's Dracula.

It turns out that this is a painting by Bouguereau. Yes, that Bouguereau. The one who also painted the Cupid and Psyche as Children.

In this painting entitled Dante and Virgil in Hell (not to be confused with The Barque of Dante by Eugène Delacroix), Bouguereau is depicting a scene from Dante Alighieri's famous Divine Comedy from the 1300's. In the first part of the poem called Inferno the characters Dante and Virgil are led through different levels of hell. This particular scene is in the eighth circle of hell where falsifiers (liars, counterfeiters, and so on) are kept.

In Canto XXX it reads:

As I beheld two shadows pale and naked,
Who, biting, in the manner ran along
That a boar does, when from the sty turned loose.
One to Capocchio came, and by the nape
Seized with its teeth his neck, so that in dragging
It made his belly grate the solid bottom.
And the Aretine, who trembling had remained,
Said to me: "That mad sprite is Gianni Schicchi,
And raving goes thus harrying other people."

So there I have it. In this painting Gianni Schicchi is not a vampire sucking the blood of Capocchio. But he could be a zombie though.



As is so succinctly paraphrased in one commentary: "That goblin is Gianni Schicci, and he goes, rabidly, mangling others like that."

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

My Korean Name: 이상구 異想俱

From very early on in Korea I chose as my Korean name 이상구 (pronounced Ee Sang-goo), romanized as Lee Sang-gu, based on the Chinese characters 異想俱.

My Korean name wasn't given to me by anybody, nor did I really choose it. In a manner of speaking it was just the most obvious name for me. Nearly every time I introduce myself to a Korean person they would repeat my name as Sang-gu, and ask me if that is my Korean name, where upon I have to repeat my name, emphasizing the correct pronunciation, and explain that I am from South Africa and that I have an African name which just sounds similar to the Korean name Sang-gu. Since this happens so often I just decided that this will be my Korean name. I chose the surname Lee because it too has some phonetic similarities to my actual surname. As far as Korean names go, the name is a outdated. It sounds more appropriate for people of one or two generation older than myself. I've even been told that it sounds like I'm from a rural area. I can live with that. After all, I grew up on a farm, so living with a farm boy name is okay with me. Also, one of the first Korean people I've ever met happened to be the famous natural health practitioner, Dr. Sang Lee, who visited South Africa, I think around 2001 or 2002, where he gave a series of lectures on natural health. His teachings impacted me a lot. Only later did I find out that his full name is Sang-gu Lee. I don't mind sharing his name.

While I have had the Korean name 이상구 (or Sang-gu Lee) for quite some time, I haven't for a long time chosen a meaning for my name. Korean names are usually based on Chinese pictograms, called Hanja in Korean, which have particular meanings. I've looked up some meanings for Sang and Gu before, but I have now finally chosen meanings that I think befit me. For Sang 상 I've chosen the character 想, which means “to think”. For Gu 구 I chose the hanja 俱 that means “all”. In other words, 想俱 might be interpreted as thinking about everything. I'm very much a philosophically minded person, so I think the name is quite apt. As for the surname Lee, there are three Chinese characters for this surname; they are 李, 伊, 異 respectively. I chose the last one because apart from being the surname Lee, it can also mean “foreign” or “different”, and since I am not a Korean, but a “foreigner”, I thought that it is quite appropriate. I am the foreigner that likes to think about many things.

For a while I was tempted to use the surname Ryu since the first time I came to Korea my Hapkido instructed rendered my surname to Ryu since in Korean the “R” and “L” sound is quite similar. In fact, my name in the Hapkido school was Sang Gu Ryu (상구류) and it is still up on their wall as such and some of them still call me by that name. Honestly, I like the sound of Ryu Sang-gu better than Lee Sang-gu; however, the family name Ryu is North Korean and therefore the name is not a comfortably recognizable name in South Korea. In South Korea it is rendered Yu and I don't like the sound of Yu Sang-gu. If I were to move to a Chinese country (I've thought about living in Hong Kong), then I might take the name Ryu (rendered Liu) using the Chinese character 劉.

But for now, I will stay with 이상구, Sang-gu Lee, the foreigner that thinks too much.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Mmm

“Just look at us. Everything is backwards. Everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the major media destroy information, and religion destroys spirituality.” -- Michael Ellner Read

Monday, 13 January 2014

Om 'n "ma" te verloor

Om 'n ma te verloor is nie maklik nie. Dit is nietemin deel van die natuurlike gang van ons gebroke wêreld. Om 'n ouer te verloor is vir 'n kind soos om 'n god te verloor. 'n Kind se hele wese, se heel gevoel van bestaansreg draai om hulle ouers, wat aan al hulle basiese behoeftes voldoen.

Ek het hieroor 'n gedig geskryf verlede jaar. In die gedig spreek die verteller die Dood aan, en bekla die feit dat moeders sterf sodat kinders kan "onderskei / tussen God en mens / tussen Hom en klei".


Ek het ook op 'n tyd 'n moeder gehad

ek het ook
op 'n tyd   
lank gelede
toe wolke nog diere en skepe was
'n moeder gehad

'n ma

'n mamma

wat soos 'n god
my lank lank gelede
gesoog en versorg en verknog het
wat in my die potensiaal gesien het
wat slegs God en moeders kan sien
wat die eerste vrou in my lewe was
die templaat vir al wat vrou is
van Eva tot nou is

ek het ook op 'n tyd 'n moeder gehad

en soos alle moeders het sy ook
onder jou koue lem beland
jou rypvingers het haar om die keel gegryp
en God het staan en toekyk
want dis die lot van alle moeders
dat hulle kinders kan onderskei
tussen God en mens
tussen Hom en klei

op 'n tyd het ek ook 'n God gehad
soos 'n moeder


My mooi ma
My ma was vir jare lank siek gewees en toe sy uiteindelik sterf was dit nie 'n skok nie. In 'n sekere opsig was dit 'n verligting. 'n Verligting dat haar leiding tot 'n einde gekom het. Die laaste keer wat ek my ma gesien het, het sy feitlik niks van haar vorige glorie oor gehad nie. Sy was eens 'n dinamiese, selfversekerde, sterk, pragtige vrou. Maar op haar sterfbed het sy in 'n patetiese bondeldjie verander -- 'n kindjie, sonder 'n moeder om haar te vertroos. Dit is vir my moeilik om terug te dink aan my moeder en nie gelyktydig terug te dink nie aan haar geweldige verval van die koningin wat sy op tyd was, tot daardie bewende prewelde bondeltjie op 'n bedjie in 'n tehuis vir elendiges.

Sedert my ma se afsterwe is ek geseënd met ander "moeders" wat my onder hulle vlerke geneem het. Een van hulle het ook onlangs gesterf na 'n tyd van siekte.

Ek het die volgende op Facebook met my bloedfamilie en hartfamilie (hegte vriende) gedeel:

Tannie Jenny en ek
'n “Ma” en dierbare vriendin van my, Tannie Jenny Streaton, is die middag voor Oukersaand (24 Desember 2013) oorlede nadat sy vir 'n paar jaar reeds met kanker gewroeg het. Alhoewel sy uiteindelik aan die siekte omgekom het, het sy as 'n vegter, 'n heldin in my gemoed, gesterf. Sy was 'n besonderse mens gewees vir wie ek baie lief is en wie baie lief vir my was—en my lewe is ryker daarom. Sy het my moed ingepraat (“pet talks” soos sy dit genoem het) wanneer ek mismoedig was, en sy het selfs op 'n groot mate finansiëel bygedra to my meestersgraad. Ek weet nie of ek my meestersgraad sou kon voltooi het sonder haar liefde en bystand nie, en ek twyfel of ek sou wees waar ek vandag is (besig met 'n doktorsgraad) was dit nie vir haar en die Streaton-familie wat my “aangeneem” het nie. Hulle het my op soveel direkte en indirekte maniere gehelp, dat dit te lank sal neem om hier te hervertel. Sowat drie jaar gelede het ek en Tannie Jenny lank gekuier en het ons kans gehad om formeel totsiens te sê. Iets wat sy geïnisieer het. Ons het diep gesels oor die dood, en hoe sy daaroor voel. Sy het prontuit en eerlik met my haar gevoelens gedeel—insluitende dat sy vrede het met die feit dat sy sou sterf. Sy het ook met my van haar bekommernisse gedeel en dit is 'n voorreg vir my dat ek na haar kon luister. Ek weet die dinge wat sy op haar hart gedra het, en koester dit, en sy het geweet die liefde wat ek vir haar, vir Oom Mike en haar kinders, Margie en Michael het. Sy het vir my gesê dat sy my lief het en dat ek vir haar soos 'n eie seun is. Twee jaar gelede het ek haar weer gesien en ons was bly dat ons nog so 'n geleentheid gegun is. En onlangs, enkele weke voor haar dood kon ek darem 'n kort rukkie met haar op die foon gesels en kon ek vir haar sê dat ek lief vir haar is en ander dinge wat ons gedeel het. Ek is jammer dat ek haar nie weer kon sien voor sy gesterf het nie, maar daar is niks ongesê tussen ons nie. Die wêreld was 'n beter plek met haar in dit—en sy het op haar eie, nederige manier mense se lewens aangeraak. Sy is 'n fundamentele pilaar in die konstruksie van my lewe. Dankie Tannie Jenny. As ek, 'n “aangenome seun” so aangeraak kon wees in die bietjie meer as 'n dekade wat ek haar geken het, kan ek my skaars indink hoe pynlik die verlies vir haar familie moet wees. My innige meegevoel vir julle verlies. Ek weet daar is nie woorde nie, en wil maar net dankie sê dat julle my altyd tuis laat voel het.

Baie liefde,

S

Monday, 6 January 2014

My Romantic Life

Me: "How about lunch on Sunday, and afterwards we go to a museum or a bookshop or a place with excellent hot chocolate, or all of the above?"
She: "Wow, Sunday sounds gorgeous. I am a little hesitant though. It sounds romantic, and romance is not my intention at the time. I'd really like to get to know you better by spending time with you without expectations. So if you're up for that Sunday afternoon sounds great."

My first reaction to her reply was slight disappointment, wondering if I've just been put into the friend zone, but then it dawned on me -- I think I have just received one of the greatest compliments ever.

Me being very at home in a bookstore in South Africa, 2008
The things I proposed for Sunday afternoon such as having a good lunch, going to a bookstore, visiting a museum, and finding excellent hot chocolate are quite regular things I enjoy doing in my free time. To this list I could have added going to the theater, but I didn't think we would be able to fit that into a Sunday afternoon as well; however, it was one of the options I considered, had we met on Saturday night instead.

I was quite pleasantly surprised when I discovered that my every day life, the normal regular things I enjoy doing, is considered romantic. I never thought of my lifestyle as being particularly romantic, but I quite happily accept the compliment. Who wants a boring ol' regular life if you can have a romantic life instead?

Let's raise our (non-alcoholic) glasses to doing the things we love. Cheers!

Friday, 3 January 2014

Our Hearts Speak to Each Other

Image Source
This is probably the most fascinating research I have read in a while, and utterly poetic. Studies show that our hearts can actually communicate bioelectromagnetic signals which is then sensed by the nervous system of another person, causing a heart-to-heart synchronicity where two people's heart start to match each other's rhythms. This works better during skin contact, but can also occur without any physical contact. In other words, explained more poetically, our hearts can speak to each other.

Read the whole article on PDF here: The Enegetic Heart: Bioelectromagnetic Interactions Within and Between People

The paper concludes with:

Acting as a synchronizing force within the body, a key carrier of emotional information, and an apparent mediator of a type of subtle electromagnetic communication between people, the cardiac bioelectromagnetic field may have much to teach us about the inner dynamics of health and disease as well as our interactions with others.

This publication is actually quite old, having been published in 2003. More recent information on the topic can be read at the Institute of HeartMath.


Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Mmm

"Saruman believes that it is only great power that can keep evil in check. But that is not what I've found. I found it is the small things, everyday deeds of ordinary folk, that keeps the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love."
-- Gandalf, in The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien

2013 in Retrospect

It is difficult for me to imagine that yet again another year has passed since the previous time I took a retrospective look at the passed year (2012). A friend just asked me earlier today if I have any New Year's Resolutions, to which I answered that I don't really do New Year's Resolutions, instead I take a retrospective look at my previous year and contemplate the highlights of each month. The first time I did it was in 2008, and I've done it ever since (2009, 2010, 2011).

January 

It has usually been my custom to travel to South Africa during my January-February vacation, but since I needed to save money for tuition I did not travel to South Africa in 2013. Instead I just stayed in Korea.

On New Year's Eve of 2012 I went to the Taekwon-Do gym to train and afterwards went to a jazz bar with some friends. The following day, New Year's Day 2013, I met with two of my close friends to train some martial arts. Later in January I had a promotional martial art photo shoot, which was quite fun too. I also met some high level Taekwon-Do martial artists, one of which is a PhD in Taekwon-Do at a university. I considered 2013 to be the Year of Martial Arts for me. In a certain way it was.

I can't really remember what else I did in January. I guess I spent most of it just relaxing and working out.

February

Like January I spent most of February just relaxing and working out, and I hosted a practical self-defence workshop.

One unique experience was when I visited a Cat Cafe in Myeongdong for the first time. I also bought my new laptop, the Samsung Ativ Smart PC. A purchase I'm still very happy with. I saved for it for nearly two years. I also went to the Tim Burton Exhibition that was in Seoul. And in this month I saw Cloud Atlas and coined the little proverb "Half a story is not worth telling". It indeed became an important theme for me this part year, and I am happy that some of the "half stories" in my life came to an ending in 2013.

In February I had the big decision with regards to which PhD and new field of study I would pursue. I finally chose a PhD in Physical Education, with emphasis on Taekwon-Do and research focus in martial arts philosophy. At the end of February I moved into my new office.

I like the "love" poem I wrote for a male friend.

March

Birthday Photo
In March I officially started on my PhD, which for this year involved mostly attending graduate classes every Monday from early in the morning until late at night -- beginning with an early morning two hour commute to Suwon, and then an evening commute back to Seoul.

I went to a traditional Korean dance and music performance which was very nice. It was a "date night". I also watched two plays, one directed by a friend of mine called "The Toilet Bowl" and the other an adaptation of "Lord of the Flies".

March, of course, is the month of my birthday. I did not have opportunity to celebrate my birthday because I was in class the whole day. In 2013 it was also the month of the highly over-exaggerated North Korean threat by the international media.

I also attended a Tai Chi workshop in march that was quite interesting.

April

I can't recall much about April. I did go to an art festival where I saw a nice dance performance which had me nearly jumping out of my seat and dancing along. At the end of April I went to see a famous tango musical, but I wasn't too impressed with it. Sometime during the month I remember going to the Seoul Folk Flea Market where a bought a small leather backpack.

May

In my I was still in love, but started to notice the writing on the wall and "Don't Do Sadness" became my theme song. I went to see the Tiger Lilies' excellent adaptation of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and also a musical called "남자가 사랑할때" ("A Man's Love" or something like that) with the singer Kim Jaehee.

I went to see the Lantern Parade in celebration of Buddha's Birthday with some of my colleagues. It was pretty, but afterwards we couldn't find a place to eat, which had me a little moody. (Low blood sugar does that to me.) Also in May I had to give my first presentation during a PhD class. I think it was for Sport Sociology -- it went very well.

June

A photo of my eyes swollen
from crying over my
breakup. Lol. 
June was probably the most difficult month for me in 2013. At the beginning of June I learned a very difficult lesson when a relationship I was in came to an end. I learned that one can end a relationship not because you love someone too little, but because you love them too much. I cried so much.

There is very little I can remember about this month. The only good thing was that I found a biological dentist in Seoul at long last. The only fun memory is that I started watching the Korean comedy-drama "Super Rookie."

July

In July I received the results of my first semester's PhD classes and was surprised to see that I got distinctions in all my classes.

I went to the Top Talent Korea Finale, which was quite fun. A real highlight for me, however, was when I got to go on a little private tour of the National Olympic Training Village. This is a closed facility that do not allow outsiders to visit.

In July I composed a piece for the pipe organ, which I titled "A Fugue for the Expression of an Unclear Emotion". It was one of the many ways in which I tried to cope with the mourning I went through. I also liked the poem I wrote as an ode for the common working man: "To All Who Keep the Gears Greased".

I received my 3rd Dan certificate in Hapkido in July.

In this month I also wrote an emotional email to a friend, which I regretted afterwards terribly. It would take months for us to reconcile. I should have known better and definitely learned an important lesson. First, never write emails while you are overly emotional. And second, never send private messages to work emails.

August

Much of August suffered under the burden of an estranged friendship because of the emotional email I sent at the end of July.

In August I dreamed about a chicken and then a few nights later had a conversation with Leo Di Caprio.

I visited a Dan Mu Do gym and received a bamboo flute 대금 as a gift.

And I went on a trip to the southern parts of South Korea where I traveled from Yeosu, to Yeontong, to Busan and Ulsan.

I also went to one of Kim Jaehee's concerts and then later in the month to a concert about the Hwarang Warriors. I also visited the Cinematheque Art Cinema in Seoul and saw one of my favourite childhood films, Interview with a Vampire.

September

The South African
Ambassador to South Korea
and I
For the second semester I taught some new classes, including Animation English for which I had free reign over the curriculum. I searched for animation films that I was sure most students would not have seen. One of my favourites was Sita Sings the Blues. You can watch it free online.

At the end of September the South African Embassy initiated the founding of the South African Students in Korea (SASKOR) association to which I was appointed chairperson.

I was excited to go see the Green Day musical American Idiot! 

There are two poems that I wrote in September that I particularly like, the first because I like the message, and the latter because it is so personal. Both are in Afrikaans: "ons loop trots" and "'n sms in perspektief".

October

In October the second issue of the South African literature and art magazine Guillotine was published. I'm the creative director and layout artist for this magazine. It took many hours of my time, but I'm happy with the end result. It is much better than the first issue from 2012 and I know that the next issue is bound to be an even further improvement.

I won a one month free membership to an exclusive lounge in Apgujeong where I spent many hours working on this magazine and other projects. It was a great place to spend my time and helped me to be quite productive.

The Tempest by the Chekhov International Theatre Festival was one of the best performances of a Shakespeare play I have yet seen, even though it was all in French and Russian. A highlight of the year, however, was "The Chorus; Oedipus", and Korean adaptation of the Greek tragedy. It was brilliant.

I only wrote one poem in October, but it is pretty decent: "What to Do with a Secret".

In October I also went to see the Seoul Annual International Fireworks Festival again. This post summarizes much of October.

I also went to a grand second hand clothing flea market for the first time. From now on I'm going to much of my clothing shopping there.

November

Kay and I
My dear friend Kay from Italy came to visit. We hadn't seen each other in seven years, so it was a happy reunion. My friend Chonghee also came to visit from America and I had Malaysian food for the first time.

The anticipated show I went to see in November was "32 Rue, Vanderbranden" by Peeping Tom. It didn't disappoint. I also had the opportunity to see the senses over loading extravaganza Fuerza Bruta with my Taekwon-Do instructor.

In November I visited Paju Book City where I bought some second hand books, and Provence, a little French themed neighborhood.

December

In December Nelson Mandela passed away and I went to a special memorial service to represent the South African Students in Korea. But an even greater loss to me was when Tannie Jenny passed away on the afternoon of Christmas Eve after struggling with cancer for a long time -- she was a "mother" to me, and I have little doubt that it would have been near impossible to finish my master's degree had it not been for her emotional and financial support.

In December I went to see a Korean ballet adaptation of Macbeth, "The Flower of Scotland".


I also went to a lecture on Korean shamanism and then to the Korean Shamanism Museum. It was quite interesting.

On Christmas Eve I reconciled with a friend (see July). It brought closure. Then a few days later, I went out with someone very nice.

The two poems from December that I like: "After all" and "One day for sure".

I ended 2013 in the same way I started it, by training martial arts with friends. I am a moodo-in.

Other

There are of course many other things I did not mention, mostly with regards to work and studies and the details of personal stuff. I watched some great movies, read some good material, particularly the anthology "Apostroof" by Fanie Olivier which was very touching, and spent some quality time with friends. 2013 was a very exhausting year for me. Working, studying, and keep up all the other parts of my life took its toll.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I don't generally make New Year's Resolutions, but I do plan to make it a goal this coming year to get more hours of nightly sleep. Another goal is probably getting my 5th Dan, and of course, hopefully finishing my PhD by the end of this year. It is possible.

I have a life full of rich experiences. I am very blessed.