Saturday, December 01, 2007

up and at 'em

Yes, O Saturday Citizens: I awoke at the crack of 1:30PM today, rising from the dead like a bloated and betitted Jesus to survey my surroundings and stagger off to the bathroom, whereupon I voided the dark and vile mass of human sin that had collected in the cosmic drain trap otherwise known as my colon.

I can already feel my brain clearing. What a fucking semester. I spent every single week in a fog of near-delirium, fatigued as I've never been fatigued while working at Smoo. My blog posts have tended to reflect this, I think: my average number of typos and non sequiturs per post was much higher than usual over the past few months. My personal emails to friends and family have probably felt somewhat distant and distracted, and for that I can do aught but apologize. Sorry, everyone.

By "fucking semester," however, I don't mean that I wasn't enjoying myself. On the contrary, this was a fantastic semester in terms of student participation, and as much as I was moaning and groaning yesterday about the 97% overall rating, that rating isn't really so different from what I get in other semesters. I still think about the near-perfect winter 2006 semester and wonder whether it's possible to reach that level again. Of course, evals are subjective and a lot of this is out of my control: different students view the same teacher different ways, through the filter of their own quirky personalities. Student attitudes and performance are by no means tightly linked to teacher attitudes and performance, as much as the hagwon bosses would like to believe it so.

All the same, I'm glad the madness is, for the moment, done. I'm looking forward to my trip to France and Switzerland, to seeing my French and Swiss families, and to breathing some fresh mountain air. When I think about it, I suppose Europe is still a romantic destination for me. I'm excited about going back after an absence of several years, and I'm looking forward to using French on an extended basis after rusting up as much as I have.

So now I have to focus on the mass of things to do before Tuesday morning's departure. Among them:

1. shop for Christmas gifts for the Frenchies and Swissies
2. make another ad poster for my department
3. turn in my grades (I forgot to do that yesterday)
4. buy a backpack and some comfortable travel clothes
5. think about buying a tinier digicam than what I currently own, something I can more easily tote around Europe
6. transfer cash to my US account for use while in Europe (I have a PNC Bank check card that works like a Visa card in the US and Europe, but which isn't quite so reliable in Korea due to the usual hi-tech-but-still-hermit-kingdom compatibility issues)
7. get on the horse and do a solid bit of Namsan-ing today, tomorrow, and Monday-- something I've failed to do for months
8. get in touch with a relative who just called me today (yeah, this is a major project because I'm not usually that eager to talk with relatives... all that poking and prodding and unsolicited advice)
9. clean my place up, get rid of extra food, and defrost the fridge
10. clean my office work station up
11. email jjong-party photos to students who've requested them
12. make a pile of blog posts (about 14-21) and assign a friend (or my brother David) to post them, bit by bit, daily while I'm in Europe
13. mail a taekwondo belt to a former coworker now in the UK
14. pay my phone bill (I'm a few days late! hopefully, I'll make the grace period)
15. give new ad poster data to boss and discuss some issues about next semester
...etc., etc.

As you can see, there's much to do and not much time to do it. Off I go, then. More later as the spirit (or the colon) moves me.


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