Korea report from Barb Waldern: March 30 and Forsythia

My friend Barb Waldern is teaching English in Korea.  She is sending monthly reports:

Well, I know I just wrote recently but it is the turn of the month.
I'll touch bases again now so that I can stick to the monthly routine.

How's everyone? Did you do your duty and participate in Earth Hour?

I'm
home trying to defeat a little cold today. Cold snap (low of 6C) here,
just the usual relapse before spring is in full swing, but nothing like
I hear it is in Vancouver with 1C and sightings of snow.

Just
after I wrote you last, spring growth began. Fruit tree blossoms,
magnolia trees (no doubt imported by Portuguese centuries ago, like a
lot of things here), camellia bushes, and forsythia are out. Also, the
national what's-its-name pink flower on the mountain bushes are out in
full force. Rain, business and my cold kept me from collecting the
photos of flowers I had wanted to get for this message. Instead, here
is tribute to the forsythia below. The picture won't copy.

Amazingly,
most Koreans know the word “forsythia” and can pronounce it well. It
grows wild in clusters (groves?) on hill slopes, and road and river
banks.  

                                      
FORSYTHIA
Out of drowsy
respite
Forsythia bends and stretches
Its boughs
From the banks of rivers and roads
Waving at passersby,
“I’m here, and I’m glad to be alive!”
Announce groups announces of bushes,
Nonetheless full of glee.
Squid shaped blossoms appear
And open up
Their
radiant sunshine
To light up your way
Out of winter darkness
Away from coldness.
 
                                                                        March 29, 2008 – Masan

I
met an assortment of my friends for dinner to welcome spring on Friday,
March 28. The forces of the universes must have been cooperating for a
change because it was a good event. Photo below. We went to the fire
show at the bar called “Sea Hunter” with the interior decor on a theme
of the wild west (go figure–those strange amalgamations happen here).
That's the thing with the juggling bartender and flaming stack of
cocktails…

I
went to famed Hainsa Temple on Mt. Gaya in the Gayasan National Park
yesterday. Cold day but a good one. Photo below. One of the features is
a 1200 year old tree trunk–not many of those around anymore because of
repeated over-logging. A lot of the old structures in the region,
Hapjeon County, were destroyed during the Japanese occupation.

Well
my head's a little tuckered out right now, and not just because of the
cold. I'm so teched up that I spend a lot of time playing with my
electronic toys. For one thing, I uploaded i-Tunes and now listen to
various radio stations–that's a relief to the music starved ears! You
couldn't ply those headphones off me some days!

Also,
I've been fiddling around with photos, Facebook, and Yahoo services. I
just created a discussion and news forum on Yahoo!360 called GEEZ
(Global English Education Zine). If anyone of you wants to join in, go
to http://ca.groups.yahoo.com/group/geez360.

What's on the
agenda? A pal and his friend will be celebrating their birthday with a
007 James Bond theme event complete with picnic, treasure hunt, quiz,
bowling and dinner. The Korean class will go to the famed Cherry
Blossom Festival in nearby Jinhae. I'll be attending a couple of
KOTESOL meetings.

So, more later. Take care, you all. (=Jal jinaessayo)

Barb

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