odds and ends; the calm before the chaos

an old favorite from two years ago

December 14

Woke up and had a nice leisurely breakfast at the hotel.  Grabbed a newspaper, returned to the room where we nearly conquered a crossword together.  (That’s why I got married to a smart woman: so we can work together a couple times a week on those word puzzles that have never come easy for me).

We took a forty-five minute walk (to work-off the cheese and wine from the previous night and earn our lunch) and got some Nepalese/Indian food at restaurant where Nic was a regular when she lived in Seoul.  Took the same walk, grabbed another crossword, returned to the hotel, packed up and got on the train home.  Almost completed yet another puzzle, but then the pull to finish grading papers (and frustration about certain clues) got me on the computer.  Over my marriage weekend, I completed grading six papers.  Now that’s dedication.

December 15

Finished up grading for one class; received my last group of papers.  What can I say?  My time has been totally consumed by developing these new courses over the last two years.  My resolve was great when faced with a full email inbox.  I wanted to complete my grading ASAP.  With all the due diligence of the Grammar Gestapo that I am, I finished half the papers on that day, a full day at the office.

In other news: placed an ad for our apartment and furniture.  Got three prompt responses.  More on that later.

December 16

A morning at the office where I gave some make-up speaking exams for the conversation class that I teach.  I will not miss that material.  Though it was easy to teach after five semesters and two vacation inter-sessions, I was generally bored to death by the material.  Fortunately for me, my last two semesters only required me to teach one of these classes per semester.  Also, the students I had may have been the most respectful and intelligent ones in the school.  That is not often the case in General Education.  But somehow, the ESL gods smiled down on me, perhaps seeing the struggle and sacrifice I was putting in to make proficient academic writers out of Silla students.

In other news: Hobak (Pumpkin) the Cat was delivered to this apartment.  We are watching him for five weeks.  He’s sure to be a pain in the ass and a good addition to the house as it slowly empties of furniture in the coming weeks.  More on that later.

December 17

No office on this day.  I stayed home and completed the last bit of papers.  Enjoyed a nice night at home with holiday movies.  Ho-ho-ho-hum.  But sometimes, that’s okay.

December 18

Went to acupuncturist.  About five years ago (the spring before I came to Korea), I was rear-ended.  While I was compensated at the time, the chronic neck problems have consisted, the worst bout coming with incapacitating spasms when we returned to Korea last winter.  Since then, I have had more needles in my neck and lower skull than Hellraiser.  I think there is something to be said for the relief in regional pain (I have also gone to the acupuncturist for my chronic knee problems).  However, once we get back to the States, I want to combine the needles with physical therapy; with a  more holistic approach, perhaps I’ll be able to bowl a few games without feeling older than I actually do.

December 19

With grading done, the emails are trickling in.  A English Education writing student of mine, who didn’t say boo all semester, has sent me four emails questioning my methods.  This is, of course, okay, but it also is a little annoying because I barely know the guy (I have good rapport with many of my students).  While he was a decent student, I did not see as much progress from him as I did the others.  He was a borderline “A”, but I had to bump him down to a “B+” because of the grading curve.  The point is this: if he had shown a little more desire to learn from his mistakes and approach me with his questions throughout the semester, he might have made the cut.  However, the participation grade is what tipped the balance and knocked him out of the running for one of the ten “A’s” I was allowed to give (English Education Department policy).

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