Monday, August 25, 2008

Travelogue #49: Olympic Fever / The Living-in-Korea Photologues April-August 2008

wanted to write about how Olympic fever has swept over Korea, but to be honest, I've lost the desire to produce a full-length essay about this fever with the Games complete. Still, I won't forget the morning when I let my SAT class rowdily watch America's Michael Phelps out-swim Korea's Park Tae Hwan. We watched the race on one student's digital dictionary/microtelevision, a suspenseful event in and of itself, for the image on the screen kept pausing at crucial moments of the race, leading my students to manically tug at the antenna and exclaim come-on-alreadys. An administrator's voice then bellowed through the intercom, announcing to our school that Park Tae Hwan had just won the silver medal! Woots rolled through the classrooms. With Phelps the gold-medal-man, I subtly shook my fist and said, "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!"

I also won't forget the constant gatherings by the windows of the Bundang storefronts, all to watch some young Korean woman do her country proud in archery or weight-lifting. Delivery drivers, businessmen, and families would stand side-by-side, together checking out the matches. (Jang Mi-ran broke the world record for female weightlifting, and all my students have memorized her name. Even the boys proudly mime her lifting stance. )

So Korea had Olympic fever, and for much of the past two weeks, the national positivity rubbed off on me. Work-wise, "busy season" has ended and the brutal summer has finally cooled.

Thank you, God.

So, now I thought it'd be a good time to reflect on that long summer (and the spring before it) in pictures (and captions). (SORRY PICTURE LINKS ARE DEAD. WORKING ON GETTING THEM BACK UP. PLEASE GO ONTO Travelogue #50: Getting a Shave from a Barber in a Room Full of Naked Korean Dudes )

Mom and Dad's Korean Vacation Part 1

Mom and Dad's Korean Vacation Part 2

April and May in Korea

Hot Sweaty Korean Summer

The Summer Continues....



Anonymous said...

I love this post! The pictures are awesome and I loved that you put captions with them. Looks like you've had a pretty darn good summer, Alex.

When do you come back to Memphis?


Alex Pollack said...

Great to hear from you, Jan! I'm returning to America (and Memphis for a few months) in late October. I'll be sure to stop by Book Traders; maybe I'll catch you there!