Saturday, 31 December 2011

2011 in Retrospect

It is time to take inventory of the past year. (See summaries of 2008, 2009 and 2010.)

January / February

The year started somewhat traumatically as I was involved in a car accident while I was in South Africa; thankfully nobody was seriously injured. During my time in South Africa I enjoyed spending time with many family and friends, some of whom I hda not seen in many years. The fruitful quest in search of my grandfather's grave in an old cemetery in Johannesburg was especially memorable.


In March there was a terrible earthquake that caused the terrible tsunami that destroyed large areas of Japan's eastern coast and resulted in the explosion of nuclear reactors. Japan took the brunt of the tsunami, saving Korea from any ill-effects. At a personal level, March was much less volatile. After working on the day of my birthday, I went to an excellent bakery and enjoyed exquisite pastries and deserts.


In April I started my Afrikaans poetry blog, Ingelegde Lywe, with focus on love and erotic poems.

Nothing else much happened. I did do some touristy things in April, such as visiting Seoul Tower, watching the theatre performance Jump! (for the fourth or fifth time), and hanging out in Insadong.


A most memorable thing in May was the Lantern Festival Parade (which coincides with Buddha's birthday) that I went to see with some friends whom I hadn't seen in years. Another memorable random day was when I went with my Taekwon-Do instructor and another friend to meet some high level Taekwon-Do people. That wasn't the memorable thing; the memorable thing happened later when we went to the Han River and found this strange bridge with a glass floor on which you can stand (or lie) and look at the river below.

Because of the car accident earlier the year I started going to a chiropractor again on account of acute back ache. It helped a lot—it also forced me to practise more Korean as the doctor is even worse at English than I am in Korean.


June was a much more active month for me. I went paragliding, went to the port city Mokpo where I had some of the best vegetarian food I've ever had at a little place called “Waltz Vegetarian Buffet” and also went for a weekend to Jeju Island.

I was also asked to give a speech on poetry and Christianity; I focussed on the value of Mythos and the Numinous.

In June this blog reached its 1000th post.


I travelled to three countries: Thailand, Laos and China. From Thailand I flew to Laos, crossed the border by bus into China, back again by bus to Laos and then by plain back to Thailand. During the Laos-China trip I had a wonderful experience meeting with Sabbath keeping Hmong Christians. It was an enriching and humbling experience. For my second journey in Thailand I just relaxed, first in Bangkok, then on an island (Koh Samui) where I hanged around and went scuba-diving, and back in Bangkok again, exploring Thailand's jazz spots.


In August I went to the Taekwondo Hall of Fame ceremony to support my instructor and other acquaintances as they receive awards. I was very surprised when I was also awarded with a citation.


It may not sound particularly noteworthy, but it was a life enhancing discovery for me: I started making nut milks.


With the cooler, more pleasant weather I enjoyed more trips around Seoul, enjoying the Gangnam Fashion Festival, a trip at some of the palaces, and a trip to the Blue House, the Korean presidential residence. I also went to a Fantasy Festival where I ended up being a model to be sketched with two other French models for one of the live-drawing sessions.

Not to be forgotten is my backpack that I lost, with nothing inside missing. This was soon to be followed by another miracle.


Early in November my car in South Africa got stolen. Miraculously it was retrieved, and with value added. The thieves actually spray painted my car, so that when the police got it back, it is now worth more than when it got stolen! I can only praise God for this.


Friends from South Africa came to visit me. This has been the first time for people from my South Africa life to enter my Korea life. For some reason, it feels like something important. Since they have been here I've been all around Seoul, doing and seeing a myriad of things and enjoying Korea again with “new eyes.”


This year it felt as if I really settled into living in Korea. I remember at the beginning of the year how I seriously considered leaving Korea by the middle of next year, maybe relocating to Europe, but as the year progressed I became more and more comfortable in my life here. My work has been a good blend of stress and enjoyment. I truly enjoy most of what I'm doing. I definitely do not think that I will want to stay here indefinitely, but for now I am happy. For much of the year I've been contemplating about my future plans—what will I do when my contract expires at the middle of next year? Will I renew? It's still too early to answer that question. I do know, however, that I would not mind staying on in Korea. At the beginning of this year, shortly after I arrived back in Korea after my trip to South Africa, I caught myself calling my apartment here in Korea “home”. I do feel it.

In 2011 I've made some new friends, learned some new lessons, and reminded myself of some old ones.

What will 2012 involve? The world economy will continue it's uncertain downward spiral. There is likely to be a war (between America and allies with Iran and allies) with the potential to escalate to global proportions. But before WWIII occurs, I'll be teaching new subjects that I'm looking forward to teach. Next semester will be a hard semester because I'll be teaching extra hours, but I look forward to the new classes and expanding my knowledge and skill set. I hope the global elite's plans for world domination will not hinder me to see the next Batman film (a little shallow, I know), and afterwards I will join the millions and millions of people that will resist their psychopathic ambitions. I haven't decided what my involvement in the protest movement will be just yet; in the meantime I'll use my vocation as a teacher to get my students to think for themselves, to question the status quo, and to value the great principles: Love, Hope, Liberty!

No comments: