July 9, 2009 § Leave a comment
Whoops, guess it’s been a little while since I’ve updated the ol’ blog. Well, when I got back from the Pacific Northwest I pretty much devoted myself to looking for a job. I had several phone interviews with recruiters and schools in Seoul, and I finally landed one a few weeks ago. I’m going to be teaching kids age 5 – 12 at a hagwon (private cram school) in Bundang, just south of Seoul. Apparently Bundang is one of the wealthier satellite cities of Seoul, and has a fairly large expat community and “more greenspace” than Seoul proper does. (I’m not exactly holding out hope for American-sized parks, though that would be nice.) So last week I finally put my visa paperwork in the mail. It was incredibly tedious getting all the right documents with all the right forms of authentication together. Now I’m just waiting for my visa pin number, and when that arrives I have to go to the Korean consulate in Chicago for an interview. My job starts August 10th so I will be leaving in a little less than a month (!).
In the meantime, I’m just trying to drink my summer to the last drop. I have about two weeks left at my job at the campus slide library, and then I’m going to move home and probably spend the better part of a week and a half or so putting up tomatoes and peaches. I’ve been gardening a lot, working out with Mayvo, going to the pool and Sunday night kickball games…this summer is flying by way too fast. Ah. My only regret about taking this job is it starts about three weeks earlier than all the other jobs I was considering, which means I will be missing out on a fair part of the garden boom. But! Things are looking good. We have green tomatoes and thumb-sized eggplants galore, squash, zuchinni, cucumber, and green beans are flowering profusely, and the carrots, onions, hot peppers and herbs seem to be flourishing. Blackberries and peaches are starting to turn and the chard, well the chard just will not quit. The lodeye apples ripened on the fourth of July.
Having a garden has given me a new level of appreciation for the work it takes to feed a person, as well as all that can go wrong between sowing a seed and lifting a fork. The local food movement is something I feel passionate about for its potential to improve our health and alleviate our dependence on non-renewable energy sources. However, I’m starting to realize that getting reacquainted with the origins of food means willfully giving up the convenience of having whatever fresh food you want whenever, willfully submitting yourself to a “good year, bad year” diet. How long has it been since the average American has been faced with the reality that what’s on the dinner table has more to do with whats plentiful at the moment than what they feel like eating. I don’t blame anyone who shudders at the idea of giving up convenience foods. It’s hard work just to cook with real ingredients, let alone do the tilling, planting, composting, mulching, weeding, watering, waiting, canning, drying, freezing and pickleing that gardens require. However, I’m learning that it’s worth it – it’s rewarding to eat off of my own work in this kind of direct way. Summer rolls around and suddenly all I need the supermarket for is staples like rice and flour and tea. I get to have the varieties of vegetables that I chose to plant, and waited eagerly for their produce. Each meal is a victory.
The other thing I’ve been doing is going through all my stuff, paring down in preparation for the move. I’ve gone through a lot of old sketchbooks, projects, journals, school stuff, keeping the interesting and tossing the rest. One theme I’ve noticed was my tendency in art school to get more and more practical over the years. I started out all artsy-fartsy, and look at me now…makes me wonder what the future holds. Here’s a couple sketchbook entries from a year and a half ago I found and still kind of like.