seoul to seattle

30 07 2013

I’m flying from Seattle to Raleigh tonight.*

I was sad to leave Seoul and my friends there and lamented not seeing as many people as I could have. Now that I’m stateside though, I’m out-of-my-skin impatient to see my brother and friends and experience the familiar.

I’m so glad I got to see my dad for three days first. He showed me around his new home with his wife Sherry, and we tooled around Roy, Washington, population 800.


scenic run through Roy

We ate bantam eggs for breakfast, rode bicycles in the dark and finished the day with Blue Moons on the back patio.

Two things I love about my dad are he has an excellent memory and he likes to go. Every day, he had stories to tell about his wheeling and dealing. We visited thrift shops and bought roadside cherries on the way to Mount Rainier. We went to the Nisqually Indian casino for a buffet of Dungeness crab and black forest cake.

My dad looked older than the last time I’d seen him, which made me sad.
Maybe he was thinking the same of me. He walked with a slight limp, and I tried to remember the last time I’d seen him.

Three years ago?
Nanny’s funeral?

We argued about Trayvon Martin and President Obama on the way to the mountain. We swapped stories about Korea. Dad told me about his life with Sherry. He likes to get up and go; she doesn’t like to leave the house. I got to see in person both their differences and how they take care of each other.

Every time I’m with him, I learn nuggets about Dad and our family.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of Dad or Sherry, but I’ll be back within the year and every year thereafter. Life is short.





 * delayed post


18 07 2013

it’s friday. i called my mother three weeks ago to ask her to send me copies of her passport and her citizenship papers. this could make visa renewal the next time i’m in korea a much smoother transaction.

simple enough. she makes copies and sends these to my brother, who can SMS them to me in real time.

checking in over the last few weeks, she said she wanted to fax them. (no!) remember our conversations about mailing them? fax resolution is terrible for taking documents to a government office.

i called to check in today. yep, she mailed them today, my last weekday in korea.

“well, i thought they were for eddie, not you.”
whuck does it matter if it’s for your son or your daughter? remember our phone conversations about needing these for my visa?
my mother’s response when something goes wrong–>this is why it’s not my fault.

two things to learn here:
do not rely on my mother.
i should have been on top of this situation calling her everyday. this was my responsibility.

(alright, i feel better for the venting now. this was not anything important at the end of the day.)

some good things about aging

17 07 2013

you can teach your students salty phrases like,

Life’s a bitch.
and Shit happens.

you have the confidence to take chances in class, knowing your lesson plan may flop.

you’re not the youngest person in the room, so you have other ways to bring value to your students, your friends and the world.

you know this life is short, but every day offers new opportunity.

*     *     *

each night, when i go to sleep, i die. and the next morning, when i wake up, i am reborn.


16 07 2013

is the shortest English word containing all five of the most common vowel sounds. 
it means beautiful thinking or a state of normal mental health.

Tuesdays With Morrie redux

7 07 2013

I’ve wondered if teaching Tuesdays With Morrie for the second month in a row means I’m giving students less passion. Today though, we had a wonderful lesson.

We read The Tenth Tuesday: We Learn About Marriage last night. Today, using the word accommodate and Morrie and his wife Charlotte as examples, we talked about how we accommodate each other in our marriages.

Jason from New York class said he lets his wife go to bed first, even when he’s tired. “She feels scared and alone, if I go to bed first,” he said.

Justin said he does basically everything his wife asks him to do, which led to teaching the expression:

happy wife, happy life

We listened to Ray Noble’s The Very Thought of You, which Mitch’s wife sang to Morrie. The 1934 song echoed the lindy hop we watched on YouTube last week.

Finally, we wrote tributes to our teachers and loved ones. For some, saying “thank you” was an atrophied muscle. Cynical-@$$ London class protested most loudly, swearing they could think of no one to thank. So, a 20-minute writing exercise took 30 minutes to complete, because it took 10 minutes for some of the guys to get into a thankful head space.

In the end though, even the prima donnas thought of at least three people they could think, and this was a good exercise in empathy.

Not a bad way to spend an overcast Friday listening to Al Bowlly and reading about your students’ gratitude.