Archive for September, 2008

Changing Winds

Yesterday, the winds shifted, and autumn has officially arrived.

At some point in the year, the winds in Korea shift from being from the west, originating in Manchuria, to being from the north, originating in Siberia.  This air, brought in by the Siberian winds from the steppes of Russia, has a very different quality.  Not only is it markedly chilly (duh…), but it is also clearer, cleaner, and very windy.  Usually this shift happens very quickly, but here in Jindo, it took one night.  On Thursday, it was hot.  That night, we had a HUGE windstorm strong enough to knock over several motorcycles (not mine, thankfully), and on Friday morning I woke up to chilly (upper 50s) air that I can only describe as smelling like autumn.  It’s not quite the same smell as New England, but it has similar notes of rotting leaves and turned earth, and it has that crispness that only comes in autumn.  It’s about as close as I can get to being back at home, and I’ll take what I can get.

The quality of the light is also different.  It’s more intense, in a way.  During most of my time here, the light is very diffuse.  It’s sunny, but there’s a lot of haze at high altitude, and so while it is very bright, it is sometimes difficult to even locate the sun in the sky.  As of yesterday, the skies have had distinct clouds, and the sky above them is a deep blue.  The sun that shines gives off an almost white light, except in the evening, when it becomes a deep yellow.  It makes far more of a difference in how Jindo looks than one would think.

I have been really missing New England of late, and I find that this recent shift of weather has helped with that considerably.  The only downside is that it does signal that Korea’s famously bitter winter will begin soon.

I’m out of the mold pit!

I’m out of the mold pit and back into my old but newly renovated place.  There were some complications in the move, and they switched me into a different apartment that is now (unfortunately) next to my co-teacher (so I feel somewhat like I never completely escape work), but in general, I’m exceedingly happy to be back in my old building, and I will have internet again starting this evening.  My internet at Gunnae was the school’s internet, and so it was censored, which was irritating as hell, because it blocks some completely random sites, including some teaching sites.

Anyway.  I’ll post a video walkthrough of my place once I get everything put away.


Just the thing I like to hear from my co-teacher:

Me:  “So, how is the move tomorrow going to work?”

Co-teacher:  “I have no idea.”

Me:  “Can you find out?”

Co-teacher:  “Maybe?”

Yet another banging-my-head-against-the-wall moment.

From a drive the other day…

I sometimes drive around the island aimlessly on my scooter, and sometimes it yields good results.  Here’s a shot I got the other day, during one such drive:

Boats in Paengmok

Boats in Paengmok


So, uh, the Korean Air Force has been flying fighter jets in low passes over Jindo all morning.  It’s really loud, and more than a little unnerving.  For the first 3 months I was here, I never heard a plane – commercial or military, but in the last few weeks, I’ve been hearing fighter jets on a daily basis.  Korean Army, what are you up to?

My Chuseok vacation ends tomorrow, but I’m teaching at Jodo, which is my new favourite school, even though it’s a long (1.5 hour) commute.  Plus, when I get back in the evening, I will be moving back into my apartment, which I am so excited about.  I am glad to be getting out of the mold pit.

Surreal News


So, rumors abound that Kim Jong-il has had a serious stroke (this one seems pretty confirmed), or perhaps is even dead and has been replaced by body-doubles.

Things could get very interesting here, very soon.

Reunification, if it were to happen, while ultimately eventually a good thing, could seriously cripple South Korea for a very long time, and, consequently, have a major effect on Asia and the world in general, as well. Though, seeing the end of the last Stalinist state in the world could be very, very interesting.


I only live in the mold pit for another week!  w00t!  For those of you curious as to what I mean by “mold pit”, here are some photos, for explanation:

I’ve been living in this place since early August, but never really moved in, since I was told I would only be here for a few months.  It’s really gross – there’s only one working light, there’s bugs (including centipedes) everywhere, there’s a huge mold problem (as seen above), and they’re building a new building about 50 feet from my window and start work on it at 6am.  I like being even further into the countryside (my current village has fewer than 100 people, I’d estimate), but this house is….gross.

September 2008
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