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Note #120: Transitions (2018.6.26)

The rain started sometime last night, and when we woke up this morning it was still coming down in sheets. It let up after lunch for a few hours, dwindling to a drizzle, but then it picked up again in the late afternoon, this time with gusting winds. On the walk home my umbrella only kept the upper half of me (relatively) dry. Welcome to monsoon season in Korea. This was something that I did not have to deal with last year, and as a result I kind of forgot about it. It doesn’t rain every day during monsoon season (which lasts about a month from late June to late July), but when it does rain, it pours.

In other transitional news, the spring semester ended about a week and a half ago, and today I finally finished up my grading. Normally this would mean transitioning into the relatively peaceful summer, when I would hunker down and pound out all that research that I couldn’t give my undivided attention to during the semester. This year, though, I am teaching a summer class, which starts tomorrow. I have class on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, for three hours in the afternoon each day. It is basically an entire semester crammed into five weeks.

This is the first time I will be teaching a summer class. Usually we leave Korea during the oppressively hot summers, but since we spent the entire year last year in the States (and also spent a lot of money doing so), we decided not to go anywhere this summer. So when I was asked if I wanted to teach a class, I figured, why not? It would be an opportunity to try out a class that I’ve always wanted to teach—a survey of the modern Korean short story—and it would also fill a need in our department: We rarely (if ever) have professors from my department teaching these summer classes (probably because it is an international summer school and all the classes are taught in English), and it’s good to be represented.

Now, on the cusp of the summer session, I have somewhat mixed feelings about the class. I am indeed looking forward to it, but it’s also going to be a lot of work. As I mentioned above, this is the time of the year when I usually focus on research, and this is going to significantly cut into research time; I’ll probably only be able to get any research done on Tuesday and Friday, the days that I don’t have class.

It is what it is, though, and I am now committed to the course. My thoughts on it are primarily positive, and I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of students will be studying with me for the next five weeks. There are only fourteen students in the class, which is a good number—enough for some variety, but not too many that people might get lost in the shuffle during discussion.

So those are the immediate transitions I am faced with: seasonal and academic. Looking at the bigger picture, I think I can also say that the transition back to life here in Korea is complete, and last year is now just a series of (very good, very fond) memories.

And time marches on.

Send me your thoughts.

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