I guess I’m starting over in a new place. RIP Oh Soko.
On Friday I was out at Roofers, where we’ll be having the benefit this Thursday, and I met a wily wanderer named Barrett not Ferret. I think. All I know is that when I called him Ferret, I was wrong.
And he gave me the program to Seoul’s 7th Green Film Festival.
I saw that there were some short Korean films (“Korean Eco-Panorama Shorts”), ostensibly all with subtitles, to those who don’t read for detail, so I went.
1. Very funny opening shorts about preserving water and lights.
2. An Otter’s Story, directed by Gwon Mi-Jeong. I really loved this visually, I just wish there had been subtitles.
3. Falling asleep next to who would turn out to be the director of Tumbler Life during Tumbler Life. It was the longest film and had no subtitles or pretty animated animals, okay? GOD.
4. The Last Mermaids, directed by Liz Chae, who is actually a Korean American from New York who went to the real Columbia. This film is about haenyos, women sea divers in Jeju Island. Jeju is a matriarchal society because of the long history of men being killed and captured in wars (which I didn’t know before watching this film). And I’m going there in June. Anyway, it was so beautifully shot, the music was lovely, there were subtitles. I highly recommend it.
5. Hearing an accordion version of Bad Romance in Myeongdong.
6. Hearing MMMBop in Myeongdong.
7. Walking home and realizing that I’m living in Seoul.
I have taken lots of pictures and thought about updating this, but then I just feel too lazy.
I’m reading this book right now, The Working Poor, by David Shipler. So far most of the poor people in that book say they’re poor because they’re lazy, even though they work constantly. I don’t have nearly so much going against me as these people, but I can relate to their improper use of a certain adjective.
I guess it’s not exactly that I’m lazy, but that I don’t really feel like typing any more than I already type, and I don’t really feel like being on the computer any more than I’m already on the computer.
Speaking of which, it will be much easier to tear myself from my mac in about 5.5 weeks, when I will no longer be using Skype every morning and night. Yep. I’m moving to Montreal, so I’ll see you when you all move there too.
I feel like this year has been a pretty amazing crash course in relationships. Who knew that I could hug and kiss my computer this much? Cry to it? Laugh with it? That’s probably why it broke down and erased my hard drive a few weeks ago … repressing bad bad memories, it was.
So. I’m going to see as much of Seoul and Korea as I can before leaving, and I’ll try to share some of it on here.
Okay, so, we’re holding a benefit show at the lovely rooftop bar Roofers in Itaewon.
There will be music of the acoustic kind, lovely voices, and even a little cello.
Besides promoting good old-fashioned fun, all of this is to help my friend’s mom pay for her cancer treatment. Recently my friend Evens told me that his mother, Nadine Cériné, has cancer and that the recommended surgery would be $5000 which “might as well be a million.”
In Haiti, although cancer may be treatable, it is often unavailable or unaffordable. This page is an effort to help raise money for one person. Please see Evens’ letter below:
This is Evens Fils from Haiti. I am a teacher. I teach computer and I have a center for children. Jessica Horstmann is a friend of mine and she was my outstanding teacher in a training program in Ounaminthe, Haiti.
My mother is 52 years old and sick with cancer. I want to help her. She has done enough for us. We do need her. She is taking care of my sisters. She is taking care of 4 orphans and needy children. She is a missionary in her church. We are asking you for your help to find money for her treatment or a way to get her a surgery in a foreign country.
As an older child in the family, I have dedicated my life, my time and my money to helping the poorest in Haiti. So I can’t help. By faith, I am taking care in Ouanaminthe of more than 120 students (children and adult, primary school and professional school). In the middle of hard poverty, giving is not a choice but a moral calling. That’s why we give all we get, even our life. This is what my mother taught me from my childhood: living by giving is the meaning of a real life.
We need $5000 dollars for a treatment program and the possibility to continue the treatment in a foreign country where there is higher medical technology. We don’t have money. We just have faith and we believe in values, honesty, charity and prayer. By faith my mother has taken care of many orphans and needy children. Then by faith we believe that we will find a way because God can make a way. God is good all the time, all the time God is good. That’s my mother’s motto.
Okay. I am so in no way savvy about these things. I tried figuring out how to make the paypal button show up, but let’s just forget that.
Please click here to donate:
And I will keep you updated on how much has been raised. Anything else seems beyond my INTERNET skills.
So, whether or not you can make it to the show, please consider donating – and passing this event along to those who might do the same!
Interesting graphic comparison of the East and West from the artist Yang Liu. Some of it definitely resonates (particularly those to do with how people gather, both socially and in public spaces, and how opinions are expressed).
I also just kind of like this:
So, the prediction is that Seoul will go straight from winter to summer.
Today was kind of sunny, though.
And there are cherry blossoms. Last weekend I went to the cherry blossom festival at Yeoido.
It was crazy busy.
I loved the blossoms, though.
And the view.
And the bikes.
And the kids.
Not so much the silkworm pupa, though.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about things like this: yellow dust and exhaust fumes.
In Seoul, it’s okay for motorbikes to drive on the sidewalk, and for me, this usually means something along the lines of being interrupted mid-daydream to dodge a motorbike, holding my breath and turning away from the fumes, walking a few feet with said breath still held, realizing I probably look a little blue in the face, and gasping for traces of air in the yellow dust before escaping indoors.
For this reason, I just love the opportunity to get out of town and go hiking!
Which is also why I love Geoff and his mountain.
Where we can turn our backs on the city and its stressors.
And start learning to smile again.
It becomes easier and easier as we see the pretty paths and lovely temples (and meet nice Korean hikers who give us apple to eat!).
Except I guess I was sad for a second here.
Maybe because Geoff kept sexting people.
Or because of the Nazi signs on these supposedly peaceful buddhist temples.
As you can see, leaving the city does not mean being alone. Koreans just love to get their hike on.
And I found it rather frightening scaling these treacherous cliffs with hikers coming at us from both directions. I distinctly remember holding onto the rope for dear life at this point and needing Geoff to calmly talk me through it. The rocks were slippery, okay?
After all that danger, Koreans usually sit down with food and alcohol. Well, let’s face it. What occasion doesn’t call for this combination in Korea? Still, I wonder at the trip down after a few swigs of soju or whiskey. Hmmm. Maybe not for me.
Anyway, in Korea, they don’t expect you to go in the woods and they’ll spring for more than the big blue or orange monstrosities popular in many public places in the U.S. Geoff said these were like him, “small, cute, and full of shit.”
Well, after this grueling hike, Geoff tried to catch us some grub.
But this place was only good for washing feet, it seems.
So in the end we just got some bibimbap at the foot of the mountain.