In Asia. Part I, Korean. Episode 1, Fragmentary.

IMG_2647

The small white window you're now looking at in that house is mine.
The bird's hole in the wall is right there next to it.

Here I am, sitting in my apartment in Seoul, quite unexpectedly with my pet bird flapping its wings feverishly IN the wall above my bed. It’s been a week already, and this is crazy, as in how crazy fast the time’s passing, how crazy cool my time here has been, how  comfortable and home I’m feeling here. But maybe I need to start from the start.

This October I’m staying in South Korea. Seoul for the most part, but also visiting friends and ELT people I know in other places around the country. Such is the plan and what will emerge of it we’ll have to see. I’m not promising regular blogging (as I’ll surely end up breaking the promise) but writing a lot during this month, in this or that form, is one of my major objectives/ cravings/ aspirations, etc. That said, I want to make it clear upcoming posts might turn out to be a weird mishmash: ELT, travelling, culture, questions, observations, pictures, people, classrooms and such. Markedly personal and at times somewhat professional. That’s my current feeling, and here’s the first entry from Korea.

 

***** written in Dubai (lol) *****

This should have been written earlier and for a different space but I think this way it is maybe even better.

It’s October 1st 0:15 Moscow time. I’m sitting perched up in a lame version of a lotus pose on a seat identical to thousands of similar seats located at the many gates of Dubai international airport. Like quite a few fellow passengers trapped in this airport for the night hours, I’ve taken my sneakers off. Like fewer of them, I’m looking around instead of dozing off.
I’m not much of a traveller in the sense the word carries for me. But from the number of times I’ve done flying around I’ve gathered that this layover time waiting for your connection in an airport of a totally random country you’ve not put on your travel list this time is just the time when I personally feel being part of this world (I know this is a lenthy sentence). Any airport in Moscow is owned by Russians and bears this unmistakable feel of everything Russian. European airports I’ve seen are all alike and are … Well, European. There’s no face that would distinguish such airport for me.
In any case and in odd wording, my idea is that connection time gives a chance to meet the variety of the globe population without necessarily going to all those parts represented. I’m not talking skin colours, languages and looks. I mean, not just them.

I was chatting with my mom in DME some 8 hours ago preparing to leave my home for 70 days. Several times she said something that I couldn’t help but breathe through with (!!) judgement and a bit of a suppressed scorn. Then I soon recovered my spirits because I can understand where she was coming from, what her reasoning had been influenced by. This whole touristy business interferes with opportunities to see a more genuine and real view of the world.
People do live in places other than where we do. They have meals in those places, go shopping, complain about work, chat about the same problems, have relationships, live.
It is not, or should not be, about “ours” as opposed to “theirs”.

(and then I dozed off…))))

 

*****

It is not, or should not be, about “ours” as opposed to “theirs”.

I thought about it again sitting in Mike Griffin’s workshop Cultural Explorations for Teachers: Beyond Confucianism and Excuses at KOTESOL last Friday. The audience in the room was comprised, as I later found out, 90% of Americans.  Participation was very active, and even frighteningly active to my taste, since my workshop came next and it was going to be so NOT about Koreans, or Americans, or Americans in Korea. I couldn’t help noticing the we and they slipping off the tongues, even if the context and implications meant no harm or gave out no opposition as an intended bad thing. Maybe that’s only human and natural to think in we vs they terms, especially when you’re an expat living and teaching in a foreign country. I have no such experience and I’m neither judging nor offering any form of analysis right now. Just an observation, which will be many on my blog from this post on.

There’s a lot and too much of we vs they talk back in Moscow.

 

I’m not sure if there’s anything to discuss here in this first entry from Korea. I feel like I haven’t even started telling you about this week of my life in Asia yet.

I’ll continue then, tomorrow. Ideally, some exciting ELT-related things are going to be blogged about here very soon, alongside with the maybe less exciting personal observations of the place I’ve planted myself in for 70 days, a move I have zero regrets about. =)

 

Thanks for reading.

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7 thoughts on “In Asia. Part I, Korean. Episode 1, Fragmentary.

  1. kevchanwow says:

    Hi Anna,

    I have always been slightly in love with my time in transit at airports. I could never read a book, I was always too interested in figuring out who all these people were. Where were they off to or coming home from. Maybe it’s the space we use to make that transition from ‘we’ to the larger ‘us’. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your travels, the conference in Korea, and any other ‘pets’ that might pop up here and there (in walls or not).

    Kevin

    • annloseva says:

      Hi Kevin,

      I like the “slightly” there)) I thank you for expressing in your comment so clearly the idea that I failed to carry through my writing at 1 am in Dubai airport, that is exactly about figuring out the people and *possibly* beginning the transition. I don’t know it works the transition way for everyone though. To be fair, I also remember one man sitting (lying?) on those chairs in front of me, could’ve been a backpacker. It clearly was his nth and something layover time in his life. He didn’t care much to look around. My guess is he’d already discovered the larger “us” and himself))) I might very well be wrong of course, but I’m thinking there’s that type, too.

      Personally, I enjoyed looking at people and watching them handle this somewhat empty time. I didn’t read a book or sleep myself)

      Thanks a lot for the comment!! I want very much to write more about my travels, the conference, the “projects” I have in mind AND my upcoming pets))))
      Especially so knowing there’s someone looking forward to hearing all that.

      Anna

  2. Welcome to Korea, I’m sure you’ll have a great time and I’m looking forwards to seeing more posts about how you find it.

    • annloseva says:

      Thank you! It’s exciting to see that people are interested in learning what I blog from here, it gives me extra energy and focus to actually write.

  3. It’s so great that you’re having such a wonderful time! I bet it’s much more interesting than staying in Moscow every day. Good luck with all this stuff going on!

    • annloseva says:

      Thank you for dropping by and leaving this comment! It’s always fascinating to me to read my students’ comments, wow. And thank you! I’m really having the greatest of times here)) I hope you’re doing fine with your studies, I wish you that (though I’m sure you are)).

  4. […] was no rushing in the mornings to make it to a breakfast in a hotel. There was no hotel, in fact. I had my pet. There were no excursion buses to hop on/off for cookie-cutter excursions “to get the best of […]

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