Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

A Dream Remembered

November 30th, 2012

I don’t remember my dreams very often, but when I do I am always a little disconcerted by the movement or sequence of the dream. One doesn’t travel in a dream so much as one finds oneself in juxtaposition to something, someone, or someplace else.

Dudley Cooperative

The memory of this particular dream begins interestingly enough on Massachusetts Ave in Boston. I am standing on the sidewalk and looking towards the Sacramento Street entrance to the Dudley Cooperative. Next I see a tiger walking out of the Agassiz School. Now I realize that it is impossible to actually look from the corner of Massachusetts Ave and Sacramento Street to the entrance of the Agassiz School on Oxford Street, but like I said above one doesn’t so much travel in a dream as experience sudden juxtapositions.

 I watch and/or follow the tiger to the entrance of the Dudley Cooperative. I go inside but instead of standing to the right of “The Den of Inequity” with Jay Hodos and Lisa Bromer playing bridge, I’m in what looks like the kitchen of my house on 1007 E. 15th Street in Austin, Texas. This doesn’t bother me because I know I’m still in the Dudley Cooperative, what does bother me, however, is that I see David Leaper in a T-shirt and plaid flannel boxer shorts (Yes, I dream in color) putting magnetized words into rows on my refrigerator. I start to say “What…” (as in WTF are you doing here), but he doesn’t let me finish. He looks at me and says, “I’m counting words.”


I thought dreams were supposed to be subtle and symbolic, but that was anything but subtle. Of course, it now makes me want to ask: “So, Dave, did you discover a curious bulge around the 8k band while counting words on my refrigerator in your boxer shorts?” Sadly the tiger was still on the move, so there was no time to ask such penetrating questions.

From the kitchen in Austin which is still somehow inside the Dudley Cooperative, I then follow the tiger into the yard behind the cooperative building on Massachusetts Ave. We/I cut through the yard and onto Sacramento Field where Paul Massari is playing Whiffle ball with my son, Andy (승현). Sacramento Field is slightly different from how I remember it. First there are no basketball courts, but instead there is a section of the Green Monster from Fenway Park. Also instead of some scruffy grass in the field beyond the basketball court, there is now a professionally groomed baseball diamond.

The scruffy grass of Sacramento field in Cambridge, MA

Although this bothers me now, it seemed quite appropriate at the time. I’m bothered by this because I don’t understand what the dream is trying to tell me. The basketball court at Sacramento Field is actually a fairly traumatic place for me since it is where I shattered my wrist, so why would my subconscious just up and move them? What is so symbolically important about the Green Monster? Why the professionally groomed field instead of the scruffy grass? And why am I following this bloody tiger?

To Paul and Andy: “So who won the Whiffle Ball game?”

Both Paul and Andy want me to stop and play, but I continue to follow the tiger from Sacramento Field in Cambridge, MA to 711 S. Henderson Street in Bloomington, Indiana. Suddenly I’m in my basement bedroom and Heather is there. She wants me to go to Chicago with her, but I know I shouldn’t go, but I end up in her white Subaru 900 turbo anyway and we’re driving through the bleak autumn landscape which is rural Indiana. Then the scene changes I see the tiger heading into a Taco Bell. I get out of the car, but it’s no longer a white Subaru 900 Turbo, but a Chrysler La Baron Convertible.  Robyn walks out of the Taco Bell with a to-go-bag and says it’s my turn to drive. I point to the Taco Bell and go inside.

I’m not a guy who’s really into cars, so why are they so memorable in this dream? I can clearly see the two cars in my mind’s eye, yet I haven’t thought of them in years. Also, why is the memory of not wanting to go to Chicago with Heather but going anyway so strong? This dream is filled with various places that I have been, but only Chicago feels wrong. Why does Heather morph into Robyn? What’s so significant about Taco Bell?

The scene changes and I’m clearly in a high-rise apartment building in Ilsan, South Korea and looking through the sliding-glass door of the veranda over a massive construction site (obviously Ilsan circa 1997) and “Song for Whoever” by the Beautiful South is playing. I knew Elise must be home, but I see the tiger crossing the bridge over the tracks of the Gyeongeui Line (경의선) near Ilsan Station and I’m suddenly standing on the bridge and then my alarm goes off… It’s 6:30 am.

Why the juxtaposition of Taco Bell and Ilsan Korea? Why no visual appearance of Elise, but only a suggestion of her through the music that is playing? Why “Song for Whoever?” And what’s up with this tiger? I suppose, if the dream is being obvious and not very subtle than the tiger must be a symbol representing Korea, Asia, or my life as it is right now, but my gut feeling is that’s not what it means. I live here; this is my life, so why would I need to follow it?

It’s not like I am following it because I feel lost. I don’t feel lost; not ever. In fact I always know exactly where I am. I remember the “where” of this dream very strongly but not what I am doing. Surprisingly, since everything else seems so vivid and clear, my actions seem very fuzzy; that is, the only clear thing I remember doing is following the tiger and moving from one juxtaposition of place and/or people to another.

Thoughts or comments would be appreciated.


Friday, November 30th, 2012

Off to Thai TESOL

I leave tomorrow for Thailand, and I’m feeling pretty good.

My PowerPoint Presentation is finished, but I may polish a slide or two before the actual song-and-dance. My handouts are photocopied and packed. I still need to get my poster markers for the workshop part of my presentation, but I texted Anna and she said she would pick them up as she swings by E-Mart. I will find the poster paper I need in Thailand. I need at least one adventure before the conference to make it seem real. 

The paper itself is not complete, but I have basically done this workshop a hundred times with my teachers-in-training, so all I really don’t need a written paper to run the session. All I will need are some notes for the theoretical introduction and some more notes for the processing of the workshop. The workshop is where I apply the theory I explain in the introduction and the processing demonstrates how the theory was applied and implemented. I will then have the participants assess the effectiveness of the workshop and the goal that the workshop aimed to achieve themselves.

Here’s the invitation to the Thai TESOL reception (see below). Rumor has it that’s it’s going to be pretty swank, since they are celebrating the 30th year of the conference.

The conference is being held at the Twin Tower Hotel in Bangkok. Here is a link to an online site that has compiled reviews of the hotel and here is another link to an actual review. I will also be staying there. It looks to be an average place, so long as I  keep my expectation low I should be pretty happy. That shouldn’t be too hard, because I will be happy if it is equal to your typical Korean Love Motel. The hotel already has one thing going for it and thatis a pool; most Korean Love Motels don’t have an outdoor swimming pool (see below). So that is certainly a plus.

If my room has wifi, I will try to keep the blog updated. If the room lacks wifi, then you may have to wait intil February to hear me tell of my adventures in Bangkok.

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Neglected Blog

 These thoughts were scribbled in my notebook on 3/12/2009 while traveling between Hapjung Station and HUFS:

 It’s quite obvious; I’ve been neglecting my blog. The neglect has been continuous for the better part of four months. It started in the later part of December 2008 and has continued well through the first quarter of 2009. It’s not because there’s been a dearth of blog-worthy events; on the contrary, there have been plenty of things to write about in fact if one were to open up the various notebooks that serve as my journals and doodle pads, one could confirm that blog-worthy events have occurred. The pages of my notebooks are crammed with the lines, squiggles and undulations that comprise the nearly illegible manifestations of my thoughts.

Why then have I been neglecting my blog?

The answer, as always, is simply that life gets in the way.

2008 ended with me frantically trying to tie up loose ends as another semester came to an end. I had projects to assess, final exams to mark and twelve courses worth of grades to input. Yes, Korean universities tend to heap the work load onto their foreign staff; we are the adjunct professors of the orient.

With the semester at an end, I was not, however, free to fill my blog with the ruminations on the completion of another year because it was time to pack and prepare the family for an international excursion. We were off to America for the holidays and then some.

Once in America the holidays and family swirled around us and this continued to conspired against my ability to add anything to my blog. The holidays, as holiday always do, came and went and although life quieted there were still snow storms to shovel, luges to build. luges to maintain, trips to plan, people to see and shopping for friends and family in Korea. More importantly, however, there was a wife, a Nana and children to spend time with.

The international excursion has come to an end, a new semester is underway, and now I finally have time to dust off my blog while I wile away the time between classes. I will attempt to catch my self up, but I will be doing the updating eclectically. Consequently I cannot promise that I will adhere to chronological order, but I will do my best to type up and post all the random observations and thoughts that I have dutifully logged in the three or four notebooks that inhabit the bags, desks and offices of my life.

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Going Home For Christmas!

The family and I are going home for Christmas. We’ve been away too long. Although I managed to sneak back in 2005, Anna and the kids had to stay home. Anna had to stay because we decided that it would be unfair for us to take BoA, but not Andy. The kids were really disappointed; especially Andy who always had to listen to BoA brag of her trips to America.

Since we were unable to complete the adoption process, Andy was in legal limbo. We were his legal guardian, but we were not his parents.  At that time, due to various rules regarding first sons, it was impossible for us to transfer him from Anna’s father’s Hyojeok (Family Census Register) to Anna’s Hyojeok. To read more about this precess, see “Adopted Son.”

Because Andy was not our son, we also ran into problems at the US Embassy. Back in 2005 Korea was listed as one of the countries that was highly involved in human trafficking, and for this reason the US Embassy said they could not issue Andy a travel visa unless we could prove he was our son. They said having guardianship of an individual wasn’t enough of a guarantee. I guess their thinking was that parents are less likely to sell their children into slavery, prostitution or indentured servitude. 

Anna did an excellent job finding the cheapest tickets available. Although it’s still not cheap, it’ll only cost me an arm rather than an arm and a leg. When we first started pricing tickets it looked like it was going to cost us $10,000-$12,000 US. The tickets Anna found will save us 25-30%.

One of the reasons for the steep discount is that the flight will require us to transfer planes twice. We will fly from Seoul to Tokyo and in Tokyo we will transfer to a different plane, then we fly from Tokyo to Detroit and in Detroit we will again transfer to a different plane. Then we will fly from Detroit to Boston. I know that sounds hideous, but in some ways it’s also nice. Since we are traveling with small to medium sized children, it’ll be nice to get them off the plane and running around.

Andy will be especially challenged during our trip. It is nearly physically impossible for him to sit for more than five minutes. How in the world is he going to sit for the 16-18 hours it’ll take us from Tokyo to Detroit?

I’m thinking I should attempt sleep deprivation. Beginning several days before the trip, I will make sure Andy can’t sleep. If I can prevent him for sleeping on the days before our trip; perhaps he will spend his time sleeping on the planes.

One of my greatest fears is that Anna, the flight crew or I will kill him in flight, but he truly is an angelic child when he sleeps. He is typically quiet, good mannered, and respectful of others, although he sometimes still speaks even when he isn’t spoken to. You can’t always understand him; especially when he chooses to mix the two languages that he knows, but it is typically loud, sudden and completely unexpected.     

BoA is an easy traveling companion as long as she has a sketch book, an eraser and colored pencils. Not to ruin the surprise but BoA is planning on using he trip to make the Christmas presents she will be giving this year.

Noah is a good baby and hopefully he will continue being good for most of the trip. I think as long as we bring his monkey, his chick (yup, he got one already), his ball, and a few cloth picture books he should be sufficiently entertained.  

Anna and I will of course have our children to keep us busy; Anna with Noah and me, I’ll be sitting on Andy especially if the sleep deprivation doesn’t work. Maybe I should bring a deck of card and the book of Hoyle. Andy is too bony to make a comfortable seat, so card games may be a better solution. We can attempt to play every card game ever invented. I wonder if the book of Hoyle is available in English in Korea?

Hoyle or no Hoyle, we are going home for Christams!

Monday, October 27th, 2008