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Wednesday | May 16th, 2012

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Ten years ago, I landed at Incheon, made my way through customs and the gate mayhem to the buses, decided I needed more “personal space” and took a deluxe taxi (the black one with the yellow light) to Gimpo International Airport. In those days, domestic flights were solely a Gimpo affair. It was on this ride that I snapped my first picture in South Korea. I spent my first afternoon, evening, and finally night in Korea. I didn’t have any expectations or causes, I just arrived. I was lost and broken and empty.

Before, when I knew I would be coming here, I set up a blog to maintain links to my family and the few friends I was leaving behind. Somewhere I still have the mock layout for this blog which included placeholder content like “The Daily Kimchi Report”. It was weird to feel so much hope for a place so unknown.

I had with me very few possessions, but two things stick out notably, even now: my green Angel Ivan Fluevogs and my Olympus digital camera. With these two things I walked all over Daegu in the first two days of being in the country.

I did not bring a computer with me, but kept a journal until I did have access to one to write about what I was experiencing. As I worked a path deeper into this new place, my body, mindset, and ideas about the world all changed—most of them forever. And I lost a lot of weight in the first few months, losing about 20 kilos (Right).

That fat picture (Left) is me at Gimpo Airport waiting half a day for the 30 minute flight that would take me to Daegu. I was greeted at the Daegu airport by Sue the director of my hagwon and Mr. Kim, the bus driver. It was nighttime and dark out and I hadn’t slept in more than 20 hours. This ride is a blur mostly. Lots of lights and disorientations.

We arrived at my new home for a year, a place called Samik New Town and knocked on the door. I could hear a tv and then there was an exchange that I now know as a typical one: suspicious foreign teacher versus hagwon personnel. After some time, a fat dodgy Canadian opened the door … my new roommate. The joy.

I had the first few days off to explore and adjust. Many explorers don’t get this. I was really lucky to be able to decompress and absorb some Korea before being thrust into a process I had known all my prior life a “talking” (which now became “teaching”).

I later discovered the neighborhood PC Bang (internet cafe) where I would sit for hours loading my images from their SmartMedia memory cards through a floppy drive adaptor called Flashpath. This method of marrying my images and writing was so painstakingly slow that my PC Bang experiences where usually about twelve hours a stint.

By the time I was in the swing, buying clothes that fit, learning how to drink beer, making friends, and working out how to be a better teacher, I noticed the Kyobo Life Insurance building slogan (Above). “Best Life Partner” as I read that, I remember thinking that I wasn’t going back to America.

Daily Report

I didn’t sleep last night. I struggled to write or create a script that would grab an .mp3 from a folder, open it, insert markers in pre-determined places, split the audio file into eleven segments based on those

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The Fourth Wall

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This Old Hanok

When we had the bathroom done, we wanted to design our own window for the part of the wall which straddles the storage space along the side of the house. This way we could have clean airflow through

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